Lurking in a Liminal Land:

making images for an ecology of territories and relations


  • Peter Downton RMIT University



Interior architecture, Interiority, Spatial design


For several decades I have taken photos from the windows of places where I have lived, worked or stayed. This is a performative practice portrayed here in terms of interiority and territory discussed from a point of view predominantly concerned with producing knowing. The themes of interest are interwoven with a description and some evaluation of the project. Ordering and tidiness are enmeshed with establishing territories, because territory as a concept requires a definition, and this involves deciding, sorting, and controlling to establish the forming of a territory and its boundaries. An analytical account of existing territory has the same requirements. My project is seen as revealing, exemplifying, and offering metaphors for understandings of the nature of interior territories. The central view espoused here, is that my several hundred images are best understood as an ecology, where, in this case, the constructed relations to be found between the images provide the privileged means of understanding the whole, rather than any enumeration of content or photographic character ordered according to the application of a ‘top-down’ system. To arrive at this view, a number of metaphoric connections with issues in the epistemology of interior territories are explored.


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Author Biography

Peter Downton, RMIT University

Peter Downton is professor of Design research, school of Architecture + Design, RMIT University, Australia. His research interests include the nature of inquiry in and through designing; the production of knowing and knowledge through designing and making; the role of models in thinking; and the relations of people to their physical environment. he is author of Design Research, 2003; Studies in Design Research: ten epistemological pavilions, RMIT press, 2004; and with Mark burry, Michael Ostwald, and Andrea Mina (eds.) three books under the generic title Homo Faber, Archadia press, 2007, 2008, 2009(?). his dogs permit him time to photograph.




How to Cite

Downton, Peter. 2009. “Lurking in a Liminal Land:: Making Images for an Ecology of Territories and Relations”. Idea Journal 9 (1):172-81.



Design Research Paper