Test Lab

Wed 16 November

4:30-7pm, Pod C Library

Adriana Cobo Corey – CSM – Taste Untold: Every Performance as taste narrative in architecture

Laura Plana Gracia – LCC – Curating Sound Art: Defining new strategies for the public exhibition of sound art. 

 Julia Dudkiewicz –  CSM – Kelmscott Manor: The Making of William Morris’s ‘Most Famous’ House and the Memorialisation of William Morris (1871-1938). 



Taste Untold: Every Performance as taste narrative in architecture

Adriana Cobo

PhD Candidate CSM

This research is a theoretical inquiry into the field of taste in architecture, sustained by a tailored research-practice on everyday performativity, situated on Granary Square – London. The project questions what is taste in architecture? And how could notions of performativity and performance practice contribute towards new understandings of taste within the framework of spatial practice?

The thesis departs from a simple premise: the fact that in architecture, taste has generally been naturalised and made visually recognisable to architects and publics alike within the logic of formal styles, such as classicism, modernism, postmodernism, etc. The research argues, however, that the story line of taste, as offered by sequential changes in style, has left unexplored spaces in connection with a field wider than that of architectural form. The thesis proposes taste as a distinctive internalised system by which architects embody and perform architecture, differentiating themselves as a professional clan. Research-practice is constructed with a tailored approach to performance, as a method for exploring how notions of taste play out in the public realm, focusing on use and program. It addresses visually masked aspects of taste such as class distinctions and power structures, often veiled by an emphasis on formal production and form-based taste narratives.

For Test-lab, the presentation will focus on how to build bridges between the main line of argument motivating the research, and the proposed research-practice which sustains it. It will frame practice within theoretical frameworks and projects on performance and performativity and ask the question: What does this have to do with taste?


Laura Plana Gracia

Curating Sound Art: Defining new strategies for the public exhibition of sound art.

The historical context of this practice-based research investigates the incorporation of musicians and artists’ audio works in museums and galleries as a potential challenge to conventional visual arts curation. During the 1960s, sound art was developed with the involvement of artists in electronic and conceptual art, such as Nam June Paik, John Cage, Billy Kluver, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor, Charlotte Moorman, and Yoko Ono, who participated in events such as Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T., Armory Show, New York, 1966). The event influenced important curators in the field of modern art, such as Pontus Hulten. The Swedish art collector and museum director, edited the book 9 Evenings: Theater and Engineering with Frank Königsberg, (1966). Moreover, the curator Pontus Hulten was in charge of the competition for artists and engineers The machine: As seen at the end of the mechanical age (1967 -1968). Pontus Hulten was in charge of directing E.A.T. and announcing the competition for engineers and artists. The request for submission of works of art to be selected was for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. The E.A.T. were so influential that changed the transcurse of the history of contemporary arts, and incorporated into the museum the new technologies of image and sound.

Since then, experiments with sound, art, media and electronics have tried to develop a sensitive response to traditional ways of exhibiting. For instance, the exhibition Orbiting Satellites, incorporated sound works and new media pieces demonstrating the value of sound art as a potential instrument to operate a change in the institution. This practice-based research critically observes and develops these issues in curating sound art, and respons to those conventions relating to visual curation and object display that obviated the field of sound arts. The theoretical writings of Jose Iges, curator of the exhibition Sound Art in Spain (1961-2016), Douglas Khan, author of Noise Water Meat (1999), and Caleb Kelly, writer of Sound (2011) discuss the neglect of sound in the Western history of art.

Developing on from their identification of a lack of auditory sensibility in curation, this practice-based research will produce a critical resource to enhance the practices of curating sound art in institutions. One of the methods employed to develop this practice-based research is the adoption of the concept Sonic Lab as a new curatorial method for sound art. The aims of this project are the critical definition of the problem with contemporary curation of sound art and the articulation of solutions to this problem. Through these new methods of curating sound art, a new participative, interactive, disruptive and procedural practice of curating sound art is to be accomplished. Consequently, the objectives of the practice-based research are to set in an exhibition space these new and advanced practices of curating sound art, using what will be the so-called sonic lab, with concerts, laboratory experiments, live performances, and workshops.




Julia Dudkiewicz

Kelmscott Manor: The Making of William Morris’s ‘Most Famous’ House and the Memorialisation of William Morris (1871-1938).


The topic of this presentation will revolve around the central premise of Julia’s PhD project.

This thesis explores the deceivingly simple, yet surprisingly complex, phenomenon of Kelmscott Manor’s fame, its interrelated role as a Morris memorial, and the connotations ascribed to the house in connection with William Morris’s 25-year tenure of it.

Today Kelmscott Manor is not only inherently associated with William Morris, but it is undoubtedly the most famous of his houses. Unlike any of his other residences, it features in the Collins English Dictionary as ‘a Tudor house near Lechlade in Oxfordshire: home (1871-96) of William Morris’.[1] Although Kelmscott became a significant catalyst for Morris’s wide-ranging creative work and ideology, paradoxically, it was the only one of his houses, where Morris never lived with his family for any length of time. It was only ever a holiday retreat, maintained alongside his permanent homes in London,[2] and his visits there were spasmodic.[3] Moreover, Kelmscott was not the domestic and/or rural idyll it was portrayed to be. Not only was it the least comfortable of Morris’s houses, located in the proximity of a noisy factory, but its tenure was tarnished by his wife’s affairs, with his sometime co-tenant, D.G. Rossetti (in the 1870s), and Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1880s and 1890s).

In response to the above paradoxes, this thesis traces and investigates the origin and complex mechanics behind the unexplored phenomenon of Kelmscott’s fame, and its interrelated status as a Morris Memorial. It does so through interrogating key historical, economic and cultural factors, such as the agents of image building, publicity and memorialisation (i.e. people, images, texts, events, and activities), which have played a part in the process.


[1] http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/kelmscott-manor, accessed 30 September 2015

[2] Morris’s family residencies were: Red House, 26 Queen Square in Bloomsbury, Horrington House at Chiswick, and at 26 Upper Mall in Hammersmith, the last three maintained in parallel with Kelmscott.

[3] Morris’s visits to Kelmscott were spasmodic, between one day and six weeks a year, which only changed in his final years.