In an ongoing endeavor to blend public art, architecture, and urbanism by artists Siyuan and Hwee Chong, The Doors Project subversively projects a series of doors onto public spaces in Singapore, reflecting the struggles of the urban poor and underprivileged. But while commenting on despair, the real message is one of faith, hope and empowerment. “We wanted to make a statement about life, and jolt people to think,” the artists said in an interview at Yolo. “Instead of following the light at the end of the tunnel, why not carry our own lights, and create our own doors! It’s really about rolling up our sleeves, and creating the opportunities we want for ourselves.” Inspired by true stories of people they’ve met—from a boy mastering kung fu to protect his mother from his abusive father to an Indian worker desperately raising money for his son’s surgery—the installation provokes the viewer to re-imagine boundaries as thresholds, opacity as reflection, and life’s roadblocks as opportunities. “These people, despite much hoping and praying, are faced with countless roadblocks that take them nowhere,” they said. According to Siyuan and Hwee Chong, people should take a giant leap of faith, work hard at what they believe in most, and open their own “doors” in life. “It’s just more meaningful that way.” Expect more public installations from Siyuan and Hwee Chong in the near future. “’Doors is meant to be an ongoing project. There’s no end date to it. For as long as we keep collecting stories of hope and despair, we’ll keep projecting people’s ‘doors’ onto roadblocks.” Read the full interview with the artists at Yolo or check out The Doors Project's website for more.
Posts tagged with "Installations":
Reimagining the chair as an architectural materialWith their focus on "environmental acuity and a critical digital ethic," Brian Bush and Yong Ju Lee of E/B Office describe themselves as "digital architects" who design "real projects that are virtually indistinguishable from their digital visions." Their most recent vision included 300 of IKEA's pine wood Ivar chairs arching through the air across the wide lawn at Freedom Park in Atlanta, where SEAT was installed earlier this summer for Flux Projects, a public art organization. Bush and Lee hope that SEAT will encourage people to reconsider the chair as more than just a passive, everyday object, but as an architectural structure in and of itself. Indeed, sitting amongst a swooping pavilion built entirely out of chairs, it would be difficult not to. No doubt you've seen the Ivar chair before, or something like it. Popular for its low price ($24.99) and ability to be painted any color, Ivar is so basic it's the kind of chair that should pop right up when you do a Google Image search for “chair” (it doesn't, though IKEA's Poang does). Because they came from IKEA, all 300 were assembled by hand by Bush, Lee and a team of 15. The chairs were unaltered except for the seat, which was removed from most to make them easier to connect. After Bush and Lee made a 3D model in Rhino with the help of a structural engineer, they launched right into building the full-scale version onsite. Once the materials were shipped to Freedom Park, installation began at the farthest edges of the pavilion, which were stabilized with rebar in a concrete foundation. Chair by chair, they worked their way towards the middle, at which point a keystone chair was added. Then the temporary bracing was gradually removed and wooden support columns were added at key points. But because the lag bolts, clamps, screws and other hardware are hidden from view, embedded in the body of the chairs, the corbeled arch looks fluid, regardless of the additional columns. Given the fact that the overall weight of the structure is nearly 4,000 pounds it's surprising that more columns weren't needed, but the parametric design manages the tolerance and distributes the weight across the structure. The result is a pavilion that, while not strong enough to be climbed on, has weathered its fair share of storms that have swept through Atlanta this summer. SEAT will remain up at Freedom Park through September 22nd, so visitors have just one more week to sit in the first row of chairs around the periphery that "turn inward to create an intimate, compressive space to converse and regard the upward flow of chairs transcending their function."
