Monday, 28 November 2011


here's a short film of the poetic vessel I was describing in the last post. I'm trying to minimise my end of year suffering by being sporadically proactive now and to this end I've started making print ready book pages about every stage, all the time, forever. This is what I say about this, in that:

combining footage of the poetic vessel as it marshalls and accumulates iron filings with footage of the birth of Surtsey and current webcam images of the Island and Reykjavík, the film illustrates my interest in the act of constructed registering and quantification of larger phenomena as a means of  their appropriation.

so there you go.

Untitled from Lauren Li Porter on Vimeo.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


This title would have been capitalised in its entirety were it not for the fact that that d with a crosshair requires a short period of googling, copying and pasting. I'm a busy woman. To prove this point- to business!- Joining tumblr has had the horrible side-effect of making me really obsessed with how many followers I have and now I don't want to write lengthy ruminations about my Architectural thoughts, lest they think me a lamoid and leave me for cooler climes. I can't deal with this beast I've created in any other way than resurrecting this blog for the sole purpose of being a ramble platform, so this is what's happening.

So then,
massive geyser going off at Geysir. Something nicely apocalyptic about the light and clouds here that pleases me NO END.

We got back from Iceland on Tuesday morning after the double trauma of extreme sleep deprivation and being escorted to the border with our four litres of confiscated booze, having had one grim hour of sleep in a duvet fort in front of misfits. 
I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that this last week has been the best holiday I've ever had, everything about the company, the landscape and the experiences made it perfect, rarely have I laughed that much and despite basically pleasing ourselves in terms of where we went, felt like I learnt so much about a place. I think it was good to be there with the imperative to have a bit of an Architectural optic about it as well, just walking around becomes magically much more informative, or you start to draw parallels that become pertinent later. Magic's the wrong word here.

Spent most of our time in the city, climbed the tower of Hallgrímskirkja, wandered around the streets cooing at everything and saying Takk a lot. On that first day I was so taken by how bizarrely toylike everything looked from above. Well obviously distance has that tendency but in Reykjavik the houses are this mad aggregation of colour and form, all orientated in whatever direction the plot or whim dictates. What I liked particularly was how from the smallest one storey houses to the grander almost american gothic mansions, there's a common use of gaudy corrugated sheet metal that makes everything look like variations on a theme. And if that sounds like a criticism, it's not meant to be, I thought it was one of the definingly charming things about the place. 

The best day though, was Saturday when we took a minivan out towards the national park, geysers, waterfalls and all those things that tourists like though in this case it was fairly obvious why because it was all so compellingly beautiful. Or I was just carried away by the strange light you get there, and it's quite eerie and cool to drive down a road where on both sides you see nothing but land going on for miles, sometimes broken by really unnaturally straight lines of trees or water, and then a single church alone in the landscape. Either way, gorjuss. Then at night we went to the blue lagoon which was as surreal and lovely as you'd imagine, then ate burgers in the van. Between us we actually ate about 18 burgers that day and this is no joke. snow joke. Wish it'd snowed, then this joke would be fair game.


I didn't choose my site(s) until the last minute really but I'd had this idea since the poetic vessel project of focusing my thesis around engineered means of negotiating changes that take place outwith human control, or that come about as the result of chance event. A sort of appropriation of the process of time and changing trends through quantifying them. I want to make a little film about the thing I made to illustrate that but it was basically a clock motor that turned two magnets round a closed space, gradually accumulating more and more iron filings and at the same time affecting suspended objects that hung around them. The idea was supposed to be one of interaction between both these two variables; the set motion of the hour and minute hand, the unpredictable and progressive movements of the filings made visible, mapped somehow through a construction that sits somewhere between creating a spectacle and being a mute illustration of a natural phenomenon over which I have absolutely no control.

That might make a minimal amount of sense at this juncture but anyway it led me down the lines of thinking about how we use physical touchstones as sort of tactile mnemonics, (Auntie Joan's button box got me thinking about this, and a biscuit tin i found in her house of old family photos) aide-memoires that just through categorisation and fabrication become totems of something larger or remembered. I want to investigate how people document tendencies, trends and circumstances as they disappear from view. In the knowledge that something has a finite existence, why and how do we document and file the artifacts produced, what intentions do people have to make them accessible? I've always been a collector, I can sympathise with the impulse to obsessively and possessively hoard functionally useless objects together and split them apart to make sense of them through some imposed logic.

Anyway, my first thoughts program wise were centered around Surtsey and its accelerated rate of erosion, how this could be exemplary of the uniquely young, ever-changing geology of Iceland as a whole. Initially I wanted to perch something on the coastline leaning out towards Surtsey itself, and have a corresponding module of some kind that reached back towards it from the edge of the actual island, in place of the research hut that's occupied twice-yearly. But then this would only ever be a diagrammatic link as it's 40km offshore, and placing whatever this building is (not a museum, an archive maybe? i wish there hadn't been so many 'repositories' at the mac of late) in Reykjavík could be argued to make more practical sense as it would actually be accessible. This suggested a coastline, quite exposed site. I wanted something that had a bit of context though too and I've found a place that borders a quite gross industrial site on one side but also has amazing views of the harbour skyline and access to the sea, a bit of landscape to it. Could be a possibility but then again there's also this second site that I really like (mostly because it has a series of really attractive boats that I would like very much to draw) on the harbour itself.

That one really does dictate some kind of ship industry based program, it's right on a yard where a huge, photogenic ship's being repaired for the last time before it gets retired in two years. I had this idea, completely erroneous as it turns out, that ship-breaking and recycling was a massive deal on the decline in the city. Glad I found out now that this is not the case, I need to be wary of this nasty habit I have of imposing imaginary things that I find romantic onto a real life situation, just because it's a hypothetical project. Though there's no reason why I couldn't do something that records ship-building as an activity. When I was walking about the site I drew a load of (to me) alien and interesting objects which is what gave me this notion of people creating their own narrative through categorising items according to personal understanding. That's poorly expressed, I don't mean celebrating ignorance. This is already way too long, I'll elaborate on it as I go along. 

I was talking to my friend David about there maybe being something in the contradiction of records held in physical archives and endless virtual banks of data and he mentioned the idea of how virtual information, available on a screen at one moment in time, can be deleted 4evah without any shift in its physical existence. Could be a piste to pursue but would need a lot of substantiating, and I'm not sure if either site bears much relevance. I think when I start to use embarrassing txt msg abbreviations, sorry brevies, it's time to stop. So I shall. lol.