The largest public art campaign in U.S. history features 52 artist-designed billboards and will commence in September in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, thanks to more than 2000 backers across 52 Kickstarter campaigns. The publicly-funded campaign is part of the 50 State Initiative, organized by For Freedoms, a project sponsored by non-profit arts service organization Artadia. The 50 State Initiative also amasses more than 200 institutional partners and 250 artists to produce “additional billboards, lawn signs, town hall meetings, and special exhibitions to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation around November’s midterm elections,” according to a statement from the organizers. Kickstarter Director of Arts Paton Hindle explained that he was pleased to help the For Freedoms team with their first step. “At their core, both For Freedoms and Kickstarter seek to make art an integral part of society. Having all 52 projects succeed on Kickstarter is an affirmation that the greater global community believes in the power of art to spark dialogue and participation.” The billboards will tackle nationwide topics such as democracy, religion, sexual orientation, expression, and systemic oppression. Through the launching of the 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms hopes to create “a network of artists and institutional partners," as well as to “model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.”
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After sifting through over 100 design proposals, the team of juries for the seventh annual City of Dreams Pavilion competition has selected Cast & Place by Team Aesop as the design for this year’s Governors Island Pavilion. The competition, sponsored by art non-profit FIGMENT, AIANY Emerging New York Architects (ENYA), and Structural Engineers Association of New York, asks designers to focus on the environmental and economic impacts of their designs and promote sustainable thinking. Cast & Place experiments with materiality and fabrication, testing to see if architecture could be constructed entirely from recycled materials. The team’s material pallet consists of 300,000 aluminum cans (the number of cans used in New York City in one hour, according to their Kickstarter), five tons of pure clay sourced from glacial deposits in Queens, and recycled wood. The pavilion will consist of two shade structures built from aluminum panels cast in cracked clay and will be surrounded by reflecting pools made from the clay formworks. The pools will be soaked by summer rain and then left to dry and crack in the heat, giving the audience a glimpse of the fabrication method for the panels. The process to create the panels is fairly simple: create molds from the reclaimed wood, fill them with clay, let the clay dry out and crack, and then fill the cracks with molten aluminum from melted-down cans. The canyons of clay become rivers of aluminum that connect to form one cohesive lightweight panel. The panels can then be joined and erected. When the pavilion is no longer in use, the panels can then be turned into benches furniture for the project’s supporters. So far the team has been able to cast small prototypes of the panels and has been working on methods of drying the clay to create enough cracks for a fully-formed panel. They have also been experimenting with their furnace to find the best method of melting down cans and casting the aluminum. As they continue to work toward a full-scale prototype, the project is waiting for approval from the city and for funding (via donations and sponsorships). According to their Kickstarter page, the project will require $30,000 to be feasible and the deadline for fundraising is March 27, 2017. If you are interested in learning more about the pavilion or wish to contribute to the pavilion’s construction, visit the project’s Kickstarter page here.
London skyline as battleground: Designers render 3D-printed chess pieces in the shape of iconic architecture
City skylines can seem at times like battlegrounds, with architects vying for superlatives of tallest, grandest, and bizarrest. Skyline Chess, founded by London-based designers Chris Prosser and Ian Flood, reimagines chess pieces as miniature models of the city’s landmark buildings. The ubiquitous terraced house, oft seen in indistinguishable cookie-cutter rows, is recast as the humble pawn, while the iconic Big Ben plays the rook, the London Eye Ferris wheel stands in for the Knight, and the Bishop is supplanted with The Gherkin. Meanwhile, Renzo Piano’s 87-story Shard in Southwark, London, presides as Queen, while the reigning honor of King-dom is bestowed upon the 4.5 inch-tall Canary Wharf, one of the UK’s two main financial centers. “In developing the idea we thought long and hard about suitable alternatives for the chessmen, both in terms of their architecture and symbolic value as well as their value on the chessboard,” the designers wrote on their website. “We believe that as individual objects they are beautiful and when arranged across the board represent something unique.” Lovers of architecture, Prosser and Flood developed their idea over a series of chess matches, modeled the pieces in 3D, and then 3D-printed them in injection-molded acrylic. Each piece is double-weighted and has a felt base. In 2013, the designers launched a campaign on popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter, but won just over $14,000 in pledges of the approximately $39,000 requested to fund their startup. While crowdfunding fell through, seeing as the site operates on an all-or-nothing funding model, Prosser and Flood secured investment elsewhere. In addition to trotting out its first architecture-influenced edition, Skyline Chess creates bespoke chess sets for lovers of the strategic board game, and has its eye on developing sets based on the architectural icons of Rome, New York, Dubai, and Shanghai.