workbook/  The Glass Slippery 5/5/2002
Glass Slippery, Women's Shoe Boutique,  Byward Market, Ottawa 

Shoe boxes are our childhood's treasured containers wherein we kept our precious personal things and little secrets ...strangely, not under lock and key. 

The metaphysical values of this construction empowering the emotion of architecture are asymptotic to the conceptual ideas and artistic explorations of  contemporary American (Canadian educated) minimalist artist, Dan Graham, as they specifically reflect on his themes, dealing with aspects of intersubjectivity (particularly how a person, in a determined moment, contemporaneously perceives itself, looks at others, and is observed by these others), and, how they are allegorically  transmitted by his ephemeral  architectural devices-- the mirror and the reflected object; temporal phase shifts in systemically controlled relations of subject and object in space; the alternating between transparencies and reflections. 

Our tangential conceptual position distances the construction from possible fraternizing with or appropriating of ideas from contexts and authors working within the realm of conceptual and post-minimalist art since the object does not profess superficial relationships to the plan of the city or command momentary performances within the later's peculiar urban textures.  As the lesser of these, it simply is into building and how an artificer's conceptual ideas composed within the limits of a building's nature and functions in time expound the secrets of architecture. 

In this case, the architecture is that subliminal provocation of the shopper towards identification with the shoes as it's reflected image is superimposed upon that of the displayed merchandise: in the two-way mirrored cubicles set-up,  it is, through the continual inversion between who is the observer and who is observed, the shopper and sales persons themselves becoming part of the displayed goods as well as actors performing the ritual of shoe shopping: it is the abating of potential stage fright, by the material nature and colours of the floor and ceiling planes  as they massage the psyche between the state of the real, the artificial, the illusional: it is the preparatory rite of descent and ascent via the polysemous allusions inspired by the spiralled state of transition.

Dan Graham: Two-way mirror cylinder inside cube. 1991

Strategy appropriates hitherto unthought to be unusable basement space (thus rent free) below existing clothing boutique and introduces: five compartments/alcoves fabricated out of two-way mirrors with reflective surfaces within the alcoves and uniformly distributed colour corrected fluorescent lighting; Brazilian lignum vitae veneered spiral stair with two-way mirror balusters centrally lit with mercury vapour flood;  shadowed daylight from basement windows mixed with sodium halide light filtered through structural glass outer drum comprising shoe box storage, display runs, and three niches; Fitting alcoves' floor of  yellow ochre impregnated concrete and covered with pink shag wool area rugs; remaining floor of loose-layed precast concrete chequered textured patio blocks on gravel bed, unmortared joints; existing rough-plank-formed concrete outer walls to be up-lit with 60 watt incandescent lights at midpoints and 40 watts at quarter points; patrons' chairs and salesperson stools of bent laminated glass of male shoe-tongue shape fitted with maroon coloured lacerated coach leathered micro thin pillowing; ceiling of red-dyed, paisley-embosed Moroccan camel leather stretched on suspension  system.

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