The use of installations within architecture seem to be on an uptick as of late. The design blogs we all know and love seem to have a continuous stream of commissions, competitions and student projects touting their viability as the latest hope for architectural experimentation in our current economic climate. Practices that began as architectural practices are transitioning into the art world and academic curriculum are adjusting to accommodate via new elective and studio formats.
In no way is this a new medium for the field - I just payed little attention to them during my undergraduate studies. And although images of Brian MacKay-Lyon's Ghost 6, Zumthor's Swiss Pavilion and SHoP's Dunescape all hung on the sacred wall-space adjacent to my studio desk I didn't grasp the potential of the format. Perhaps it was because the school I attended didn't have a history of such project or the professors I worked wither were inexperienced in the matter or (most likely) I was just incapable of appreciating the subtleties of such endeavors. Whatever the cause, I can say with confidence that I didn't get it and wasn't trying to get it either.
Then in summer of 2008 I participated in Ghost Lab 10 with MacKay-Lyons because I wanted to build something. And while I was there something clicked - for the first time I felt that I had an immediate means for my voice to be heard. It was liberating, and soon after I began working with Rob Trumbour and his newly formed collaboration Artforming. Since then I've done a handful of medium to large-ish installations and consider myself an active advocate of the platform.
So with that long introduction out of the way I'd like to invite you all to the Whither symposium taking place here at the University of Michigan this weekend. Since this is a rather last-minute invitation (I'm a horrible at such things) I'll be doing some coverage via this blog. Wednesday (tomorrow/today, depending on how you experience a clock) I'll be discussing the event and installations as a whole with John McMorrough, the chair of Michigan's architecture program. Friday I'll do my best to live-blog the faculty Research Through Making presentations and photograph the gallery opening of the associated projects. Then Saturday I'll be live-blogging the symposium itself.
Having never ventured into the live documentation its going to be a bit of an experiment from my side of things. Also, Michigan is quite fantastic when it comes to putting our lectures online so I'm sure they'll be filming the discussions and making them available soon after. In the rare instance that you, my blog reader, do come to any of the physical event, please say 'hi' to me. I may be a bit frantic with everything going on, but I always enjoy meeting my fellow 'Nectors and will gladly show you around as much as I can.
current listening: Saves the Day - Through Being Cool (because sometimes its nice to reminisce about 2000)
An in-the-trenches view of digital fabrication, academic research, post-hardcore music and whiskey. Not necessarily in that order and often in combination.