A True Archigrammar
Michael Webb


Michael Webb

©Dennis Crompton

For a spirit whose life has been spent devoted to drawing, chained to a drawing board, delighting in the sensuality of drawing and of touching the surface of paper and of using beautiful tools it came as a bit of a shock the request to make computer animations of some earlier projects I had done. the request coming from the Museum of Contemporary-Art in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. And the first thought was, of course, that here are the sins of one's youth which one must rework. And since most creative people, I believe, have bonfires about the age of about 40 at which they destroy most of their early stuff. the first thought was rather disappointment or anguish at having to repeat these sins. Yet as soon as the possibilities inherent in making animations became apparent to me. I noticed certain interesting possibilities.


25 x 25 House

©Michael Webb

The first project they requested was a hoary old scheme done in the mid 1960s that I called "the 25 x 25 house". The idea behind this was that one would have an open floor space that could be divided up into many different-shaped spaces to accommodate living room, bedroom, whatever; and that by re-using the same space for a different function, in other words one would create a non-rectilinear space within the overall squares and label it either living room, bedroom, whatever. and change the shape appropriate to each of those spaces by sliding panels around it. The floor itself was composed of four Square panels each 12'6" X 12'6" which, absurdly enough, would be manufactured on the site and then roll along a track way, opening out as the system rolled. Now I had always in the original scheme. merely suggested how this might happen but when the request came to do a computer animation of this project, I had to really work out the unfolding process. And the following slides show that process. And instead of taking a standard viewpoint outside of the panel system what I have done is to have a direction of looking which is perpendicular to one of the four panels. And throughout the sequence one's direction of looking remains attached to this one panel. This means that, as the panel folds around through space it appears to us looking at the video as a static element and the world rotates around the panel. Thus it is similar perhaps to doing aerobatics in a bi-plane. And my hope here is that people when they watch this video will need to rush to the bathroom; that the animation of it will be so accurate. The slides should be read as stills from the proposed video. What you see in this series of four slides is:

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