Friday, January 9, 2009


Reconstructing Fragments: Similarity in a Game of Spoils

This thesis explores why today we possess a limited language of talking about resemblance and an exaggerated awareness of difference. Within this theoretical framework of what can be called a recession of similarity, this thesis proposes to appropriate the use of spolia in a proposed boat building and repair workshop to be sited within the preserved ruin and National Historic Site, Fort Beauséjour near Sackville, New Brunswick. The fragments of buildings and boats used in this playful, amorous exchange between boats and architecture will foster a sense of culture, play, and invention for the boat builder and rural community surrounding Fort Beauséjour, and an attraction of common bonds between otherwise disparate entities: boats and fortifications. It explores the discovery of similarity within difference. The game’s rules are defined as a “chase” or courtship of spoils to find its complementary fit – a timeless game that is not serious so as to encourage an attitude of voluntary play throughout generations with pieces of the building and boats. The playful exchange and appropriation of spoils will consolidate a regional language of similarity.


Alchermes, Joseph. Spolia in Roman Cities of the Late Empire: Legislative Rationales and Architectural Reuse. Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 48 1994.

Colonna, Francesco. Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. (New York City: Thames & Hudson Inc., 1999).

Duffy, Christopher. Fire and Stone. The Science of Fortress Warfare 1660-1860. (London: Greenhill Pr; 2 Sub edition, 1996).
Techniques for the construction, repair, siege and defense of fortifications. Relevant to the place and time in which the Fort Beauséjour was constructed. Many of the building techniques outlined in Fire and Stone were in fact employed on site, according to archaeological studies of the site.

Hand, Chris. The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755. (Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions, 2004).
Historical account of the Siege of Fort Beauséjour, by Major Chris Hand who joined the Canadian Forces in 1981 and attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. The book is based on his master’s thesis.

Hanson, Maria Fabricus. The Eloquence of Appropriation. (Rome: Accademia di Danimarca, 2003).

Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1950).
Discusses the importance of the play element of culture and society. Huizinga suggests that play is primary to and necessary (though not sufficient) condition of the generation of culture. Play is a central characteristic to the activity of appropriating an amorous attraction of spoils.

Lefaivre, Liane. Leon Battista Alberti’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997).

Miller, Paul D. Sound Unbound. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008).
Article written by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid. Describes DJ culture as a an archival impulse applied to a hunter-gatherer milieu of collecting clips to be patched in (as spoils) into remixed music. Identifies the problem of difference and multiplicity in this medium – we never move anywhere in a civilization of expanding forces of citation, remixing and sampling. An eternal expansion of information dividing a million-fold, and never creating integrity. With difference, comes indifference.

Rowe, Colin. Collage City. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984).
On the ideologies, philosophy, manifestations, and flaws of modern architecture. Most relevant is the proposition to reorient conceptions of the city from the utopian grand narrator’s single vision of the city to a more multivalent view of the city, micro-utopias.

Stafford, Barbara Maria. Visual Analogy. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001).
Argues that our culture has succeeded in creatively articulating differences, leaving us in a compromising situation that leaves us diminished in our ability to recognize the existence of the degrees of likeness. Stafford offers us a game of back and forth that exercises the analogon, where through due ratio we can link fragmented things.

Strauss-Levi, Claude. The Savage Mind. (Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1966).

William, Garratt. Loreto the New Nazareth and Its Centenary Jubilee. (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2003).

Wilson, Garth. A History of Shipbuilding and Naval Architecture in Canada. (Ottawa: National Museum of Science and Technology, 1994).
An historical overview of the interrelationship of science and industry in the colony in New France. The work focuses mainly on large-scale shipbuilding that impacted on international trade. It does however mention the coexistence of small boat building and the family-oriented trade that grew to prominence in the maritime region following the decline in large-scale shipbuilding.

Vergani, Gianmarco. The Culture of Fragments. The Journal of The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation 6, no. (1987).
Collection of essays and articles that discuss fragmentation in a metaphysical sense. A theoretical work situated in the height of postmodern and deconstructivist theory. Provides a varied springboard of precedents on the topic of fragmentation and difference.

Vernant, Jean Pierre. Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society. (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Harvester Press, 1978).

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