Hooper, Anna. "Form and Language: the landscape of the architectural," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 4, issues 2/3 (2010).
As part of my doctoral research I have constructed a play using Platonic dialectic to explore the concept-construct of “form.” I am borrowing from the origins of western philosophy to explore the acquisition of knowledge, as well as the landscape of language to articulate the architectural. Ultimately I am asking a question that all students should ask: What is the shape of an idea, that is--what constitutes “form”?
The play’s protagonist is Plato. Using his own voice is very much intentional as Plato wrote dialogues never having himself as the interlocutor in any. Early Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Parmenides appear as herms, and the poet Homer appears as a ghost. The dialogues are purely hypothetical and the “voices" of these characters, as well as Plato’s, are based on their own words and writings. However, the voice of Pan, an interloper between the characters in the play and the readers of it, is purely fictional. Finally, every protagonist needs an antagonist, so I have introduced a gardener.
My thesis question is “what is the shape of an idea, that is--what constitutes “form”?” The gardener challenges Plato’s theory of The Forms to promote an alternative theory of form, that of the shape-idea. I have replaced exemplars that Plato uses to explain his theory in his own texts with paradigms that are subsequently explored in the play.