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Investigating Anna M: Curiosity, Space And Things

Part 1 Dissertation 2001
Zoe Quick
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) | UK
My dissertation begins with the heurism of the ‘room-hunt’ and takes as its subject the curiosity inspired in me by Anna Maltz’s room at 41 Landrock Road. Where my decision to move into a room at this address was inspired by taking a peek at Anna’s room in her absence, after taking up residence it transpires that the curiosity of the ‘room-hunter-detective’ re-emerges in voyeuristic acts even within the context of an evolving friendship. This suggests that my curiosity is not peculiar to the room-hunting process but a function of my relationship with Anna, her room, and the objects within it. My dissertation thus examines my curiosity in terms of the different rôles I inhabit within the room as my relationship with Anna develops; detective, voyeur, collector, archaeologist, friend.

In an attempt to communicate my interest in such different forms of knowing, my dissertation constitutes both a written ‘academic’ text, and a suitcase containing five forms of evidence: the detective’s case notes, the voyeur’s snapshots, the collector’s postcards, the archaeologist’s file and the friend’s album. These documents chart my five investigations into different modes of knowing, and each uncovers a different interpretation of Anna’s room and its contents. Through drawing upon Laura Mulvey’s psychoanalysis of the voyeur, my written analysis of each character then begins to explain this interpretability in terms of the identification processes underlying curiosity.
Where the self-reflexive curiosity of the psychoanalyst comes to permeate my research, it draws attention to the haunting of my investigation by the psychoanalytic ‘Case of Anna O’. My ‘reading’ of the ‘Case of Anna O’ then not only creates another layer of interpretation in my investigation but also implicates the interpretative nature of the rôle of reader of ‘The Case of Anna M’. In an attempt to acknowledge and promote exploration of this layering of interpretation, where I present the reader of my dissertation with a text and a selection of objects in space, in effect I construct a starting point for my reader that echoes my own.

Zoe Quick

Zoe's curiosity about her new flatmate, Anna M, has resulted in a stunning piece of research. In a passing reference to Sigmund Freud's analysis of Anna O, Zoe gets to know her 'Anna' by investigting the bizarre collection of objects that fill her room. In order to research Anna, or 'find out' about her, Zoe adopts a number of different personas as alternative modes of knowing: voyeur, detective, collector, archaeologist and friend. The result is a critical and creative piece of writing that engages the reader in a number of ways: 'telling' them how to know Anna in an 'academic' voice and inviting them to invent their own version of Anna through a tactile and open-ended presentation of her objects. The best dissertation I have seen at the Bartlett in the last seven years.

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