Monash University
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Half a proposition for a banner march and a black cube hot air balloon

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posted on 2017-02-23, 02:06 authored by Ishak, Raafat
Half a proposition for a banner march and a black cube hot air balloon is a broad proposition stimulated by a position of conflict grounded in binary interpretations of historical shifts, particularly in art and architecture. Specifically, this paper investigates and discusses the 1915 painting Black Square by Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) and its relationship to Mecca’s black cube, the holy Kaaba in Saudi Arabia, implicating both venerable objects within a singular historical trajectory. The aim is to utilise both forms in a process of demarcation towards the creation and launch of a black cube shaped hot air balloon, the principle component of this research. The paper investigates the historical and social backgrounds of both objects in an act of overt sabotage of meanings and associations and a notional imploration to liberate the square. Furthermore, the paper will investigate the historical trajectory of crowds and stadium architecture, the proposed launching site for a black cube hot air balloon. In the west, tradition, which often connotes a static, irrational and culturally monolithic past, is often contrasted with the modern, which signifies a dynamic, rational and culturally pluralistic present. What seems like a linear shift from tradition to modern is arguably a construct of vested interests. There are no clear distinctions between these variances. Less so, when considering the specific implications of language in establishing a modernist political view of the world. The shift from tradition to post-industrial modernity was highlighted by the development of a specific language, contracting a cultural response to a colonised world with a workable theory of progress. My research principally proposes that Black Square was a decisive gesture in articulating a contentious space between indeterminate positions. The black cube hot air balloon is a propositional articulation of Malevich’s Black Square and the black cube of Mecca. It intends to amalgamate two diametrically opposed historical constructs for the purpose of realigning the interpretation of cultural objects and inflicting an inclusive reading of historical events. Greek Sophism appears as the most fundamental precedent for establishing an argument, which is potentially construed as a rejection of a traditional historical trajectory, yet, is inherently, by the nature of the forms it emulates, susceptible to alternative elucidations.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Euan Heng

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture