Erik Johan Holm

Architecture through the Abject of the Body

Bachelor of Design Architectural Design Craft Fictional Space Craft Critical speculations Digital Fabrication Material Imaginaries Narrative Performance Surface Manipulation
(Foreground) Human hair spun onto a bobbin. (Background) Drawings of a subterranean hair world.
AD21 Award
Yosop Ryoo Prize
For creative use of digital fabrication

Hair World

The concave dip of Fort Lane makes it the lowest draining point in the area. It is a mouth into the underworld of the nearby Waihorotiu. The stream, which stills runs under Queen Street, was transformed into an (originally open-top) sewer. The vision of a completely exposed body of water, which was filled with human waste, made me speculate on what was happening below the city. The density of apartments and restaurants surrounding Fort Lane would result in all sorts of alchemical reactions in the pipes. Oils, fats, waste and hair would be constantly coagulating with one another. My entry into the subterranean was through the clump of hair in the drain of everyone’s shower. I imagined it connected us all to one another in a vast living web.

My project is centered around the close relationship between the abject and the sublime, the beautification of the revolting, the utopia in the gutter. After the dejection of hair in the shower or washing our hands in the sink, architecture carries away the waste from our bodies, allowing us to purify over and over. Beautification is the keystone to my craft methodology, such as spinning my own hair into yarn or forging old brass water pipes into a polished ring.  The raw materials of artefacts are extracted, either physically or conceptually, to feel as though they have been drawn up from the site. These crafted objects come to sit within a wider hand-drawn vision of a fictional architectural world. This imagined world draws upon historical research, appropriating ancient customs relating to the body, as well as contemporary theory on the body in the modern urban environment. My world-building, combined with craft, seeks to create a conversation about what goes on below us. Peering down a drain hole we are not presented with the most vital system to our society, but an unknown void.