In architectural practice, research and design are generally treated as independent phases, research being concerned with observing and analyzing a ‘given reality’ and design being associated with creativity where something new is constructed. Generally speaking, the drawings produced in response to each of these ‘phases’ are radically different. While the ‘design-drawings’ normally intend to convince their audience of the creativity embodied in the project, the ‘research-drawings’ intend to stay true to that ‘given reality’ trying to mimic it or measure it as clear as possible. But there is no such thing as a given reality. Any drawing is a constructed reality and it is important that the drawing remains honest to this condition.
Therefore, not only design-drawings, but also research-drawings have the potential to already embody the fundamental components of the project. Through a deviation from the linear understanding of the creative process, one can explore the potentialities of the research-drawings as drawings which already embody creative decisions: as poetical constructs.
Furthermore, through the design process, certain ideas that are introduced at the initial stages of the project, normally coinciding with the ‘research-phase’, eventually vanish as the project develops. They disappear because of several reasons such as the practicalities of the project, client’s demands, financial matters, the conventions that architectural design is bound to, or simply because of their irrelevance to the final project. But what happens to these “dead” ideas?
The five drawings from the series Dead Drawings of Theatrical Istanbul presented here, materialize this approach. The first four drawings are the so-called research-drawings which poetically analyze certain spaces in Istanbul city. The last drawing is constructed through the juxtaposition of some aspects from the first four drawings towards a highly imaginary construct. All the five drawings are dead drawings as they were not necessarily in-line with the final outcome, but they function as (an) autonomous project(s).
The Dead Drawings of Theatrical Istanbul are a critical response to the urban top-down projects which were happening in the city of Istanbul and elsewhere. As counter-projects, certain unexpected public spaces were chosen to be analyzed; spaces that were hijacked, hacked, squatted, and transformed temporarily by the citizens.
The first two drawings depict the Galata Bridge where the initial functionality of the bridge as a vehicular transportation route is transgressed by the river and the fishing activity. As a result of this phenomenon, the whole bridge is in constant transformation and the public space is in constant process of becoming. The second two drawings, delineate the spatial transformations in the area between Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. All four drawings materialize the performativity and temporality of space in relation to the performance, performers (instead of users), movement, time, geography, and scenery.