Tracing Floor Entry 10

As the different drafters made their drawings, we struggled to imagine how everything could be held together in one projection. Our basic model for the time-based drawings required a grid of 64 A1 sheets covering the whole notional area of the plan, stacked into a matrix of 16 time windows within the daily cycle. This created 1024 permutations to be filled with drawing activity. Each drawing was allocated to an individual or collective of drafters. Informal groups of drafters arrived, according to their availability. Claire McMenamin, our project architect, prowled the drawing room with her clipboard, matching people to drawing tables to carefully numbered A1 sheets of tracing paper. The maintenance and adjustment of the recording cameras was a full-time task.

The sheer quantity of drawn information induced a kind of vertigo and at first we quelled our panic by filing each sheet meticulously. But soon we began to spread the completed sheets onto a large empty area of floor near the window. It was reassuring to see something close to a coherent drawing emerge. For the first time in the project we could envisage the whole scale of the assembled piece. The tracing floor became our workspace. We took our shoes off and began to inhabit it. It was used for meetings, photography, adjustments and the occasional quiet nap. On one day, Claire and Michiko were drawing dancers, and they stepped out onto the tracing floor to perform a reel.

We used the overlapping and layering of drawings to create a sense of spatial depth in the drawing. The milky translucency of the paper allowed us to interplay blurred and sharp lines and colours. We set up a physical test bed on the floor and we created a parallel digital system made from twenty or thirty layers of opalescent tracing paper. By laying things out physically in the light we could achieve effects which were then photographed and used as reference images for the digital image. The eventual interplay between physical and digital was worked out in this discourse between the floor of the room and the screen of the computer.