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Coordinating Self-Contradiction


 The task of spatial design is to mediate between internally conflicting human desires, to create beautiful spaces that embrace temporality, and to design locations that foster physical gatherings between people. This is because the spatial designer handles practical structures that are intimate entwined with instinctive human desire.

 One of my continuing projects involves drawing superimposing abstract shapes upon imagery of human-made spaces. This approach explores the relation between the two components, deconstructing tangible spaces into abstraction and suggesting spatiality in the abstract forms, becoming an examination of how space is constructed from simple abstract geometry. The basic rectangular shape interacts with other elements in my drawings to transform into a window in a Bauhaus building, or a brick, or sometimes a floor plan.

Contrarily, when I copy in exactitude the interiors of actual buildings or urban landscapes crowded with skyscrapers, it looks at a glance like an abstract painting packed with rectangles small and large. In retrospect, what this work does is reduce the subject, and then add flesh to the minimalized subject. This visual problem-solving process not only helped me understand the ethos of Modernist spaces that ferociously pursued simplicity but also became foundational for me understanding the common 21st century architectural approach of embracing dematerialization by considering material as an outer shell.

 Indeed, our human-made spaces embody the contemporaneous human ideals and desires that reflect shifting generational trends. A key example are the large-scale rectangular buildings of big-box stores that contain minimal internal columns, where air-conditioning and ventilation regulate the interior environment and cancel out the weather outside. This level of standardization creates optimal predictability and thus pleasant buying and selling experiences. The perfection of predictability and convenience. The human tendency to pursue predictability and convenience is a pattern older than time but in the past couple decades, we have reached a point where the lit-up screens of digital devices are proxy to the direct physical interactions that were required in the past to purchase consumer goods. And even such conditions have now become the foundation for certain architectural environments.

 Likewise, my attempt to understand space through superimposition drawings did not stop short at mere structural analysis, but were opportunities to reflect on the conceptual aspects of society and humanity that are intimately related shape and special structure. Thanks to this, I discovered an interesting and contradictory fact: the devices we hold close at all times also feature the classic simple shape of rectangles, and it is through these rectangular screens that we satisfy our desires today. In other words, the more we crave novelty and convenience, humans have come to unknowingly forget and disregard the security that fixed identities provided us in the past, and our strong craving for instinctive human touch.

 Amidst these current situations, the spatial designer must consider the above stated internally contradictory human desires and help contemporary individuals and societies confront desires they have subconsciously excluded. I believe that a well thought out space that successfully harmonizes these contradicting desires will not only transform individuals but holds potential to change the communities they belong to. In particular, spaces that reflect the collective memories of local communities can offset the modern tendency to chase after the novel, thus achieving a psychological balance.

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