During my time co-teaching a design studio (at RMIT University) one of the biggest challenges I faced was opening students minds up to the power of representation and it’s role within the practise/s. At first the students saw the sole function of representation as a way of repliciating ‘what exists’ and indicating ‘what is proposed’. This was achieved, at best, through as little time, mediums and lineweights as possible.

Through what felt like thousands of examples (and consistant nagging) they began to recognise representations potential to describe, influence, generate, speculate and explore. By embracing individual and independant play with mediums, information/data and techniques the true magic began to occur.

We were lucky enough to have as a guest tutor Clark Thenhaus from Endemic Architecture working along side us. Not only did Clark have an amazing body of work behind him, he also shared our passion for representational exploration. This came through in his students work.

What makes Clark different is his alter egos which drive his design process and experimentations. Clark’s narratives and characters allow him freedom to explore the potentials of representation.

From my favourite Jepeto Rambunctious to the candle maker Stewart Gravy they each explore different mediums and techniques to generate active representations of territories, politics, environmental effects and self organising farming terrains.

Created out of a combination of paper, flour, dye, water, salt and wax they are beautiful pieces unto themselves regardless of their explorations, however, once you begin to research their generation, process and outcomes they appear even more the richer.

Be sure to introduce yourself to Clark’s characters here

A big thanks to Clark for sharing his images.

* All images by Clark Thenhaus please contact before using: Clark@EndemicArchitecture.com

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