Artistic Crime: Dematerialise to Defamiliarise

Yeri Lee

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In our pursuit of built environments, we are forced to behave and use them in specific ways; however, we adapt obediently whether we agree or disagree. This research evokes reversed and distorted ways of thinking to intrude into one’s ordinary existence through a transgressive gesture. It makes inquiries about social conventions and customs that instruct how we use and respond to the given conditions. Especially living in a culture that celebrates individualism, it is becoming more apparent in the modern metropolis that individuals are deprived and lack meaning within their contradicting desires for a unique identity. Today, the most profound concern results from our quest to conserve our independence and existence. We construct an unavoidable social attitude of individualism in urban settings that contradict the existing heritage.


3 D Collage
Three-dimensional collage: Construct to break down the pre-existing.

This thesis looks at how metropolitan manners deteriorate in culture and challenges our position as spectators, curators and users of space to investigate how we can negotiate these inevitable roles. How can one inhibit exaggerated moments that raise awareness of the absurdity and beauty of social rituals? How can those rigid grids of fundamental properties be softened and distorted within the existing architectural framework that defines our existence? How can the most simplistic architectural elements become immaterialised to defamiliarise the existing ones? This research raises critical questions on how we can construct our settings from the constant onslaught of prejudice and boundaries.



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In a larger sense, the city is the same as a house. The boundaries, the borders, from private rooms and private buildings to communal corridors and public streets – are alike. Just like a house, a city is owned. Public spaces are never fully public, and social spaces are never fully inclusive. And the socio-political context reflects those boundaries and the architecture within it. In the street, there are different types of people; those who own and don’t, those who have access and those who are blocked, those who feel at home and those who are detached. And the antithesis, people who pass unacknowledged are the bypassers, the foreigners, the strangers, the homeless – the undocumented people of the city.

What might interaction with undocumented people look like? How would the architecture reflect the conversation?

Collaboration with Philip Lee.

The Undocumented Objects Modelling 2

The undocumented brings the elements of the domestics – such as suspended light, foldable chairs and planes, allowing authority, control and identity. These components only appear to understand after a period of time as they are dematerialised and recontextualised to attach, suspend and latch onto the existing Street structures. Offering a moment into a liminal state where you’re not forgotten but undocumented.

Here, you have the authority, free to become the spectator, user and curator of the space.

AW Photo
AW Photo 2





Going back to O'Connell Street, to project the three-dimensional collages to the existing monuments and facades and observing the Street as a public corridor to look for and initiate conversations with those unacknowledged strangers of seekers and hiders of the city. The dematerialised drawings are constantly evolving to defamiliarise the city. Together, they construct the Artistic Crime.

UD P Hotos