Imagine taking the fundamental unit of digital imaging—the pixel—and making it a dynamic part of physical reality. This is precisely what Seoul-based media arts group Jonpasang accomplished at the 2012 Hyundai Motor Group Exhibition. Comprised of what at first appear to be three blank white walls, Jonpasang’s Hyper-Matrix installation quickly comes to life as thousands of individual cubic units forming a field of pixels begin to move, pulsate, and form dynamic images across the room. The creative feat of engineering is built on steel scaffolding forming an armature for the lightweight cubes, each measuring about one square foot and individually affixed to stepper motors. Mimicking the pixelated digital image, each white cube extends and retracts in sync to form tangible displays and animations revealed through shade and shadow. While in the room, the sounds of the moving cubes also help engage audiences with the experience of witnessing waves of concentric circles expand across the screen. The surfaces themselves may also serve as projection screens when the cubes are resting on a uniform vertical plane. Design collective Jonpansang consists of Jin-Yo Mok, Sookyun Yang, Earl Park, Jin-Wook Yea, and Sang-Wook Yu. Their Hyper Matrix was constructed in Korea in May to be on display for the 2012 Hyundai Motor Group Exhibition, which recently closed. [ Via FastCo Design/DesignBoom. ]
In an about face, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reversed a decision to demolish Athena Tacha's Green Acres, a site specific installation at the State's Department of Environmental Protection. Tacha is largely credited with bringing the land art movement into the social context of architecture. The 1985 sculpture's staying power remains contingent upon private funding to restore the piece. With Art Pride New Jersey, Preservation New Jersey, and The Cultural Landscape Foundation all rallying to the cause, Green Acres looks like it will remain the place to be.
A 100 percent PET plastic garden grows in LondonIf you were fortunate enough to visit the London Olympics this summer and happened to walk through Victoria Park or the main quad at University College London (UCL) on your way to the games, then you experienced BLOOM, a big, bright, architectural garden created by complete strangers who gathered over the course of the two weeks to piece together 60,000 plastic game pieces, all dyed official Olympic hot pink. Designed by Alisa Andrasek and Jose Sanchez, two architecture professors from UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture, BLOOM was selected by the Greater London Authority for a series of events and installations mounted in two locations during the games with a third location in Trafalgar Square to follow for the upcoming Paralympics. Andrasek and Sanchez had been developing the idea for an open-ended, crowdsourced game that would encourage interaction between people in a large public space when the opportunity to be involved with the Olympics arose. The timing was perfect. Here was a moment in the city's history when locals and tourists alike would be in the same location to celebrate athletics, and Andrasek and Sanchez hoped to capitalize on that spirit of camaraderie. The game starts with the pink game pieces, called cells. Each 16 inch-long cell is made of 100% PET plastic and has three points of entry, or notches used to connect the pieces together. Once Andrasek and Sanchez created a design for the cells, they were injection molded at Atomplast, a Chilean plastics fabricator that Andrasek and Sanchez had worked with previously. The cells are flexible, durable and can be bent and twisted into different configurations without warping or breaking. There were also several structural steel components on hand for using with the cells to build benches, tables, forts and other larger formations. Andrasek and Sanchez began the game by building the first structure themselves, which completely disappeared by the end of the Olympics as people took turns adding onto it and taking pieces away. "Some people really like building whilst others enjoy the act of destroying what someone else did. For us this is mainly the collection and release of energy," the designers wrote in an email. Though BLOOM doesn't have any hard and fast rules, the basic guidelines for building were posted on large banners and two BLOOM team members were on hand to answer questions and teach people how to create larger formations. "As much as we provided help, most of the interesting stuff that people built came out of a group of people taking some time to learn how the system behaves just by playing." Andrasek and Sanchez also had fun playing with BLOOM and testing out different kinds of structures. "We have built maybe five different versions of structures between Victoria Park and UCL, and each time it's different as we keep developing skills of how to do it better,” they wrote. “We reached 3.5 meters in height, but it could go higher as long as we keep on reinforcing the structure. On the other hand, there's a risk with taller structures that can collapse at any time. This did occur several times but the cells are only 200 grams so it’s quite harmless and such an event becomes a motivation to start the game again." The BLOOM team brought out 2,000 new pieces each day to facilitate the game and encourage people to build bigger and higher. "The energy for BLOOM is sourced from people's interactions. None of the pieces can do anything on their own. Only by putting together thousands of them is when the game and the BLOOM garden emerge. The final piece is a collective act of imagination, search and play." The games are on hold for now, but will begin again soon for the Paralympics, which runs from August 28 - October 9, 2012. After that the pieces can either be collected and used to start another game elsewhere or they can be sent back to Atomplast to be recycled into something new.
