A Curriculum on the Fabrication of Clouds | SMArchS Thesis

SMArchS Architectural Design
Advisors: Mark Goulthorpe, Gediminas Urbonas
Reader: Peter Galison

To draw clouds is inherently a paradoxical act, yet artists and scientists have drawn skies for millennia, setting themselves up for failure as soon as they made a solid mark. Cloud depiction is an extreme case in representational systems — drawn schemas for cloud depiction are simultaneously tools for experiments and experimental drawings. As writer Marcel Beyer states aptly, ‘if you devote yourself to clouds and their study, you’re lost’, unless ‘one changes perspective and regards nephology itself as the laboratory - as one of the 19th century’s great laboratories of poetic and artistic theory.’ Nephology, the science of clouds and its visual methodologies, is a model for designing exact measures for inexact subjects. A Curriculum on the Fabrication of Clouds is a collection of drawing experiments framed as pedagogical acts. It consists of three lectures on the drawing theories of Masanao Abe, Alexander Cozens, and John Constable; a series of computational drawings addressing analogicity and digitality; a workbook documenting methodology; and an architectural move. A Curriculum is a demonstrative case for drawing as research and a view into designer-experimenters who research through drawing (and inevitably, research drawing). Representation, a fundamental topic across many disciplines, is an invaluable contemporary educational medium.