‘Losing Myself’, the exhibition presented at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia by the Irish pavilion is a collaboration between architects Níall Mclaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou. The exhibition explores the lessons learned through designing and revisiting buildings for people with dementia and is exemplified by a complex ‘drawing machine’ set at the heart of the space and appears to sketch out imagery onto the floor.
The projection on the floor shows the plan of a building designed for people with alzeheimer’s disease located in Dublin, Ireland. The concept bases on when architects draw plans, they are able to visualize the overall view of the whole space and in contrast, the Losing Myself exhibit imagines the way in which people with dementia would experience the building.
Dementia erodes the ability to remember where you have come from and to plan where you would like to go. It becomes progressively harder to situate yourself and to navigate your way in the world: two capacities central to the experience of architecture’
Using a time-based projection, the machine ‘redraws’ the experience of this plan as collectively witnessed by sixteen people occupying the building over the course of one day. The coherent, fixed plan an architect depends upon can never be fully brought into being by the building’s occupants: they cannot use memory and projection to see beyond their immediate situation and no longer synthesize their experiences to create a stable model of their environment.
’We have chosen the medium of a time-based projected drawing to embody our ideas. the drawing will reflect upon the way in which the human mind constructs intertwined representations of situation and memory.’
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, one of a range of conditions that progressively degrades the synaptic connections within our brains. It brings about a loss of those faculties that allow us to orientate ourselves and to remember. The exhibit is supported by Culture Ireland, the Arts Council; the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL.