completed projects, theory

What’s in a frame.

Starting around my Junior year of college and onward I developed a quick obsession with the notion of “frame.”  To me, the frame deals both rationally and irrationally with everything written, built and, conceptual.  When an author writes a text, or a book, he/she builds a framework around an argument, or a theme.  The frame can be built around a place, or a time.  For instance, in East of Eden by John Steinbeck, the frame was built around Salinas, California, western mentality, and the morality of ones own character and decisions he or she makes on a daily basis that systemically determines the outcome of everyones life in the story.

In building, a house is first constructed as a skeleton of frames set on a framed foundation, where all of the surfaces, openings, and barriers eventually become fixed to, defining it as a place of shelter, and permanency.  Next, are the inhabitants of the house that each carry there own will and personal frame of mind.  The individual inhabitants enact their will upon the place, through personal definition and identification of what “home” “house” “to dwell” means to them on a personal level.  Whether they realize it or not through application of paint (color), furniture, light, and other objects (with personal meaning or not).  They determine the houses character, and ultimately begin building its history in the greater context the world.  Without the initial frame, they would have no starting point, no origin, and would still be in caves carving figurines with plant pigments and burnt wood traveling from place to place in search of food and water.  The frame is their rational grounding, and a fulcrum for their understanding of being.  We can dilute it down to ownership, income, and property rights.  However, these are merely consequences of a political and economic system that keep the methods and means of building in check.  The Lease or Mortgage itself is just a series of paper frames, with smaller frames of textthat define the owners rights and responsibilities to the place they inhabit, and are in many ways indebted to.

Everything built in life is based within a frame, shelves are just a series of frames aligned to hold ones belongings.  A chair is two or three frames to allow one to sit.  The hearth is a frame offering warmth and stability in cold winter months.  A table is one large frame to allow vantage and dialogue between different frames of mind.  Light is perhaps the only enigma of the frame because of its scattered intensity and ability to travel between frames infinitely.  Yet we can control it through a series of apertures, and give it rationality, purpose and, intention.

In my understanding of the world, the frame is nothing more than a rational starting point for irrational schizophrenic idealistic sporadic thoughtful decision making that has the potential to lead to invention and idea.  Below are two models constructed using the idea of frame, as a starting point.  Set within the outer constructed frames of the models exists many different frames set on different axis over lapping and interacting with one another in a variety of ways, helping to create difference and identity within the whole of the individual pieces.  When I look at these frames, I see what I call phantom frames.  Phantom Frames in my understanding of my perception, are the forms that arise from the original rationality of the work  that lead us to foster our creative imaginations, seeing beyond the frame as one would look through a window and see the world from their own vantage.  I see tables, Chairs, Houses, Beams, Faces, Figures, Cities, and other little empires within.  If we don’t allow ourselves to see past the austerity of the outer frame we are;

1) Not testing our limits for creativity.


2) Allowing ourselves to become trapped in a manner of routine and redundancy.

Ignoring our individual possibilities and potentials for understanding new frames of mind leaves us in a limbo, in which, we depend on others to construct our own frames and define our individual purposes and meanings.  It is death before dying.

A few good frames of mind to look at:

Libeskind’s Machines as Described by: Lebbeus Woods

Neue Wache Memorial by: Schinkel

War & Architecture: Three Principles by: Lebbeus Woods

& perhaps even DaDa in Zürich

& my favorite Movie Short “The ABC’s of DADA”


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