Proey Liao

MArch II

An Attempt to Approach a Ceiling

Advised by Lisa Haber-Thomson

“You sleep . . . with your eyes wide open. You count and you organize the cracks in the ceiling. The conjunction of shadows and stains, and the variation of adjustment and orientation of your gaze, produce effortlessly, slowly, dozens of nascent shapes, fragile coalitions that you are able to grasp only for a fleeting second . . .” 

You don’t think of the ceiling often. Your body, upright, walks along plans and looks at spaces in elevation. You design for circulation, for interaction, for uprightness. But, at times, you reorient yourself to upend uprightness. You lay down. Now, the ceiling is your elevation. Your movement is relegated to your eyes, which graze the surface of the ceiling, imagining what is beyond it. Below its concealment, below its labyrinthine textures, below the plaster, you seek direction and a definition of space. 

This thesis is an attempt to approach the infraordinary: the background of everyday life, which writer Georges Perec asks us to question. You find the infraordinary in the cracks of the ceiling, where you can look below it, and find a labyrinth to explore with none less than the ceiling itself as a compass rose. 

Photo of rough cut edge in white surface

Animation of a diagram with 8 squares surrounding a compass rose, which includes a wind rose of concepts relating to ceilings, a numbered knight’s tour, a knight’s tour line, and 8 images of ceilings.

Animation including an 8 square section perspective of everyday scenes, an 8 square reflected ceiling plan of everyday scenes, and an 8 square worm’s eye plan of everyday scenes.

Animation of drawing of a ceiling rose disappearing into a cracked ceiling.