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The moral ways

Hugh Pearman

Camp Morality tackles today's lack of moral guidance with playful seriousness

This image by Elly Ward is from the illustrated children’s storybook Back To Morality – An Architectural Fable For Our Modern Times, a result of her architectural project at the Royal College of Art.  Prompted by 2011’s riots and protests against government cuts and wealth without responsibility, Camp Morality was a playful but considered response to both contemporary society’s lack of  institutional moral guidance and the media outcry for justice on all sides.  As well as housing ‘therapy’ sessions, the various follies are symbolic and suggestive representations of the characters in medieval morality plays: Knowledge, Justice, Strength, Reciprocity and the main protagonist, Mankind. The book reaffirms the resonance of this age-old narrative and translates it into an architectural approach.

Ward’s work combines political commentary with playful narrative and delivers it in a delightfully lighthearted way. Using humour and the familiar tropes of the comic strip, she gets her points across in a way that is perhaps more effective than mere polemic.  Her style presents a refreshing alternative to traditional forms of architectural representation and attests to the increasing acceptance of graphic illustration as a legitimate art form.