"Still far from an autonomous design bot, relinquished of the architect's control, the project showcases the potential of algorithmic design. Hannah’s work recognizes the importance of these methods, but highlights that we are at a juncture where we need a robust analytical response to ensure we design and build our future for everyone."Digital Turn On view through September 14 The Built Environment Trust's RCA Student Prize for Innovation On view through August 29 The Building Centre Store Street London, U.K.
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To the late Zaha Hadid, “math was like sketching.” Since her death, this attitude to architecture and design has been continued by her firm, ZHA, chiefly through ZHCODE, a computation and design research offshoot set up in 2007, the work of which is currently on display at The Building Centre in London. Borrowing theorist Mario Carpo’s terminology, the exhibition at The Building Centre is titled Digital Turn and showcases ZHCODE’s methods and ideas while exploring how digital tools have changed our ways of making and thinking. This is the second of two in a series of exhibitions. Earlier in the year, Digital Turn had showcased the academic work of The Bartlett’s Design Computation Lab. Digital Turn is divided into two parts: tectonism and semiotics. The former looks at the structure and geometry of digital fabrication, while the latter examines the physical results of this and its relationship to various contexts. This setup essentially translates into parametric design versus algorithm and data-driven urbanism. Visitors to the gallery are welcomed by full-scale white EPS foam offcuts, called "foam grottos." The undulating formwork, made from robotic hot wire cutting, is indicative of ZHA’s sinuous style and serves as a threshold to the exhibition space while being a cue for what is to come. "ZHCODE have been a perfect fit for the show; they are a research team within a professional practice so the narrative worked well, offering a mix of live projects and theoretical ideas," a spokesperson for The Building Center told The Architect's Newspaper. "Inspiring exhibits such as Thallus and the Mathematics Gallery at the Science Museum initially caught our attention, and in conversation with ZHCODE we realized we could display a range of ideas not yet exhibited." Part of the exhibition is dedicated to the recently completed Winton Gallery at London’s Science Museum. Building on the work of Frei Otto, ZHA’s studies into the “minimal surfaces” of 3-D objects informed the design, with a triangle-based pyramid being “reduced” (read: imploded) to a curvaceous hanging module which served as a circulation device, as shown in image at the top of the page. Wile nonetheless interesting and insightful, some physical design aspects of Digital Turn feel as if they belong in the past, in a similar vein to the most recent ZHA projects which still feel like a vision of the future from the 1990s. Robotic hot wire cutting has been around for more than two decades and though it has advanced, it’s hardly a groundbreaking fabrication method. One wonders if the visionary British-Iraqi architect were still alive, how the studio would have moved on. In response to this, The Building Center said that "parametricism isn’t the focus of the show…We also wanted to understand what was next from the practice that coined this term." Showcasing the Winton Gallery, however, also reveals how parametric design does more than just produce fancy curves. It also serves as an organizational tool. The aforementioned floating module was used in tandem with a circulation strategy derived from the airflow around a biplane. Naturally, this airflow diagram produced countless curves, but it also allowed ZHCODE to produce massing studies for objects in the gallery that align with it. This kind of design process has also been scaled by ZHA in urban studies that derive from an algorithmic input. In one example, a computer program located potential infill sites in London, identifying “end of block” plots of land, or sites that can be found at the edges of tower blocks. As a result, it proposed that housing be built on these underutilized areas. Another notable example is an exploration into modular housing. By using a uniform lattice structure, residents can customize their dual-aspect unit’s facades, adding balconies or changing the window type in the process. It’s basically Alejandro Aravena’s half houses scheme but for the wealthy. And it’s that latter notion which, when coupled with derisory remarks from the current head of ZHA, Patrik Schumacher, on social housing and desire to privatize cities, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Furthermore, the often overtly abstract nature of parametric architecture, an architecture reserved for museums, corporate headquarters, luxury hotels, and extravagant condominiums, doesn't counter this sense of elitism either. A welcome palate cleanser can be found in another exhibition at The Building Center from Royal College graduate Hannah Rozenberg, who won this year's Student Prize for Innovation. Her book, Building Without Bias: An Architectural Language for the Post-Binary illustrates how artificial intelligence isn’t always right and is even sometimes racist, as demonstrated by Microsoft’s "Tay" bot which ended up making racist, misogynistic, and genocidal remarks on Twitter. If a Twitter bot can do that, who’s to say an urban planning bot wouldn’t start redlining? Does Digital Turn subsequently highlight that, while parametric design may be an incredibly useful design tool for both making and thinking, its urbanistic potential is something to be wary of? The Building Center responded to this. "ZHCODE’s algorithmic design work on display in Digital Turn showcases the most advanced algorithmic design taking place today," it said. "For example, the computational study series exploring housing liveability measures shows how advanced algorithmic methods of design generate a formal outcome that guarantees multiple desired conditions are synthesized in a single solution to a particular site. The digital design method therefore provides the designer/architect with sophisticated options to site-specific problems.
