Two reviews of ‘A Clinic for the Exhausted’ (M. Spooner, 2014) published

Spooner Drawing 2A review of Michael Spooner’s ‘A Clinic for the Exhausted’ (ADDR, Spurbuchverlag 2014) has just been published in the prestigious journal Fabrication [Routledge, Taylor & Francis] and is by Cathy Smith (University of Newcastle, AUS)

“…Both Spooner’s design projects and the accompanying literary text challenge preconceptions of what constitutes scholarly research, design practice, architectural discourse and, most importantly, their interrelation…”

“…Certainly, the book title and idea of a clinic immediately appealed to this academic-reviewer, exhausted by the demands of a hectic university semester, yet the book offers less repose from architectural life than a unique and introspective engagement with it. Its foreword by Professor Michael J. Ostwald provides a fitting introduction to the pages that follow, through its invocations of utopia, seafaring and nautical navigation. Spooner’s own speculative writings are interwoven with image-only pages of three of his own, related design projects. The first of Spooner’s projects, also titled “A Clinic for The Exhausted” (the aforementioned creative response to Building 8), is followed by “The Swimming Pool Library” and “The Landscape Room”. All three projects are conveyed through a series of beautiful, black-and-white digitally rendered sections, plans, exploded detail drawings and three-dimensional perspectives.

To contextualise Spooner’s literary and design experimentation, we might turn to the French post-structuralist philosopher Gilles Deleuze, to whom Spooner also refers. In Chapter 3 of Spooner’s book, “For What It’s Worth”, there is reference to Deleuze’s self-positioning of his work as a “sort of buggery” (6) of other philosophical writings. Deleuze’s “buggery” is affirmative, because it produces new modes of thought and practice; it encourages conceptual and discursive transgressions, …”
Cathy Smith, University of Newcastle
Another review is by Marie Lecef in the most recent edition of Architect Victoria (AUS), Marie writes that:
The design research is at worst original, but at best ecstatic – proposing through writing, drawings and collected images an architecture that is highly fanciful, yet palpably existent. The methodology, buoyed upon literature, philosophy, architecture, a current of humor, an overwhelming visual sumptuousness, the corporeal and a myriad of hints and allegations to alight at a point outside one’s knowing, damp with déjà vu...”

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