The Bartlett


School of Architecture students collaborate with the Royal Academy for Time | Making | Space event

5 February 2018

The event explored the role of time in making space, with Carol Mavor giving an enchanting critical performance and architect-composer Duo revealing a new interdisciplinary architecture.

Music by Emma-Kate Matthews being performed in the library at the Royal Academy

Review by Rebecca Loewen

Bartlett School of Architecture (BSA) doctoral students brought together writer and filmmaker Carol Mavor and architect-composer collaborators Steve Chance and Scanner at the Royal Academy of Arts for an exciting evening examining the relationship between time and space.

The fully-booked Time | Making | Space event on 7 December was launched with an exuberant contextualising introduction by host Ruth Bernatek, PhD candidate and co-founder of the doctoral initiative Sound Making Space at BSA. Ruth’s talk outlined the impact of time on architecture through animating urban forces, weathering and our dynamic experiences of inhabiting spaces.

Mavor, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Manchester, showed her 2012 film Fairy Tale Still Almost Blue, a sensual story about erotic desire and the colour blue, evocatively narrated in Mavor’s own voice and lavishly pictured through selected cyanotypes. She followed the screening with a taut and dramatic paper presenting new scholarly research on the topic of the colour grey.

Sheet music and other items from the Time | Making | Space event at the Royal Academy

Steve Chance, of London’s Chance da Silva Architects, and electronic composer Scanner (also known as Robin Rimbaud) used sound, image and word to co-present their joint north London project Vex. Inspired by Vexations, Erik Satie’s 1893-4 short enharmonic musical composition, to be repeated 840 times, Vex is a house of stacked cylindrical forms and a looping musical composition made for each other.

Thoughtful critical discussion co-chaired by filmmaker and BSA PhD candidate Sander Hölsgens, and architect, composer and BSA PhD student Emma-Kate Matthews considered the potential of time-based media like film and music to generate space.

The conversation with Mavor, Chance and Scanner illuminated the role of repetition – through rhythm, echo, reiteration, recall and resonance – in creating a sense of spaciousness by maintaining a durational in-between, rather than dividing time in linear fashion by measure.

After a Q&A, and during a drinks reception in the library adjacent to the auditorium, a piece composed by Matthews specifically for the space was performed on violin and cello, while a trio of video monitors screened a work by Hölsgens, in which phenomenologies of physical distance and a temporal lag between people are articulated and explored.

Rebecca Loewen

Architect Rebecca Loewen’s doctoral research at BSA explores the spatial design implications of Marcel Duchamp’s mid-20th century notes on the concept of inframince.