Inspired by Lebbeus Woods' "Slipstreaming" drawing series envisioning the dynamics of flow, New York- and LA-based FreelandBuck architects designed Slipstream, a colorful installation made of CNC-cut birch-veneer plywood currently on display at New York's Bridge Gallery through August 24. Now the sculpture could flow out of the Lower East Side gallery and into your home or apartment. Citing storage constraints, FreelandBuck has placed Slipstream on eBay and the installation—all 1,400 pieces of it—could be yours for cheap. The seemingly impossibly complex installation was modeled in Rhino after the firm studied various digital models of flow. FreelandBuck describes the project as "a single drawing extruded through the gallery space and cut away to produce a set of interconnected spaces." According to the architects' auction listing, "It will be taken down on Monday August 27th. We have no place to store or re-erect the project. If you do, it could be yours. Slipstream measures 9'-10"x 20'-10"x8'-3"tall and weighs approximately 250lb," making it about the size of a Manhattan micro-apartment. A smaller spiral piece of the installation (seen in the digital model below) is not included in the auction. While at press time there were only four bids topping out at $11.50, we're expecting a bidding war to break out in a few days as the auction draws to the end this weekend. You can pick up the stack of plywood pieces in Brooklyn, or take home assembled chunks to make reassembly a little easier (shipping is also available, estimated at around $1,200). The digital Rhino file is included with the installation showing how everything fits together, but who ever reads the instruction book? Photography by Kevin Kunstadt.
Next time you visit old town Pasadena you may be in for a suprise. When you slink down an alley off of Fair Oaks and Colorado, the next thing you see will be a four-story, 35-foot-tall skyscraper, sitting in the middle of a courtyard. It's an installation by artist Chris Burden (yes, he's the one that did the cool lights and all the matchbox cars at LACMA) called Small Skyscraper (Quasi Legal Skyscraper). Burden collaborated with LA architects Taalman Koch on the open design, which conists of slabs of 2x4s supported by a thin aluminum frame. Burden started envisioning the project back in the 90s, but at that time the idea was for a solid structure made of concrete blocks. This one is lightweight and seems almost like an erector set. Presented by the Armory Center for the Arts, Small Skyscraper will be on display until November.
On any typical day, the pedestrianized Rua Luís de Camões in the small Portuguese town of Águeda is a charming place to experience the city, but this July, a cultural festival called AgitÁgueda (Stir Agueda) rolled out the green carpet, suspended hundreds of colorful umbrellas overhead, and invited residents to see the city in a whole new light. All through July, many of the town's narrow streets were covered in parasols suspended from strings attached to buildings, casting a playful array of shadows on the street below and gently swaying in the breeze. Photographer Patricia Almeida called the sight "Umbrella Sky" on her visiting, capturing the amazing density of umbrellas shimmering overhead. In addition, lampposts were striped with matching colors, pink, yellow and green benches lined the thoroughfares, and a green turf layer was rolled out in the middle of the street, making the whimsical scene on the street resemble a direct snapshot from a Dr. Seuss children’s book.
In the middle of a lightly populated island in the middle of a French reservoir—the Ile de Vassivière—an eerie green glow rises from the crest of a hill at dusk, indicating that you've found OTRO, a phosphorescent skate park of sinuous bowls and tunnels. Designed by artist Koo Jeong-A, L'Escaut Architectures, and skateboard consultants Brusk and Barricade, the project is described as "skateable artwork" and located near a large chateau housing the International Center of Art and Landscape, a light house designed by Aldo Rossi, and a humanoid piece of land art only visible from high above. OTRO was built just like any typical skate park, by shaping a web of rebar reinforcing around excavated bowls and carefully adding concrete on top. In this case, a layer of primer and a coating of phosphorescent paint was added to achieve the stunning effect. Koo Jeong-A first came to the island in 2007 for an exhibition and, according to L'Escaut's website, "had been impressed by the mysterious winter landscapes of the island and the atmosphere that arose from it...an unreal, phantasmagoric and powerful dreamscape belonging to the imaginary world of the artist."
