The achievement of The Model as Performance is to shift thinking on the spatial model from representational concerns (the resemblance of the model to what it copies or projects) to interactional concerns (how models and our performative relations with them actively participate in what Thea and Lawrence call the ‘co-construction’ of reality). The key concept the authors develop to explain this co-construction, this merging of theatricality and architecture, is the ‘autonomous model’. They explore the complexity of that autonomy through a history of the model in architecture, theatre, design, contemporary art, and politics. In particular, the examination of the confluence of knowledge and politics with regards to the spatial model is a crucial contribution to the field of model theory and scenography. More broadly, the introduction of design principles as methodological strategies, for example, ‘iteration’, ‘dimension’, and ‘modelling’ itself, has significant implications for the writing of design theory and history. But this is not just an academic book. Its nuanced, rigorous widening of the category of the model will no doubt be explored in studio pedagogy and studio practice.
Lawrence Wallen and Thea Brejzek are both Professors in the School of Design within UTS’s Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.