Northern Irish architect Alan Jones will be the next president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Jones, who is currently RIBA vice-president of education and a senior lecturer at Queen's University Belfast where he runs his own practice, Alan Jones Architects, will take over from incumbent president Ben Derbyshire on September 1, 2019. Winning 52 percent of the vote (2,704 votes), Jones, in running for the title a second time, saw off Elsie Owusu and Philip Allsopp to become the 77th president of RIBA. In his campaign, Jones said he would "put architects first" and would look into holding a referendum on the institution's future. This year's elections were notable for their controversy, particularly surrounding that of candidate Elsie Owusu. The founding member and the first chair of the Society of Black Architects was sent a "cease and desist" letter from RIBA, asking her to stop making "damaging public statements." The letter came after Owusu questioned the $230,000 salary of RIBA chief executive Alan Vallence at a presidential hustings. Jones, who was present, defended the salary saying that it had been compared to the earnings of CEOs at other charities by the RIBA Board (RIBA is a registered charity in the U.K.). Furthermore, in the build-up to the election, Owusu continued to criticize RIBA, accusing the institution of letting $1.4 million go missing in the project to refurbish its London headquarters at 76 Portland Place. All this as well came after a "death threat" email sent to Owusu in 2016 was leaked to the press in April. The email is believed to be a response to Owusu who said her failed attempt to become vice-president in 2015 was “tantamount to institutionalized racism.” Since coming second in this year's election, Owusu has reiterated her claims on RIBA's finances, calling on Jones to look into the situation. RIBA has denied any wrongdoing, citing that a Charity Commission investigation found no accountancy foul play. Owusu heads-up her own firm, Elsie Owusu Architects and despite losing out on the presidency, was voted into being a RIBA Council Member this year. Philip Allsop is senior sustainability scientist with the Julie-Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, and is President of RIBA-USA. Alan Jones's statement:
I appreciate respect is not given lightly and must be earned. I am hugely grateful for the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Ben Derbyshire and past presidents, people who I have huge respect for. I wish to build on their successes. The RIBA is a fantastic organisation with great resources, particularly its staff who I am keen to support more than ever. As individuals and as an institution, we need to come together to make the most of our assets, and make the case for our profession. We need to gather evidence and realise a more significant role and position in business and society. We must focus more on the pertinent issues that will increase the quality of service we provide and the added value we can bring. We must reduce our overheads and the loss of colleagues and expertise as they leave our profession because of the economics of our situation. Talent is universal and opportunity into and upward through our profession must be too.Jones will serve as RIBA President until September 2021.
