Related Staff : Matthew Pryor
This studio, which in part was run as a collaboration with students from the creative writing program in the School of English, examined questions of the construction of landscape narratives and experiences with a particular focus on thresholds, islands and pathways in built and natural environments. The studio began with an initial short exercise that required students to represent a threshold moment in their daily experience leaving or arriving from the university campus, which they presented in the form of Joseph Cornell-like boxes. Students then worked with their creative writing peers to craft a series of installations for readings and a performance in the Black Box theatre, based around the same themes of arrival and departure from the university as a kind of urban island. This was presented as part of the international Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos conference hosted at HKU by the School of English and Department of Geography. At the same time, students were also researching and documenting various environmental ‘thresholds’ in four distinct island ecologies around Hong Kong, which would form the basis for their final design project. That project required students to design a human-scaled intervention for individuals and small groups that mediated two distinct landscape conditions in their chosen site. The students were encouraged to pay close attention to details, construction and material qualities in approaching this final project, and the way physical and material connections in the context of a particular environmental setting might be used to ‘tell a story’ and to enhance human experience.