|Expanded Field: Didactic Objects and Immersive Events||September 1, 2016|
Expanded Field, the book and the installation from which it evolved, is as much an expression of our mutual love for installation work as it is an exploration of the overlapping territories and transdisciplinarities of contemporary practice. Our collaboration on this project commenced in early 2011 from the opportunity presented by Jens Hoffman, Director of the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, to do an installation on the conjunction of contemporary art and architecture, as the third installment of The Way Beyond Art series. Within our own practices, installation was both a means to experiment with architectural ideas within a controllable laboratory, and simultaneously a strategy to foreground the conceptual and experiential dimensions of architectural and urban environments. Our passion for installation work, as both an inspiration for architectural investigation and a form of creative expression is what ultimately provided the fuel to drive this project.
From the perspective of art, installation has often been distinguished by its capacity to engulf the viewer—to displace the idea of individual works presented for the disembodied eye with those that privilege a synthetic immersive experience dependent not only on the embodiment of the spectator whose active participation is critical to the work, but also on the totalizing environment within which this spectator is placed. On the one hand, the emphasis on constructed and situated environments, their unitary nature, and the capacity of such objects, spaces and environments to surround and envelope the viewer, necessarily moved the realm of installation art, whether intentional or not, into alignment with some of the primary conditions of the architectural. On the other hand, from within the realm of architecture, installation work moved in precisely the opposite direction, towards the domain of sculpture temporarily situated within interior spaces or on exterior sites, allowing these trajectories of art and architecture to meet. Through its fragmentation and theatricalization, installation denaturalized architecture, freeing it from the normative scale of building and the permanence of its site to enable it to become a self-reflexive aesthetic object, whose experimental tectonics often move beyond standard modes of construction and whose experience and programming is unhindered by the typical constraints of utility.
Despite the wide diversity of installation practices, the specific works exhibited in this book operate as a representative set intended to emblematize a larger conceptual matrix—the taxonomical categories of the expanded field—while generating a dialog between art and architectural practices that focuses on the complexity and productivity of their relations rather than the re-inscription of their disciplinary boundaries. Far from providing a comprehensive overview, these works operate as points within a field whose connections and crossovers define a larger territorial matrix intended to become more dense and expansive as this field is populated over time.
The making of this book, designed by Patricia McShane and Erik Adigard of M-A-D, presented its own challenges as an incarnation already twice removed from the initial condition of embodiment considered to be intrinsic to the subject of installation work. Akin to that of the Wattis exhibition, our desire for the book was that, beyond its existence as a didactic object, it too would become a folded and layered labyrinth, an interconnected network, within which the reader/spectator might become wholly immersed. Fully understanding the limits of such an endeavor, however, our goal is ultimately to point you toward these works, to expand their reach, and if possible, to motivate you to experience them for yourself.
Ila Berman + Douglas Burnham
|2214: Curating the Unexpected||June 10, 2016|
In 2016, Envelope A+D introduced 2214, a new curatorial experiment by envelope A+D. For its first season, 2214 has investigated Pattern, Predictability, and Repetition through the works of pioneering artists in two cumulative editions:
[ed. 1] Sigrid Calon, Rael San Fratello, and Andy Vogt
[ed. 2] Chris Duncan, Geneviève L’Heureux, Justin Hunter and Mikolaj Szatko
2214 is a curatorial experiment exploring the possibilities that arise when practitioners from divergent areas of interest come together to consider a set of common questions.
2214 is an emergent network of friends and collaborators who are pushing one another into uncharted territories where more is asked, more is given, and something is gained.
2214 is a space where the products of creative alignments are shared with the public, where interesting work is celebrated without precondition, and where odd adjacencies bring audiences into contact with the unexpected.
2214 was instigated by envelope A+D to open our space to new ideas, and provide a platform for radical works of art, design and thought.
|Kindred: Furniture for Flexible Urbanism||May 1, 2016|
Within a more fluid concept of space, furniture wants to be mobile, to be able to morph. Composed of three modules, Kindred is a re-configurable, re-deployable planter-seating system designed to add visual and functional dimension to PROXY’s multi-purpose open space. Its streamlined powder-coated steel parts, available in two colors, quickly assemble and reassemble to create nodes of seating and greenery.
As a pragmatic, scaleable space-building system, the interaction between objects—as well as people and plants—is more important than the objects themselves. Kindred’s components aggregate in varied compositions, acting in dialogue with each other and the landscape to shape and reshape the experience of space.
What’s there today, may reorganize into something new tomorrow.
|Hundreds of Sparrows - Katy Grannan||November 4, 2015|
HUNDREDS OF SPARROWS
November 04–December 20
Salon 94 Bowery
243 Bowery, New York
Hundreds of Sparrows, a solo exhibition by Katy Grannan, opens today at the Salon 94 Bowery in New York. Composed of both color and black and white photographs, film stills and video installations, the exhibition culminates four years of documenting the Central Valley, working with the local community.
For the installation, envelope A+D collaborated with Grannan in conceiving an immersive experience that subtly augments the complexity and tensions within the seemingly ordinary and mundane experiences depicted in her work.
Study models led to the concept of a central figure, an angled structure housing video works sculpted and placed to promote a circumambulatory path through gallery. The central figure’s slotted openings discreetly invite in viewers while its lattice top lets sounds of the valley fill the gallery. The central figure also separates the front and back areas of the gallery, creating a sense of discovery and return—and subtle shifts—as visitors move through the space.
Within the installation, these almost imperceptible gestures bring the psychological landscape into focus. The works coalesce, offering varied views and experiences of a vast and solitary place.