The United States is returning to the London Design Biennale, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will once again represent the U.S. in 2018. In Face Values, the Cooper Hewitt will bring an interactive installation about facial recognition technology to London and will confront participants with the knowledge that their faces have become commodified data. The London Design Biennale 2018 will run from September 4 through 23 at Somerset House in central London. This is the design festival’s second year, and exhibitors from all over the world have been invited to explore this year’s theme of “Emotional States." Thirty-six countries contributed to the 2016 Biennale with pieces that scrutinized or subverted the idea of “Utopia by Design.” In 2016 the Cooper Hewitt projected 100 digitized wallpapers from the museum’s archives in The Immersion Room, converting what was once a physical skin into easily changeable digital versions. For Face Values, curator Ellen Lupton has taken a similar approach to a different topic: the conversion of a physical signifier into easily transmissible code. Face Values will feature original work from designers Zachary Lieberman and R. Luke DuBois inside a pavilion designed by Matter Architecture Practice. Visitors will be able to use their faces to control the installations and learn how corporations and governments are able to track, catalog, and monetize facial data and emotions. Both installations will create collages of visitors’ faces and mash up their facial features. Lieberman’s work will mix the features of visitors together to create new faces, while DuBois’s piece will walk participants through a range of emotions and create a portrait that averages all of the features together. A monitor will also display how each emotion is cataloged in the face tracking system. Matter Architecture Practice has designed a backdrop of intentionally synthetic-looking reeds for the installation that’s supposed to blur the lines between the natural world and the digital. “In representing the United States at the London Design Biennale, Cooper Hewitt will be furthering the Smithsonian’s goal of catalyzing new conversations around issues of global importance,” writes Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “While underscoring design’s purpose to address complex challenges and advance empowering solutions. Illuminating the potential of facial recognition technology to quantify, read and control our moods and movements, Face Values encourages participants to consider the vast capabilities and unforeseen consequences of this rapidly evolving field of digital design.” After the Biennale's opening on September 4, Face Values was awarded the London Design Biennale 2018 Emotional States Medal for "most inspiring interpretation of the 2018 theme." The jury panel was composed of 14 well-known designers, architects, educators, and artists from around the world.
A great golden gourd has materialized on Regents Canal in northeast London. For the next eight days, the inflatable creation will touch down at five different venues along the canal from Hackney Wick to Kings Cross, where it will invite local artists into its soft, playful belly to host live concerts, improvised comedy, and spoken word poetry, among other events. “AirDraft” by architects Thomas Randall-Page and Benedetta Rogers is the winning submission for this year’s Antepavilion: an annual competition co-organized by the Architecture Foundation and Shiva Ltd. to produce a public installation on the Hoxton Docks. Established just last year, the initiative has already made a splash as an experimental counter-weight to the more commercially-minded Serpentine Pavilion. By providing an opportunity for younger artists, architects, and designers to create a temporary structure on a modest budget of $32,000 (£25,000), the Antepavilion is a playful foray into new means of living and working together, with a critical edge. Last year’s winning entry by PUP architects—a rooftop hut disguised as an industrial air duct to subvert planning permission—set a bold precedent for AirDraft, which has nonetheless emerged as a true successor in the Antepavilion’s evolving ambition. For Antepavilion 2018, Randall-Page and Rogers have flown the coop of the Hoxton Docks. Their bulbous creation embraces the sinuous, unregulated vibrancy of the canal as an inflatable performance venue. Working in collaboration with Cameron Balloons, the Bristol-based purveyor of balloons, blimps, and other oxygenized joys, alongside London-based structural engineer AKT II, the pneumatic vessel emits a permanent golden aura that is highly conducive to flattering selfies. “More butternut squash than phallus,” according to Randall-Page, AirDraft takes after the work of artist Jeffrey Shaw and the inflatable architecture aficionados of 1970s, Ant Farm. Seemingly torn out from the pages of Ant Farm’s DIY pneumatic manual, Inflatocookbook, AirDraft emerged from its intense 10-week gestation period with remarkably clear vision, complemented by an impressive attention to detail. The entire structure can be deflated in 12 minutes (re-inflation takes half as long), which makes crossing under the canal’s many bridges a breeze. Meanwhile, ventilation and centrifugal fans keep the butternut buoyant without stealing the spotlight from the performers: “The fans can be turned down during events,” explained Rogers. The sunny squash is a striking visual contrast to its local industrial surrounds, but its warm inflatable enclave also serves a deeper purpose as a temporary events space for London’s vibrant yet precarious canal culture. A short stroll or sail along Regents reveals a plethora of waterborne businesses and houseboats, as well as the countless galleries, studios, and grassroots venues clustering around its banks. But as rent continues to climb, licensing laws tighten, and some fear the London houseboat dream is at risk of drying up, the AirDraft intends to “flag the importance of cultural institutions in danger,” according to Randall-Page. As part of their winning proposal, Randall-Page and Rogers organized an onboard event program that draws upon local (sub)cultural institutions, from theatre venues to nightclubs. Their eclectic list of collaborators includes Total Refreshment Centre, a staple of London’s emergent underground jazz scene that was forced into closure earlier this summer by Hackney Council. “If being able to pop-up and disappear is a way around these regulations, that’s great,” consents Randall-Page. “But we shouldn’t really have to seek out these loopholes in the first place.” With a “boat for a mother and an airship for a father,” according to it design duo, AirDraft is an ebullient, if existentially troubled, intervention into Hackney’s canal culture. The 2018 Antepavilion reflects through its hybrid, flexible, intimate and informal structure all that is precious, unique, and worth saving about north-east London’s canal culture. While not for those prone to seasickness, what it lacks in vertebrae it more than makes up for in vibrancy.
