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Silk, Stone & Steel - The Industrial Renaissance by Mohammad Qasim Iqbal

Mohammad Qasim Iqbal
Nottingham Trent University
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Silk, Stone & Steel - The Industrial Renaissance
June 2023
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Concept - Design
Futuristic, AI Architecture

Mohammad Qasim Iqbal: This series of Midjourney images builds upon the explorations of the Silk and Stone series, with the aim of expanding upon the contradictory and interconnected nature of the previous works within a fresh paradigm. Drawing inspiration from influential architects such as Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, and Renzo Piano, I selected the high-tech and industrial style of architecture as the backdrop for these explorations. The intention was to juxtapose the organic, fluid, and unpredictable qualities of baroque silk with the rigid aesthetics of exposed steel. Unlike the pairing of stone, which conveyed a sense of weight and solidity, the use of steel presented new challenges and dialogues to be explored between the silk and steel materials.

My vision for the steel work was to remain true to its inherent nature, featuring exposed aspects, intriguing tectonics, and a structured framework. These elements would serve as an ideal complement to the delicate silk fabric, aiming to establish a cohesive direction while also allowing for moments of singularity where viewers could trace the material back to its original form, its fundamental essence. This distinction between the stone and steel explorations became the key difference in the artistic approach. With stone, there was an almost seamless merging of materials, with no clear demarcation between the stone and silk. They blended and transformed into each other, forming a unified whole that enveloped the viewer, reminiscent of the Baroque style. On the other hand, the steel explorations retained a sense of individuality, reflecting a more Renaissance approach. Here, the individual components held value and were not subsumed within the whole. Instead, they existed as part of the collective, their identity preserved, ready to be appreciated when the viewer embraced the entirety of the composition. In this series, the steel and silk materials can stand alone, yet also come together harmoniously.

As the explorations progressed, I reintroduced the stone element to further enrich the dialogue. This addition brought a heightened complexity to the series, as multiple tectonic relationships emerged between silk and stone, silk and steel, and steel and stone. These combinations gave rise to a heightened sense of chaos within the compositions. Moreover, the inclusion of stone reinstated a dreamlike quality that had been absent when solely working with silk and steel. The trinity of materials - stone, silk, and steel - offered a dynamic interplay between individual components and the overarching whole. The steel, acting as the intermediary material, enabled a bridge between the previously merging elements, allowing the silk and stone to trace their distinct forms once again.

Through this series of Midjourney images, I sought to capture the intricate interplay between materials, the dialogue between contrasting aesthetics, and the tension between the individual and the collective. The explorations transcended mere visual compositions, delving into the realms of architectural philosophy and art history. By intertwining silk, stone, and steel, I aimed to create a visual narrative that invites viewers to reflect upon the intricate complexities of materiality and the fluidity of artistic expression.

By Liliana Alvarez

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