And in my Present Situation I am Afraid to Talk to Strangers

This fictional design intervention creates a space for storytelling atop a bell-tower at the Finnish Church in London.

finnish church in london experimental architecture drawing by miles elliott unit 8 bartlett


‘Rune singing’ is an ancient ritual in the area of Karelia which is now Finland. The giver and recipient of the story sit opposite each other with knees touching and hands interlocked. The rune singer sings the story, and each line is repeated by the learner. Studying contemporary Finnish culture through the lens of film-maker Aki Kaurismaki, the design responds to the perceived privacy of the Finnish spirit. A vertical series of spaces incrementally encourage increased intimacy between the two participants. The project aims to provoke a deeper consideration around our practices of storytelling, and the loss of physical and spatial intimacy resulting from digital storytelling rituals such as the ‘instastory’. 

pencil sketch of architectural device for averting a gaze by miles elliott in unit 8 at the bartlett

Development Sketches | Left – device for averting a gaze; Right – access bridge for the stranger

architecture sketchbook pencil sketch of experimental bridge by Miles Elliott unit 8 at the bartlett

photogrammetry point cloud of a mouth touching the lip of a chalice by miles elliott unit 8 Bartlett

Chalice | Design for a cup appendage which is stained by being used, in order to create a physical memory of participation in the ritual

Saliva stain coloured by ph indicator bromothymol blue by miles elliott unit 8 Bartlett architecture

3d printed appendage for a communion chalice by miles elliott unit 8 bartlett architecture

Interlocking hands in a speculative demonstration of rune singing: a karelian storytelling ritual

Hands | Physical demonstration of the rune singing ritual

Holding hands in demonstration of rune singing, an ancient karelian storytelling ritual

pencil drawing of charcoal stains from a plaster cast by Miles Elliott Unit 8 Bartlett

Residue |In casting ‘Rune 26 objects’, unintentional marks were left on the formwork through the casting process. This drawing reorganises and recreates those marks, celebrating the beauty of the accident.

architectural plaster cast and plywood model of kalevala rune 26 a perilous journey by miles elliott

Rune 26 | A sculptural interpretation of rune 26 of the Kalevala

architectural plaster cast, paper and plywood model of kalevala rune 26 a perilous journey