Rearranging Sediment: A Scale Shifting Pursuit of Pleasure

Nadine Samaraie

mailto:[email protected].
The Tigris (Memory of a Map)

This thesis details a broad field of investigation in the aim of grounding a sense of loss caused by a disconnection to land. This connection is searched for through the making practice of mosaic, passed down to the author from her grandmother. The secondary grounding element comes in form of material: brick – which makes the physical connection between Aotearoa and Iraq. A sense of slowness is inherent to the making practice of mosaic, the time-consuming laying down of pieces and forming of fluid shapes and gradients, is mirrored in the build-up of time and history we see on the banks of a river. In this way, a clear connection is drawn between the methodology and site – an oasis on the Bank of the Tigris. What results from this investigation into the build-up of time within the stratified layers of earth, is an architecture which seeks to distort the scale of a mosaic and employ its conventions to form a fluid, undulating landscape which is rife with points of intrigue and pleasure.

“The birth of mosaic art can be seen when children press pebble and shells into the sandy beach and discover that the various hues can be laid out to form patterns or pictures. This happens so naturally that it may be regarded as one of the basic inventions, as old as that of cooking.”¹

'Brick Fragments' - Understanding the intrinsic layering of time and history within the material of Brick and in turn Clay.

Fluid, meandering and often diverging – like the river Tigris; this thesis navigates a vague and confounding field of loss. Loss which isn’t present in an exemplifiable sense to the author, but rather has become a space wherein an investigation in to how this landless connection can find footing. This footing comes in the form of two grounding elements. Methodology: mosaic, and material: brick. Research is made through the extensive methodology of mosaic to interrogate the verbiage associated with deterioration.

"Hanging Sediment" - A site based approach to exploring the layering of time, interpreted through mosaic, and capturing the way in which silt and clay build upon each-other in the Tigris river.

Actions associated with deterioration: burying, depositing, and shifting, are encapsulated by the constant flux of the River Tigris, wherein silt is picked up and displaced by the swirling current to then be deposited somewhere new, burying the layer of clay below. In Mesopotamia, the thousands of years old civilisations which occupied spaces by the river, make the stratification of these layers of time even more felt. An investigation into the abstract field is invigorated by these connections and intrinsic histories associated with the passing down of the making process to the author from her grandmother, and the use of brick, bridging time and space in its earth-puncturing locality to both Iraq and New Zealand.

Three Mosaics; "Interruption" "Reinterpretation of Brick Wall" and "The banks of the Tigris"
"Indentations" Several Clay studies exploring the way clay can be molded and marked in fluid ways.

Mosaic, throughout time, has trended towards muralism – like those made by the Romans in Assyria. However, if these mosaic fragments are scaled up, the relief between individual pieces becomes the jutting out of a wall and recessing of a corridor. Then, we are able to consider spaces for inhabitation. The use of brick in the mosaics, which are part of this thesis’s research, calls into question the role of brick as an architectural convention. This questioning led to the furthering of its use as an ornament by proposing brick construction become integrated with mosaic in several ways that fabricate spaces for pleasure. Thereby, the referenced histories of brick, land, and all other displaced pieces within the field of loss, come together to form essential functions of pleasure. The functions of shelter from the sun, sand, and wind, as well as swimming. These spaces don’t ask anything of the user but to be enjoyed as oases in an environment of uncertainty.

Pool and Brick Shelters Axonometric Plan. [ approximately 1:100 ]
Mosaic Elevation.
Waveform Sections.
  1. Fischer, P. (1971). Mosaic: history and technique. London, London, Thames and Hudson 1971.