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Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Part 2 Project 2015
Alicea Rose Berkin
Newcastle University Newcastle upon Tyne UK
T.E. Lawrence began his career as an archaeologist, specialising in Arab affairs. He became famous after the First World War because of the remarkable role he played while serving as a British Liaison Officer during the Arab Revolt of 1916-18.

This project focusses on his autobiographical account of his service in the revolt: ‘The Seven Pillars of Wisdom’. The text was re-written twice, the first copy lost at Reading station, the second he burned, the third constructed from memory.

The project asks to what extent our self-image, and our cultural memory is formed by the stories we are told about the past. It situates us at the centre of a series of constructs around Lawrence’s ‘retirement’ cottage of Clouds Hill, Dorset that are drawn from his autobiographical descriptions. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom are materialised as a family of forms, spatialising his memories and experiences and allowing us a unique way of exploring his character, and our understanding of the past.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom opens up the role of architectural representation to new modes of experience as a performative, installation space in itself, locating us in the role of Lawrence and asking us to read him through this positioning.

Alicea Rose Berkin


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