Lian (Harvard GSD M.Arch.I)

I graduated in 2013, but still blog here once in a while.

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    Thesis: Drawn out: performances of mundane inhabitation

    By Lian Chikako Chang
    Jan 18, '13 1:08 PM EST

    Hi Archinect,

    My thesis project has been keeping me from live blogging lately, but I wanted to share some clips of my thesis work in progress. I'm calling the project "Drawn out: performances of mundane inhabitation."

    It's not a design project, but an essay in the form of a video, exploring the reciprocal relationship between the built environment and our bodily states and experience. How do our surroundings draw out responses and actions from us in our everyday lives, and vice versa? How can video be used to show our immersion or extension in our built environment, rather than objectified views of buildings as designed objects (and of people as "entourage" or props)?

    The video's techniques, certainly, are subjective. The project isn't aiming to be scientific or prescriptive; it's not as if I'm developing techniques that I think can be universally used to study or design the built environment. It's been an experiment, and a way for me to think about some questions that interest me and to work on them through aesthetic and representational techniques. I'm extremely grateful to my thesis advisors, Danielle Etzler and K. Michael Hays, for being so supportive and constructive throughout this process, which really has been about asking questions and working towards answers, rather than about preparing answers that I already know.

    The video is to be projected across three screens, as below, so the clips have an extreme aspect ratio that makes them tiny online. In the actual presentation the aim is to have a dialog between the content on each of the screens, at times, and at other times to make use of the effect of peripheral vision. Like this:

    Thanks for reading!


    P.S. Though it's probably obvious, just to add that this isn't a 'typical' GSD M.Arch.I thesis project. Actually, there is no 'typical,' as every project is so different in its questions and format. But a more common type of project is one that asks a question that is addressed through designing a building (or something in the built environment at a larger or smaller scale) and to develop the thesis through a range of artifacts including models, drawings, renderings, and videos. I am always amazed at the work my classmates do, and our small crop of January thesis projects includes a range of design and non-design projects. As they post their projects online over the coming weeks I'll try to include their links at my blog in case you'd like to see.

    P.P.S. I'll still be around as a school blogger through May 2013! Though I chose to do my thesis now, I have one more semester to go with a few classes and other things to finish up.

    Wake up - attention and the senses
    Cooking - habits and memory
    Going outdoors - environmental stimuli
    Library - movement, activity, quiet, and immersion

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About this Blog

This blog was most active from 2009-2013. Writing about my experiences and life at Harvard GSD started out as a way for me to process my experiences as an M.Arch.I student, and evolved into a record of the intellectual and cultural life of the Cambridge architecture (and to a lesser extent, design/technology) community, through live-blogs. These days, I work as a data storyteller (and blogger at in San Francisco, and still post here once in a while.

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