George Themistokleous / PhD Architecture
Dr. George Themistokleous has recently completed his PhD at the Leeds School of Architecture with the thesis titled ‘Mediated Visualities: Architectural Representation and the Digitised Body’. Congratulations to him!
George’s thesis was supervised by Dr. Doreen Bernath (Director of Studies), Dr. Lisa Stansbie (Second Supervisor) and Dr. Teresa Stoppani (External Advisor). It unfolds in two forms: firstly, an extensive, critical and theoretical enquiry that intersects polemical issues on the perception and representation of space in existing discourses, from art, architecture, philosophy to psychology, and seeks to challenge and redefine the entire mechanism of body and vision in formulating a new conception of architectural space integral to the C21st; and secondly, the design and execution of an experimental device, a performative spatial installation that is also a body-vision prosthetic, that demonstrates theoretical propositions in actuality as new conditions of ‘diplorasis’, ‘digital stereoscopic’, ‘mediated intervals’, ‘folded memories’, ‘prosthetic space’ and ‘post-human (ou)topias’.
Based on his PhD work, George has been shortlisted by the influential Future Architecture Platform in the 2019 transforming ‘IDEAS’ for his avant-garde theory-practice project ‘Visual Mediations’. He was invited to present his project to a network of top museums and galleries as a platform of dissemination of visionary ideas, as well as to seek future collaborations and funding to expand the project towards the public. Last year 2018, George received an invitation from curators of Leonardo Convening, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the influential media art and architecture journal Leonardo, to host an installation of his project and a presentation of his research. The parallel development of the theoretical arguments and the experimental device establishes George as a critical and imaginative interdisciplinary artist, designer and thinker, with an avant-garde career trajectory that will no doubt intersect academia, spatial projects, installations in art galleries and festivals, lecturers and critics.
Throughout 2014-2016, George worked closely with me, Dr. Teresa Stoppani, fellow PhD students Braden Engel and Giorgio Ponzo, as the organisation committee of the 12th annual AHRA international conference (Nov 2015) and as editors of publications titled This Thing Called Theory (book as part of the Routledge Critiques series, London: Bloomsbury, 2016 and special themed issue of the Architecture and Culture journal, London: Taylor & Francis, Nov 2016). The extensive, critical and interdisciplinary debates as the outcome of the conference and subsequent publications have led to further open seminar series to take place at the AA, London, opening up a new opportunity of collaboration between ARHA and AA PhD programme.
Central to his thesis is the questioning of how the linear perspective presupposes a division between body and space. Other representational devices, such as the stereoscope and the zoetrope, articulate a different body /space relationship. In this research the 'prosthetic' body becomes an intermediate term that is used to redefine the relationship between body and space, haptic and optic, representation and actual vision. The thesis critically re-thinks and re-conceives perspectival space and current forms of representation, i.e. digital media, and constructs custom-made supplementary representational devices. This approach combines an insight into current representational methods and their application in the process of design. In the process both the body and the tools for its conceptualization and represent must be redefined. The central question is: In this sense if the body is already a place that correlates, via a technological interface, to other bodies, how is this extensity accounted for in visual representations?