London is home to some of the most expensive properties in the world, making access to affordable housing almost impossible to all but the very rich. According to a report by UBS Wealth Management, London homes are the second most over-priced in the world, and closely behind Vancouver in its “bubble risk rating”. London house prices increased by 25% from 2014-2016, mainly due to foreign investment and low interest rates, making it the second-least affordable housing bubble in the world after Hong Kong. For the London Affordable Housing Challenge, participants are asked to design a pilot-phase concept for affordable housing within Britain’s capital city. In order to be successful, designs need to be easily rolled out to increase the capacity of housing stock, while at the same time with minimal use of land and resources. Successful designs will be flexible enough to be adapted to any location across the city, and accommodate different inhabitant capacity requirements. No minimum size or amount of residential units per block is defined. As there is no one specified location for this challenge, participants are free to create designs in a London location of their choice, as long as it fits in with the brief of supplying affordable housing to residents. This architecture competition requires for both prudent planning and out of the box thinking. Winning participants will need to apply unique strategies as well as creative designs to tackle the housing crisis, while at the same time remaining in keeping with the city’s situation and heritage. COMPETITION PROGRAMME: Design a pilot-phase concept for affordable housing within London, which can be easily rolled out to increase capacity of housing stock, and is minimal in its use of land and materials. No minimum size or amount of residential units per block is defined. The proposals should be flexible enough to adopt to different sizes for various inhabitant capacity requirements. Designs for the London Affordable Housing Challenge should be able to adapt to various locations across the city. The designs should also be adaptable, allowing adjustments to be made in order to suit different residential capacity requirements. PRIZES: 3 winning proposals 2 special awards and 6 honourable mentions will be selected. Bee Breeders will award a total of US $6,000 in prize money to competition winners as follows: 1st Prize - US $3,000 2nd Prize - US $1,500 3rd Prize - US $500 + 6 honourable mentions BB Student Award - US $500 BB Green Award - US $500 COMPETITION SCHEDULE: Early Bird Registration: APRIL 30 - JUNE 5 Advance Registration: JUNE 6 - JULY 17 Last Minute Registration: JULY 18 - OCTOBER 9 Closing date for registration: OCTOBER 9, 2018 Closing date for submission: NOVEMBER 5, 2018 (11:59pm GMT) Announcement of the winners: NOVEMBER 28, 2018 More information - LONDONHOUSING.beebreeders.com
Prototypes and Experiments, the latest exhibition in a series of shows in its tenth year at the Aram Gallery of London, showcases physical models by internationally-renowned names like Mary Duggan Architects and Adjaye Associates, alongside emerging practices like HASA Architects and vPPR Architects. The show will display models of a range of types, from finely detailed presentation pieces to study models and abstracted constructions that evoke the feeling of a space. The exhibition looks critically into the model’s role in the creative process. The gallery asked each exhibitor to present the design process of one particular project and write a commentary explaining the intentions of each exercise and its relation to the final product. London-based design and architecture studio PUP is one of the exhibitors, displaying models from their H-VAC project, which won the inaugural Antepavilion competition in 2017. H-VAC features a snaking linear form that serves as both rooftop ducting and air handling plant. On view at Prototypes and Experiments is a stick model that explores the structure of the sculptural form, as well as a facade study model that illustrates the reversible Tetra-Pak shingles clad on the exterior. Interdisciplinary practice HASA Architects will also participate with their Lone Lane project, which is what they're calling a "contemporary replacement building” for a demolished warehouse. The attention to brickwork is shown in the facade model on view. In a massing model the brickwork is abstracted but the openings and apertures are well detailed. In a stair model the cast stairs are painted in gold to highlight the circulation. The Aram Gallery is an independent gallery directed by Zeev Aram focused on contemporary design. The exhibition is curated by Riya Patel. Architecture Prototypes & Experiments 2 August - 1 September 2018 The Aram Gallery 110 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2B 5SG +44 (0207 557 7526)
