Previous Enrolments. Drawing as Collective Formation

Douglas, C
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This paper explores the proposition that architectural drawing can be analysed as a collective formation, in a sense derived from sociologist Gabriel Tarde, who wrote of collective formations like crowds that individual elements, "soldiers of those various regiments, provisional incarnations of their laws, pertain to them by one side only, but through the other sides, they escape from the world they constitute." He describes individual elements as always having "other leanings, other instincts coming from previous enrolments" and as being comprised "only of sides and facades of beings" (38). A drawing's lines, marks or gaps may be enrolled into figures, but this enrolment does not exhaust them. They are unruly, they compete and collaborate, have other allegiances, enrolments, potentials. Bruno Latour argues that acting is not an exclusively human capacity. A glass 'holds' water, a balustrade 'prevents' falling, a line on a page 'divides' it—and saying so is not merely engaging in anthropomorphic metaphor (71). According to Latour, describing any state of affairs is tracing a network of interactions between actors. A drawing, then, could be understood as an active, intensive field of interacting actors rather than a static transcription of thoughts residing elsewhere. The paper makes close readings of a drawing by Preston Scott Cohen, Rectilinear Spiraculate (1998), and a drawing by Enric Miralles of his Apartment Calle Mercaders (1995). The drawings are crowded. Projection planes are fragmented: elements of Miralles's plan are elevated in place, while Cohen's nominally perspectival drawing is a mess of vanishing points and picture planes. A drawing, according to Cohen, is a scene for calculating and resolving contingencies. The two drawings will be examined for the traces of this contingency and unruliness which expose the drawing as a crowd of active participants. Bruno Latour (2005). Reassembling the Social. An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gabriel Tarde (2002). Monadologie et Sociologie. Retrieved 29 March 2009 from

Architecture , Architectural drawing , Representation , Actor network theory , Bruno Latour , Gabriel Tarde , Preston Scott Cohen , Enric Miralles
Oral presentation at the Interstices Under Construction Symposium: The Traction of Drawing, Auckland, NZ
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