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AR In Pictures: the making of Specious Spaces

5 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review index

Anna Mill and Luke Jones share some of the process work that went into the making of Specious Spaces

This article is about the making of Mill & Jones’ short graphic novel published in the AR June 2020 issue on the theme of Inside. It originally featured as one of our AR In Pictures newsletters, which share exclusive photo series, behind-the-scenes process work and images from the AR archive each Tuesday – sign up for free to begin receiving these emails, straight to your inbox

Specious spaces thumbnails 2

Specious spaces thumbnails 2

‘I did various bits of study and research which didn’t end up being a significant part of the final piece’, writes Anna Mill, ‘but that seemed necesary in order to figure out what we wanted to show on each page. The first analysis was about creating a plan from a view of a room: similar research has been done by Flores & Prats and Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. I draw in perspective a lot, and sometimes draw from a plan using this method of projection, but I’d never attempted the same method backwards.’

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2 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

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03 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

‘The second analysis was about reflection. I became interested in the idea that the image of any object, if you have enough detail, can be a map of a whole room. If you can map out the surface of a bottle, and understand the warped reflections on its surface you could plausibly re-create an unseen part of that room. I liked the idea of using cartographic techniques, becoming interested in globe gores – but this didn’t end up being so important.’

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010 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

‘The third analysis was about the position of the sun, as a way of determining the time of year. The idea was that if someone wanted to fake the position of the sun they could set up a room that tilted slightly to put the room in the correct position. This could be discovered by noticing that the surface of the liquid in a cup was not perfectly horizontal: I made a video of a cup tilting in a figure-of-eight motion, and tried to re-create the 12 positions of the liquid’s surface corresponding to the 12 points on an analemma.

P4 rough version 1

P4 rough version 1

‘As a point of interest, all of the video correspondents are named after people from history: Georges Perec, Leon Battista Alberti, St Jerome, Gerardus Mercator, Vincenzo Coronelli, Nicholas Kratzer, Sebastiano Serlio and George Hadley.’

Luke Jones added: ‘We had an initial conversation in which Georges Perec’s Species of Spaces was mentioned. Some time later the title of our comic occurred to me as a joke – but a joke that, if taken literally, also suggested an approach. So it became an exploration of the falseness and distortion of perspectival space.’

What follows are some sketch versions of the pages, including colour tests and palette, and finally, one of the finished pages:

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04 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

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05 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

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06 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

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07 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

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08 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

09 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

09 specious spaces graphic novel architectural review

This article is about the making of Specious Spaces, Mill + Jones’ short graphic novel published in the AR June 2020 issue on the theme of Inside – click here to buy your copy today