“The Craft of Misrepresentation”

Entitled the Craft of Misrepresentation, the thesis explored the notion of craft and the process of making as a rhetoric, metaphysical device capable of transcending literal boundaries. Early thesis studies explored this opportunity through a series of made pieces which contemplated the intangible qualities of emotion, environment and circumstance of William Hughes- the last man hung in Ruthin Jail for the murder of his wife. 

Thesis concepts of esotericism and rhetoric representation were applied to an architectural proposal for Area 53; a sub-terra and extra-terra monitoring station presented under the guise of a UFO lookout post, located on the summit of Moel Pearce in the Berwyn Mountains, North Wales. The craft of the proposal and experience emerged from an interpretation of the 1974 Berwyn Mountain UFO event; using place, geometries, proportions and materiality derived from the narrative’s nexus of psychic and physic theories, as a critical and discursive approach to making. As such, the proposed station evolved into an abstraction of the 1974 rhetoric, attaining narrative themes of discovery and concealment in an illiteral manner, referencing the late writer and critic, Sacheverell Sitwell, whose statement testifies to the power of the unknown;

“In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation”

A 3D printed model with reference to William Hughes' narrative.

FIGURE 1; A distorted Narrative: 3D printed components of William Hughes narrative, the last man to be hung in Ruthin Jail, tested the idea of craft as a rhetoric device. Distortion errors in process revealed the process of making as an evocative and subliminal medium capable of transcending literal boundaries. 

A 3D view and plan highlighting the form, craft, composition and materiality of the station.

FIGURE 2; “A scene of extraordinary chaos”: Through its form, craft, composition and materiality, the proposed sub-terra and extra-terra monitoring station derives from an interpretation of the 1974 Berwyn Mountain UFO event. Statements from witnesses, a new metric of the ‘mystery’ and unseen psychic nodes and networks (Figure 2b) culminate in a chaotic and fractured response. 

The proposal in elevation, showing the buildings 'alien' form within its rural context.

FIGURE 3; The Physic or the Psychic: Scientific research units engage with place and narrative in a subversive manner. The ‘physic’ programme embodies a paradoxical philosophy to its crafted fabric; representative of a submission to the ‘psychic’ through both its alignment to the leyline and unorthodox and ‘alien’ form. 

A perspective section of the station under construction, with focus on cladding panels, the steel frame and internal finishes.

FIGURE 4; Craft of Misrepresentation: The principals of [mis]representation continue to manifest in the technical strategy where the process of making and the craft of the settlement has been derived from the paradoxes of narrative; articulated through disparate packages of construction. The paradoxes are captured within the tension between the high-tech and low-tech, the place and non-place, the everyday and the exceptional; combining to create a fractured tectonic both embedded in the Berwyn Mountains and a speculative ‘other-world’.

CONTACT EMAIL: madeleine_w@hotmail.co.uk

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/madeleine-wellham-42688b190/

Curated by: George Morgan