Events And Opportunities

Speech Balloons and Thought Bubbles: Architecture and Cartoons

Society of Architectural Historians
Speech Balloons and Thought Bubbles: Architecture and Cartoons
Chair(s): Andreea Mihalache, Clemson University, amihala@clemson.edu ; Paul Emmons, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, pemmons@vt.edu

The intersections of architecture and comics have a history that has been increasingly documented in recent years. A mode of representation and communication becoming popular as a counterpart to mainstream depersonalized computer-generated drawings, cartoons and comic strips offer opportunities otherwise missing from conventional architectural drawings: storytelling, conciseness, immediacy, irony, and humor. Conversely, cartoons, comic strips, and graphic novels often foreground architecture as a main character that embodies the anxieties of the modern world, a discontent with the status quo, or representations of visions of the future. We are interested in work that examines the particular worldviews revealed between the lines of speech bubbles and thought balloons. As drawing conventions strive to eliminate subjectivity for the sake of clarity, how do comic strips build architectural atmospheres charged with emotion and feeling? How do cartoons and comic strips question the boundary between real and imaginary, between the concrete nature of architecture and its storytelling potential? What are their limitations? With closeup images often focusing on people in movement, what is the role of the body in unfolding graphic stories about architecture and cities? If tweets, texts, and instant messages now constitute universal forms of conversation, how do these drawings become time and place specific and create complicities based on shared worldviews? We invite papers and artwork that discuss critically the interactions of architecture, cartoons, and comic strips across time and space.
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SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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