“What if mobile, self-sufficient living units were the building blocks for future cities?” asked New York artist Mary Mattingly. She explored this question in her Flock House Project, experimenting with migratory living solutions through fantastical inhabitable installation art. The project is going on throughout the city this summer. Mattingly’s series of four “Houses” have been traveling around the five boroughs since June. Individually titled the Microsphere, Terrapod, Chromasphere, and Cacoon, they are now on display at the Bronx Museum, Snug Harbor, the Maiden Lane Exhibition Space, and Omi Sculpture Park in Ghent, NY. In response to an era of increasing environmental, political, and economic instability in which one seventh of the world’s population—that’s one billion people—is continuously “on the move,” the Flock Houses offer a new mobile framework through which urban dwellers can experience these issues. These small structures provide minimal amenities for the artists who have chosen to inhabit them for two-week spans, emphasizing an alternate system for urban flexibility and decentralization. Up to two participants sleep in hammocks, while a combination of solar and bicycle power, along with levers and cranks, power the dwellings. Container gardening is utilized to demonstrate the possibilities of ultra-small-scale self-sufficiency, and water is collected from rain run-off. The structures were built collaboratively through a “gift culture,” using reclaimed materials and construction site leftovers. They are also modular, and can be snapped together to from a flock, or tagged onto the side of an existing structure to feed of of its utilities. Together, these methods reflect the combination of autonomy and community interdependence that is at the heart of the Flock House Project. The project offers workshops, events, and narrated cell phone tours. To find out more about visiting the Flock Houses, check out their website.
Folly Socrates Sculpture Park 3205 Vernon Boulevard Queens, NY Through October 21 Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League of New York present the inaugural recipients of the park’s “Folly” grant and residency for emerging architects and designers to New Yorkers Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp. The residency was established to investigate the intersection of architectural and sculptural disciplines and the increasing overlap in references, materials, and techniques between the two. To this end, young architects and designers were asked to propose a contemporary interpretation of the folly, a structure whose purpose is purely decorative but architectural in form. Haferd and Knapp’s winning submission, Curtain (above), is composed of a series of slender wooden posts that define a space of 20 feet on each side and a triangulated roof canopy approximately 8 to 12 feet high. White chains, some suspended between posts and some left hanging, will suggest occupiable spaces within the structure and will sway with the breeze off the East River—a play on the modernist conception of the “curtain wall.”
For many, work by American artist James Turrell is instantly recognizable. Using light and basic geometric forms as the material of his compositions, Turrell subtly alters space and perception for visitors, creating weight and depth through visual experience that evokes meditation and contemplation. Turrell's work is at its height when gazing skyward. Multiple iterations of his Skyspace series have appeared around the world framing a dramatic slice of the heavens in his pristine geometry. The work is, essentially, a skylight: an opening above a room or pavilion for viewing the sky above, but to reduce the work to its function would disregard the transformative power of a simple yet moving experience. In each installation, a confined aperture begins to decontextualize the sky, featuring the color and texture of what is seen as an element of the art. A few weeks ago, a new Turrell Skyspace was completed at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The work, entitled Twilight Epiphany, features Turrel's unique understanding of perception while building dramatically upon prior installations. A gently-sloped pyramidal mound carpeted in turf rises from the surrounding courtyard. A knife-edged white square floats above the hill, appearing as a horizontal plane without vertical dimension, into which a square aperture has been cut. From the top edge of the pyramid, LED lights wash the underside of the ceiling plane in color. To receive the full experience of the light compositions, visitors enter the structure from the two opposite sides, either decending down a ramp into an interior void or ascending staircases to sit in a ring around the outside rim of the pyramid. "If you take a photo of the sky in this skyspace, the color you see in the opening is not actually going to show up in your camera because in fact it is not there," Turrell said in a statement. "This is a gentle reminder that because we give the sky its color and then change the color of the sky, we create the reality in which we live." Besides the surreal light shows, Twilight Epiphany has been designed as an acoustics-conscious performance space. Twelve speakers are embedded in the pyramid's interior walls, offering musicians a chance to compose for the unique space, fitting since the pavilion is located alongside the Shepherd School of Music.