Manual: inscriptions of the everyday

Opening on 18 September 2013 at the University of South Australia’s SASA Gallery, Manual: Inscriptions of the everyday brings together work by eight architects, artists, landscape architects, interior and furniture designers, exploring the concept of the handmade in terms of instruction, dexterity and craft through a series of 2- and 3-dimensional objects in mixed-media.

The exhibition theme is prompted by research into theories of the everyday by its curators, Rachel Hurst and Jane Lawrence, and central to their curation is the “Table of Contents” – which provides a condensed physical synopsis of the works. On opening night (18 September) a talk by invited external scholar and catalogue essayist Dr Ceridwen Owen will centre around the Table of Contents, where aspects of the talk will be inscribed onto the table itself.

Manual invokes three strands of thinking around this most mechanical of words: Manual making – exploring modest everyday manual activity with a view to enriching hand-based skills; Manual Instruction as in the instruction manual, which is an artefact with a long tradition, from medieval manuscripts illustrating daily practices for well-being to step-by-step recipe books and the architectural drawing – itself a manual for assembling a building. The third and simplest strand is Manual Handling where the everyday object is seen as something to hold, handle and hand down – which goes against the grain of the conventional hands-off etiquette of gallery exhibits.

Taking the ‘hands-on’ idea literally, NSW Government Architect Peter Poulet painted his colouful three-metre canvas – Manual: (aspiring to be human) without the use of brushes. “All the paint was applied with my fingertips; and all my fingerprints were stripped in the process.”

Curators Hurst and Lawrence are senior lecturers and studio coordinators in architecture and interior architecture at the University of South Australia. Their collaborative teaching and research practice uses food as an analogy and frame of reference for teaching design. Their work is published in Eating Architecture, Memory and Architecture and Food and the City, and both have been invited guest judges for national design awards. Collectively the pair have contributed to twelve design exhibitions nationally and in 2010 curated and exhibited in the group exhibition Intimate Immensities at the SASA Gallery.


Damien Chwalisz (Roarkus Moss Architects, SA)
Matt Davis (principal urban designer, Renewal SA);
Michael Geissler (furniture designer and interior architecture academic, University of South Australia)
Gini Lee (University of Melbourne, Elisabeth Murdoch Chair of Landscape Architecture)
Peter Malatt (Six Degrees Architects, Vic)
Katica Pedisic (architect and artist, Antidote)
Peter Poulet (NSW Government Architect)
Hannah White (interior architecture lecturer, University of South Australia)

Manual: Inscriptions of the everyday
17 September – 18 October 2013
Floor talk 18 September: Dr Ceridwen Owen
SASA Gallery, University of South Australia