The architecture of risk

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- This is a quote used to open the introduction in Venturi/ Scott Brown/ lzenour's (1972) 'Learning from Las Vegas'- 'Substance for a writer consists not merely of those realities he thinks he discovers; it consists even more of those realities which have been made available to him by the literature and idioms of his own day and by the images that still have vitality in the literature of the past. Stylistically, a writer can express his feeling about this substance either by imitation, if it sits well with him, or by parody if it doesn't.1 It appears the wheels have turned full circle since then, as the quote is now most apt in marking out my own exploration in Learning from Vegascana. Las Vegas has no counterpart on earth. Its symbology is imitated worldwide as no other blueprint can convey the flamboyance needed to instantly deliver entertainment and gambling glamour. Cliched and obvious at first bite, but what's beneath- is it all superficiality or is there a wealth of unexplored material? Dasgupta refers to Newell and Simon's problem search, which constructs the very space that is to be searched. This is distinct from knowledge search, which occurs primarily in an existing and pre-structured space. 2 In this research study Vegascana is parodied and extrapolated through a corpus of works developed under broad themes as sculpture and installation, industrial design, signage design, animation and photomedia. The 'problem search' has been productive for me over the period of the doctorate candidacy because I have been able to define my own practice heuristically. The multi-disciplinary research production has given the body of work its 'station identification' - a fusion to link the R & D pulse between art and industrial production, the creative link between invention and fantasy, between digital and tactile space. One of the challenging tasks is to identify the design soul of Vegascana which may well be akin to establishing a heritage listing on a series of historical artefacts. The approach I've used leans heavily on my own very personal interpretation of the Vegas experience, linked to other accounts such as film and other media works and on research in the conventional manner. The process that I have adopted part-fictionalises the experience, ambience and visceral quality of Las Vegas. It examines the experience as a design artefact. The corpus of works includes more than 40 new and expanded projects, with those of pertinence and relevance documented and detailed here. The fabrication and fictional element offers a re-invention, re-appraisal or re-engagement. Animated scenarios are used as a way of exploring alternatives to existing cliched readings of Vegas and Vegascana.
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