London Gallery Betts Project is showcasing photographs from Denise Scott Brown, marking the architect, planner, and theorist's first solo exhibition in the U.K. Titled Denise Scott Brown: Wayward Eye, the exhibition features photos taken between 1956 and 1966 that illustrate Scott Brown's explorations into urbanism, Pop Art, and the emerging architectural language of roadside America, ideas which would later be collected in Learning from Las Vegas published in 1972. "Such a study will help to define a new type of urban form emerging in American and Europe, radically different from that we have known; one that we have been ill-equipped to deal with and that, from ignorance, we define today as urban sprawl," Scott Brown wrote in 1977 in the abridged Learning from Las Vegas. "I’m not a photographer. I shoot for architecture—if there’s art here it’s a byproduct," Scott Brown told curators Marie Coulon and Andrés F Ramirez at Betts Project this year. "Yet the images stand alone. Judge what you see." The photos provide insight into how Scott Brown, Venturi Izenour, and their students dissected commercial strips. Never before had such mundane elements been looked at through an architectural lens: a nondescript shot of a Dodge Charger driving down an L.A. freeway is deliciously titled Industrial Romanticism, while another features an equally unremarkable image from a water taxi in Venice. "For Robert Venturi and me, these sequences from Venice to Venice, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas provided inspiration and they still do. And via them, architectural photography initiated a move beyond beauty shots and data. Over the last 60 years, by adding analysis, synthesis, recommendation, and design, it has gone from tool to subdiscipline in architecture. "In 1965, after ten years of urbanism, my foci were automobile cities of the American Southwest, social change, multiculturalism, action, everyday architecture, 'messy vitality,' iconography, and Pop Art. "Waywardness lay in more than my eye," Scott Brown continued. "Do I hate it or love it? ‘Don’t ask,’ said my inner voice. ‘Just shoot.’" Scott Brown's work doesn't come around to London often. She came to the city in 1952 (when her surname was Lakofski) to work for the modern architect Frederick Gibberd before studying at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. She returned with her husband Venturi to work on the Sainsbury Wing of London's National Gallery in 1991 after the infamous Carbuncle incident. Denise Scott Brown: Wayward Eye runs through July 28 and comes with a catalog, published by PLANE—SITE, featuring texts by Scott Brown and Andrés F Ramirez.
Color Palace by British designers Pricegore and Yinka Ilori wins the Dulwich Pavilion 2019 competition
Emerging British architecture office Pricegore and British artist Yinka Ilori were announced as winners of the annual Dulwich Pavilion for their design named Color Palace. The eye-catching and colorful pavilion will come to life next summer. The pavilion will feature a Nigerian-inspired artwork by Ilori, who is influenced by the African aesthetics of his childhood. The 2019 Pavilion will house “new ticketing facilities, a pop-up catering offer and a range of events over the summer,” according to a statement from Dulwich Picture Gallery. The project is co-hosted by the London Festival of Architecture, which is an annual event that celebrates London as a global design hub. The pavilion was chosen by a jury, along with a “combined public vote,” which garnered more than 2,000 votes from visitors on-site. Pricegore and Ilori's design won over other entries from young practices including Casswell Bank Architects, e10 Studio, Flea Folly Architects, Projects Office, and PUP Architects, which won the most public votes. The pavilion's screen is composed of slats painted with circular and triangular patterns in contrasting colors supported by massive, bright red columns on the corners. The space beneath is meant for informal gathering. Dulwich Pavilion is an annual competition that will be "at the heart of the gallery's bicentenary celebrations." Last year, the inaugural pavilion was won by IF_DO, a 2014-founded British practice.
