Reconstructing the Temporary Autonomous Zone pt.2

The first thing I did when I started working on the T.A.Z. brief was actually to choose a space for my intervention, go there, take some pictures and make some notes. It kind of strikes me that this wasn’t the first thing I mentioned in the previous post about this project, instead of a conceptual map that was actually the outcome of this first operation.

However, these are a few fotos from the first couple of fieldtrips to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel:

I find it funny that I immediately got so obsessed with the signs in the tunnel and although the first few times I found it a pretty intense experience to be in the tunnel, I didn’t take any pictures that would even try to describe the actual architectural space. This only struck me a few months later when I prepared the presentation and realised that I had not one single image of the tunnel in itself. So the next photo is from my last fieldtrip there, just a few days before the presentation:

However, if on the one hand it was clear to me that I wanted to make a graphic design work, hence the interest for the signs, my first ideas about the tunnel when I went there were all about the physical space and what a weird experience it is to be in it. My first sketch about it was a diagram showing how the “curve of unease” evolves as you proceed to walk through the tunnel, and eventually I reworked it into the following image (that sadly didn’t make it into the final presentation – I say here “sadly” because although in the end my work went into a completely different direction, I still think this diagram is both funny and meaningful).

The reason why I ditched this diagram was that although my first ideas for the project had been all about the tunnel as a magically skewed urban space and drawing parallels with Dante’s Inferno, Alice in Wonderland, or Anish Kapoor’s work in Naples, I soon realised that the more often I went there, the more I got used to the space and the less intense my feelings about it became. Also, with so many commuters walking the tunnel at least twice a day, it would have been difficult for me to maintain that this place is so outside of the world as I first perceived it to be. I had to start looking at it under some other angle.

Besides this I also wanted to do some background research about the tunnel (coming from an italian faculty of architecture, I can’t do good design if I don’t spend at least half of my time and resources uncovering historic details about the paleolithic settlements on my project’s site), so I went to the Greenwich Heritage Centre‘s library to see if I could find something interesting, and – yay! – apart for some information about the history of the tunnel, I found these fancy technical drawings originally included in its first presentation:

(some of these made their way into my presentation too)

On my way to the Greenwich Heritage Centre I also found this:

which doesn’t directly have anything to do with my T.A.Z. work but which I found a very inspiring image nonetheless!

(to be continued…)

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