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Robinson’s Dichotomy

Part 2 Project 2014
Paul Nelson
University of Lincoln Lincoln | UK
The project focuses on the character development of Patrick Keiller’s filmic study of Robinson in Ruins. The film fundamentally works on two levels, on the one hand it is a factual documentary focusing on the shifting historical changes in the Oxfordshire landscape whilst on the other hand the film utilises and alludes to the invisible character of Robinson, through who’s lens we survey this changing landscape. The spectrality of Robinson throughout the film reinforces this notion, the scant information the audience is given about the character alludes to the fact that Robinson is missing, with the documentary becoming a consequence of discovered film cans and notebooks from his apparent journey previous.

The aim of the project is to pick up the narrative of Keiller’s character, developing a building in which Robinson is able to curate objects of interest derived from the film.

The language of the architecture, is one which reinforces Robinson’s characteristics enabling him to inhabit a building without being detected by the outside world. As the curator of his own exhibits the occlusion between public and private space thereby becomes directly defined and articulated leading to a structure which enhances the corporeality of Robinson himself.

In contrast however, the notion of isolation becomes warped by encompassing Robinson himself as a direct and central exhibit or curiosity. In this sense the observer unwittingly becomes the observed, the building being formulated in such a way that it allows the public glimpses into Robinson’s space through the use of peepholes.

In defining the dichotomy of Robinson we see a space which is divided into two parts which operate independently but at the same inclusively of each other.

Is robinson, in fact, an embodiment or fantasy in himself? To lose oneself, is a trait which everyone is potentially capable of. In this sense anyone has the ability to ‘robinsoner’. This therefore blurs the distinction between the observer and the observed further, the architecture facilitates the ability to perform either narrative, an inversion.

Paul Nelson

Mr Richard Wright
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