A new exhibition devoted to postmodern British architecture is designed to spark a revival of interest in the movement. The exhibition titled The Return of the Past: Postmodernism in British Architecture is now showing at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London through August 26. The exhibition will display a selection of important works by some of the country’s most prominent architects such as Terry Farrell, CZWG, Sir Jeremy and Fenella Dixon, John Outram, and James Stirling. Their works emerged as part of the postmodern movement, which was a reaction against the confining modernist style used in designing many British towns and cities at the time. Postmodernist architecture generally emphasized the reconnection of architecture to the past through “ornament, materials, form or typology,” according to a statement from the Soane Museum. The SIS building designed by Terry Farrell houses the headquarters of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency Secret Intelligence Service MI6. Located on the bank of the River Thames in central London, the cascading building looks like a fortress, finished with a cream-colored facade and green-tinted windows. Another highlight is a project for 200 Queen Victoria Street for Rosehaugh-Stanhope Developers by John Outram. Although unbuilt, its signature image, featuring oversized Greco-Roman columns, chinoiserie posts, mosaic patterns, turbine flourishes, and fantastical additions make it a shining example of the movement's style. CZWG’s work is also celebrated in the exhibition. Cascades is a twenty-story apartment building located on the Isle of Dogs in London. Its design offered an alternative appearance to the high rise typology. According to CWZG, the “Pharaonic references” signify the high-reaching ambition of the construction, making it a postmodernist centerpiece. China Wharf is also a significant piece by the same firm. The building combines functionalism and aesthetics. The scalloped wall “is used to twist windows, both towards the rising sun and away from the neighbors directly across the courtyard,” according to the designers. As part of a regeneration scheme for the London Docklands, the building includes a pastiche of stylistic references such as naval and pagoda motifs. “Postmodern architecture in Britain is frequently written-off as an expression of 1980s Thatcherism and still little understood. We conceived this exhibition to set the record straight and reveal this period as one of such amazing creativity and innovation that can hold its own with any moment in British architecture history,” said Owen Hopkins, Senior Curator at Soane. “Full of color, ingenuity, and exuberance, the exhibition will also show the serious intellectual basis that underlay a movement whose legacy still shapes how we create and understand architecture today.” The organizers of the exhibition hope to renew attention to postmodern buildings in the U.K. Later this year, Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, will launch a project to assess postmodern buildings for listing.
Thomas Heatherwick’s studio has released renderings of their plan to overhaul Olympia, an events center in west London. The design would transform the Victorian exhibition hall into a high-profile mixed-use space. Heatherwick Studio, along with London-based architecture firm SPPARC, will transform the 130-year-old exhibition hall into a mixed-use district that will hold a hotel, theatre, museums, co-working spaces, restaurants, and entertainment spaces. The $920 million project will completely overhaul the space to make way for almost 600,000-square-feet of office and studio space, and 70,000-square-feet of co-working space. Another 2.5 acres will be dedicated towards public areas. The renderings also reveal plans to pedestrianize Olympia Way and add new public and community spaces while preserving the historic facade, as well as a new, modern building for a theater and performing arts space. The redevelopment of Olympia is set to position it as a global destination for creative industries, as well as having a significant impact on its surrounding area, like the regenerations of Covent Garden and King’s Cross. The owners of Olympia, Deutsche Finance and Yoo Capital, first announced that they were planning to develop the site in 2017. Olympia was completed in 1886 and designed by architect Henry Edward Coe. It’s key features, a massive domed window and an arched roof supported by ironwork, will not be affected by the redevelopment. The 15-acre site hosts exhibitions and events annually, such as 100% Design, part of the London Design Festival, and welcomes 1.6 million visitors every year. “As caretakers of Olympia London, we are investing to protect this iconic site and promote it on the global stage as a world-leading destination for the creative industries," John Hitchcox, chairman of Yoo Capital, said. The current designs were developed with feedback from event organizers, exhibitors, and visitors. There will be a period of public consultation before a planning application is submitted in September of this year. Meanwhile, Heatherwick Studio is working on Google’s headquarters in King’s Cross with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).
