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Boundaries 02, 2013 | research and creative discovery | Clemson University

Boundaries 02, 2013

Courtesy of Joseph Choma.


Boundaries 02, 2013, Joseph Choma’s “inhabitable drawing installation,” as he calls it, questions what it means to draw and experience a drawing. Escaping the bounds of an ordinary frame, the sixteen-by-twenty-foot drawing occupies a wall and part of the floor in the Barbara Archer Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. Thousands of lines are scratched into glossy black paint on medium density fiberboard. Like much of Choma’s work, it investigates the blurring of perceived spatial boundaries.

Choma, who first came to Clemson last fall as a visiting professor and joined the faculty in the School of Architecture this year, uses design to engage in epistemology—what knowledge is and how it can be acquired. In his first book, Morphing: A Guide to Mathematical Transformations for Architects and Designers (Laurence King Publishing, January 2015), he created a new way to understand and use trigonometric functions as design tools.

Choma studied design and computation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he became “interested in the inner computational workings behind digital tools,” he says. Many contemporary design students are more interested in learning how to use digital tools—computer programs—than understanding how they work and influence the set of possible results. To learn what was “under the hood,” Choma says, he “began researching mathematics, as means to demystify” the software.

In 2009, Choma founded the Design Topology Lab, an interdisciplinary design research practice. His work has been exhibited internationally, including a solo exhibit at the MIT Museum as part of the 2010 Cambridge Science Festival, the 4th Architectural Biennial Beijing, and the 9th International Beyond Media Festival in Florence. In 2013, he was awarded the Emerging Voices citation by the AIA Atlanta for his contribution to the field of architecture through research and experimentation.

Joseph Choma is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture, College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities. For more about his work, go to

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