Dr Ray Lucas

Honorary Lecturer (Teaching)

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Graphic Anthropology

I am an external advisor and associate researcher to the ERC Advanced Grant project Knowing from the Inside.  Based at the University of Aberdeen, leading anthropologist Tim Ingold is the primary investigator with a team of postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, colleagues from anthropology and further associates.  I am working closely with this group on how and what we can know by drawing and inscribing.

I am currently developing Graphic Anthropologies through two field studies.  The first is Namdaemun Market in central Seoul.  Supplemented by studies a number of other markets, this work addresses the implications of infrastructure; the role of surfaces in display; the agency of goods, vendors and patrons; reciprocity in social space; and the materiality of a mobile and variable architecture every bit as radical as those proposed by Cedric Price or Archigram.  

The second field site is the annual Sanja Matsuri in the Asakusa district of Tokyo.  This project seeks to understand a three-day event and its longer-term implications for this mercantile district.  The festival features portable shrines, mobile pieces of architecture which respond to the urban condition in a variety of ways, and have a role to play in the identity of the site, peoples understandings of belonging, and also as an explosion of joy within the city.  Accompanied by a series of temporary structures and appropriations, a number of issues are raised here including the depiction of movement, the role of the crowd in the city, and the overlapping of real and imagined worlds.  The festival collapses various levels of the city over the course of its duration, renewing and in many ways remaking the district anew every year.

A third aspect of my Graphic Anthropology is as an alternative practice of architectural history.  In studying the use of axonometric drawing in the 20th Century, I have conducted a study of five key architects by meticulous copying of their drawings during archival research at the CCA in Montreal.  The architects all approach this form of drawing differently, finding alternative affordances within the convention.  One aspect of the study is to understand how we can know a thing by drawing it; and also to consider the importance of how conventions operate in architectural thinking.

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