The Lost Farset – Oral History, Lore and Axonometric Drawing
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
By: Jack Ingham
The thesis, presented by Jack Ingham of Newcastle University, explores how architects may engage with sites of erasure, places where the present physical context exists partially. The project studies the utility of architectural drawing techniques to represent lore and oral histories.
Site and Context
The project exposes the folklore of the erased streets surrounding the Belfast Linen Industry. The deindustrialisation in the 1970’s, coupled with the spatial devices of the troubles, has transformed the streetscape of a cross community interface into a post-industrial landscape. This hollowing out of working-class culture results in the erasure of vessels, both domestic and institutional, spaces which once enabled the fragile exchanges required for the continuation of lore and industrial ritual. Through the excavation of oral and census records, the Architect takes a plural approach to history and as an architect/archivist this presents simultaneous narratives surrounding a site which is entrenched in its position as a site of conflict.
Figure 1 - Palimpsest Map of Erased Industry
Figure 2 - Map of Oral Histories and Census Information
Translating Oral Histories to Drawings
Representing the informalities of oral history through drawing requires the acknowledgement of the relationship between the teller, the listener and the knowledge that is formed between them. Axonometric drawings enable multiple readings, this acknowledges the viewers role in the interpretation of its polymorphic nature. The duality of measured precision and ambiguity within axonometry poses a drawing method which explores the challenges of plural history and place. The axonometric is imminent and tangible, allowing everything to be seen, yet it requires the engagement of the viewers memory and imagination in order to navigate its hidden and ambiguous nature. This reflects the presence of the self when internalising spoken history. Through drawing it is possible visually manifest the oral history of a site, presenting a method to consider sites overwhelmed by the erasure of place.
Figure 3 – ‘Bride Slide’ Sketch
Figure 4 - Translating Oral Histories to Drawings
Figure 5 – ‘Cherry Lips’ - Axonometric Drawing
Figure 6 – ‘Ducking Yee’ Axonometric Drawing
What this means as an Architect/Archivist
This research does not respond directly to a physical site, it instead engages with a residual culture. Through this process the spoken word becomes the driving force in recreating a spectre of a lost site. Pointing towards how oral histories can be re-voiced, retold and brought into current view again to expose the erasure of place. In the process of eking out material forms from oral histories the architect becomes hyper aware of the influence of their own experiences and memories. At times exposing the Architect to the often-unexplored presence of their own predisposition in the generation of narrative and representation.
Figure 7 – ‘Bride Slide’ - Axonometric Drawing
Figure 8 - 'Fetching a Bucket of Steam' Axonometric Drawing
The drawing ‘Fetching a Bucket of Steam’ has been Shortlisted for the Architectural Drawing Prize as part of the World Architecture Festival: https://thedrawingprize.worldarchitecturefestival.com
For any further questions do not hesitate to contact Ingham Dutta Roy (@ingham_dutta_roy) • Instagram photos and videos on Instagram.