“ If you can’t find it, invent it: architecture is a theatre. ” Alexander Pilis was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and currently lives and works in Montreal and São Paulo. Pilis is a dedisciplined architectural investigator, artist, curator and professor working under the aegis of Architecture Parallax – a methodology that displaces sight as the singular verification of reality. Moreover, Pilis instigates a multi-media project exploring issues and questions raised by his work The Blind Architect: Visual Crisis as a critique of the modernization of vision and the collapse of the depth of field. He has produced catalogues and books which have been published in Brazil, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Architecture Parallax : Vision of Difference, Difference of Vision
In situ installation, 2019
(The project title references Sally McKay’s essay – “Architecture Parallax: Through the Looking Glass” for The Koffler Gallery exhibition in 2015).
This work explores vision by engaging the public to examine the modernization of vision itself routed in architecture and the built environment. In turn, it poses questions. What do we imagine to be real or verifiable?
Entering into the observatory space, the visitors will encounter four optical devices, altered telescopes, placed in accordance to the city, magnetic and astrological cardinal references. Looking through the device, the viewers will be expecting to see a closer view of any building in the city, a landscape fragment in movement and passage of time in the sky, but in fact will be surprised that the view is actually upside down.
A sculptural vision device offers a re-evaluation of what we know and expect to see when looking over the city, and addressing the Art Souterrain theme “Le vrai du faux” – “True or False.” The view will (in effect) “de-correct” the brain’s adjustment, and present a “real” image. This image “contraction” of “Le vrai du faux,” will generate exploration and conversation amongst visitors
We are born blind, we learn to see, we see upside down and our brain adjust and constructs. This unusual view displaces and excites the expectation of the viewer and begins to engage the viewer with others, raising questions. What do I see? Am I seeing what I am aiming for? How do we see, and why our eyes and brains alter our perceptions and cultural positions?
If we can momentarily alter the experience, then the viewer may possibly view the city and in turn their own position in space. This transformation of perception mediated by optical devices will facilitate a different kind of seeing, enabling another perceptual way of experiencing the city, the landscape and the sky. Essentially this work is about altered vision, subjectivity and agency.
Constructed in 1955-62, Place Ville Marie (PVM) is an iconic Montréal building designed as a cruciform in the venerated International Style, by the prestigious I.M. Pei & Henry Cobb architectural firm.
Curator: Joyce Yahouda