The Frida Escobedo-designed 2018 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London, may have already opened earlier this month, but the excitement is far from over. The Serpentine Gallery has launched Park Nights 2018, a nighttime series of imaginative and interdisciplinary events that feature eight international artists interacting with the pavilion. The performances will run between July and September, and the pavilion is open through October 7. The series kicks off with Victoria Sin, an interdisciplinary artist who uses “speculative fiction” in her performances that incorporate movies and writing. Her Serpentine project will feature poetry, drag, science fiction, and a Shy One-produced soundtrack. Her performance will take participants through a discovery of “the often unsettling experience of the physical within the social body.” Kamasi Washington will perform next. Washington is a music producer and composer who works with saxophone and other instruments. Together with his band, he will improvise a music experience that engages the crowd and the environment. Unisex fashion line TELFAR is the next presenter. The Telfar Clemens-founded, gender-non-conforming clothing line will develop experiments that blend style and music. They will collaborate with South African band FAKA and a choir on vocal music to accompany the display of their latest S/S19 collection. Yaeji, a Korean-American artist who works with hip-hop and avant-garde pop, follows with her dance and electronic-music-inspired sound performance. During her show, the audience will be blindfolded and submerged in an echoing environment of experimental music. Enigmatic storyteller Megan Rooney will occupy the pavilion with “movement, words and sound.” The performance titled SUN DOWN MOON UP presents female magpies “invading” Mount Athos, bringing up topics of human invention in nature. Sculptor Pedro Reyes’s “science-fiction-comedy” puppet play will conclude the series. The show will interpret real-life characters such as American linguist Noam Chomsky, Russian-American writer Ayn Rand, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The drama will touch on the hidden dangers of technological advancements. Check out this link for tickets.
Artist Christo, famous for his large-scale landscape interventions, has completed work on The London Mastaba, a massive trapezoid made of multi-colored barrels and set afloat in London’s Serpentine Lake. The installation sits adjacent to the Serpentine Gallery and will run concurrently with the gallery’s retrospective of Christo and late wife Jeanne-Claude work. The London Mastaba is Christo’s first large-scale installation in the UK, and the trapezoidal form and the use of barrels is a return to both a shape and a material that Christo and Jeanne-Claude have consistently explored throughout their long career. The temporary sculpture, floating in the middle of the historic Hyde Park on top of an interlocking platform, was designed to be extremely visible without damaging the ecologically sensitive lake. The 7,506 barrels, arranged to create a colorful face on either side of the trapezoid, are stacked 65 feet high, 130 feet long, and 90 feet wide. When reflected in the surrounding lake, The London Mastaba’s split-face creates an ever-changing reflection. Much like the Serpentine Pavilion nearby, the sun’s movement over the course of the summer and resultant shadows will alter the work’s appearance every day. In name, form, and color, The London Mastaba references Islamic art. The red-and-white stripes on the round side of the barrels creates a visually homogenous “outer coating,” while the mauve, blue, and red outer walls are abstractions of the pointillist-styled artworks found in Islamic architecture. Even the word Mastaba references similarly-shaped Egyptian tombs. “For three months, The London Mastaba will be a part of Hyde Park's environment in the centre of London," said Christo in a statement. “The colours will transform with the changes in the light and its reflection on the Serpentine Lake will be like an abstract painting. It has been a pleasure to work with The Royal Parks to realize The London Mastaba and with our friends at the Serpentine Galleries to create an exhibition showing Jeanne-Claude’s and my 60-year history of using barrels in our work.” The London Mastaba and accompanying show Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018 are free to the public. As with his other pieces, Christo has entirely self-financed the sculpture’s construction through sales of original works of art. The London Mastaba is currently open to the public and viewable through September 23, 2018, while the exhibition will run from June 19 through September 9, 2018. Christo is also well known for his fabric installations; the Lake Iseo-spanning The Modular Pier in Italy drew major crowds to the region in 2015, while the series of gates installed throughout Central Park in 2005 were met with widespread media attention (for better or for worse).