Drawing can be used performatively to dismantle institutional architecture’s power. We use the chapter to place drawing as an embodied practice at architecture’s core in conversation with Karen Barad’s thinking and to place Barad themself in conversation with the thinking of "Black, Lesbian, Mother, Warrior, Poet" Audre Lorde. Beyond illustration, the performative act of drawing attends to the intra-relationships between designers and other – but never "othered" – matter. Gestures towards this performative power of diffractive drawing come to the fore as we recount how we use drawing diffractively in our investigation of historic preservation and international development practices used in a project at one of the rock-hewn churches in the Ethiopian city of Lalibela. While institutional architecture can only represent – representation helps to embed institutional power – diffractive drawing produces agential cuts by overlaying geographies and revealing relations between the human and more-than-human. In short, diffractive drawing undoes institutional architecture’s epistemological power with institutional architecture’s own tool.
In Conversation with Karen Barad: Doings of Agential Realism, eds., Vivienne Bozalek and Karin Murris
Post Qualitative, New Materialist and Critical Posthumanist Research
National Research Fund (South Africa)