Industrialization has had a profound effect on the American suburb. Only American audacity could have concocted and executed the formula for mass-produced homes that dominates the suburban real estate market in the United States. And only in America could such a formula become an economic and political juggernaut, making places where matters of personal taste are amplified into cultural bulwarks.
“Mass Market Alternatives” seeks to exploit the economic leverage and aesthetic principles of mass-market suburban housing in order to diversify its potential customer base and challenge the reputation of the suburbs as enclaves of conservatism and political conformity.
Yoko Naito culminated six years of work in New York City with the series Unbeknown. The collection of photographs captures the vacant winter shores of the city and explores outward changes in the environment, the human condition and the artifacts we leave behind.
The quiet minimalism of the photographs in Unbeknown tells a compelling story about how we engage with nature. Each image depicts a remnant of human presence, or activity yet is absent from life. The effect can be lonely and isolating yet at times playful and absurd. Yoko observes the world through an objective lens and aims to capture unexpected environments by juxtaposing different existences within one frame. The vague nature of her imagery tells an open-ended story that is both haunting and calming.
Yoko Naito was born in a small village in Japan and grew up in Tokyo. Experiencing the gap between rural and urban life became a trigger for her interest in the environment and her desire to capture ‘in-between’ landscapes through photography.
The exhibition at pinkcomma follows closely on the successful debut at outside gallery in North Adams, Massachusetts. Coverage can be found in Creative Boom, thisispaper, OEN, Minimalissimo, and The Berkshire Eagle.
by Bryony Roberts
Tailored is a collection of shapes that interlock with human bodies. Fitting closely around shoulders, chests, and hips, the objects offer intimate contact on a level not usually found in furniture or architecture. This exhibition builds upon the artist’s ongoing work with pre-existing buildings, in which she measures and extends the idiosyncrasies of historic architecture. Her work focuses on specificity rather than generality—how the details of an existing condition can be generative, rather than the imposition of an external system. In Tailored, the pre-existing condition is human bodies, each defined by individual shapes and sizes. While each piece in the show is tailored to a different person, the project produces surprising commonalities in proportion and dimension between people of different genders and sizes—generating an ambiguity between the specific and the general. The abstraction and ambiguity of the shapes produces an open playfulness as people find their own configurations of interlocking.
Bryony Roberts is an architectural designer and scholar. Her practice, Bryony Roberts Studio, combines strategies from architecture, visual art, and preservation to transform existing spaces. Roberts is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Oslo School of Architecture in Norway, and has completed recent projects at the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, the Federal Plaza in Chicago, the American Academy in Rome and the Neutra VDL House in Los Angeles.
Jennifer Bonner, MALL
Architects have recently talked about mountains, candy and puppets. They used to talk about sheds, blobs and fields. We are interested in talking about sandwiches. Or is the sandwich merely a stand-in to generate a discourse in architecture around the problem of the extrusion? Borrowing from past and recent history’s best practices for assembling sandwich architecture, Best Sandwiches is a design and research project in search of novel spatial stacks. The nine sandwiches on display are furry, yet sometimes glittery, colorful, yet sometimes too much color, and undergo a close reading of the following sandwich types: grilled cheese, BLT, hamburger, dagwood, and sub sandwich, to name a few.
An assistant professor of sociology at St. Olaf College, David Schalliol is academically and artistically interested in issues of social stratification and meaning in the social and physical worlds. His writing and photographs have appeared in such publications as The American Sociologist, Design Observer and The New York Times, as well as in numerous exhibitions, including the inaugural Belfast Photo Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s Midwest Photographers Project. Schalliol contributed to “Highrise: Out My Window,” an interactive documentary that won the 2011 International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction. His book, Isolated Building Studies, was published by Utakatado in 2014.
In addition to his sociological and photographic activities, David plays an active role on several websites, including his part as editor-at-large of Gapers Block, where he has worked with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust to increase journalistic coverage of underserved communities. He earned his PhD in the Department of Sociology at The University of Chicago.
Drawings by Fred Scharmen / Working Group on Adaptive Systems
The Nonhuman Autonomous Space Agency is an open world speculative research project that proposes a network of robotic and biological systems for exploring the solar system, tied together by exchanges in the material and online attention economies. In recent decades, space exploration has been the heroic imperative of humankind, but this was not always the case. The first Earthlings in space were dogs, monkeys, and rabbits. Offering the opportunity to explore space back to nonhumans reveals new opportunities, risks, and rewards. Would an animal already adapted for life in a weightless medium not be better suited for free fall? What would an intelligent, curious, nonhuman mammal with a twitter account want to see and do in high Earth orbit and beyond? Using robotics and fabrication to create new spatial systems with new affordances for their inhabitants, the Nonhuman Autonomous Space Agency imagines that the future of space exploration and inhabitation might be an adventure for everyone.
Drawings by John Szot.
Architecture and the Unspeakable presents a story about three buildings, each with a pathological problem connecting it to a larger cultural dialog. Through the mechanisms of vandalism, idiosyncrasy, and dilapidation, the buildings raise the possibility that architecture might transcend its practical obligations to become our most potent form of cultural expression.
Seven Objects Since Rome.
While living in Rome among architectures of the distant past, an architect’s contemporary culture is displaced by the powerful contrast of the storied city and its layered histories. Such an environment provides an experience—maybe temporary, perhaps permanent—that unsettles and destabilizes one’s outlook on the current status of the architectural discipline. The seven objects shown here, produced following the Rome Prize Fellowship in 2012-2013, are manifestations of the influences of old buildings in Rome. They reflect a preoccupation with anachronous methods of form-making, redeployed in a contemporary context in order to challenge, enrich, and diversify our own understanding of formal languages. The objects focus on the potential renewed relevance of old orders of cultural formality, such as mirroring, symmetry, axiality, and proportionality.
The Third Exhibit in pinkcomma’s Drawing Series.
Lines in Water is the third in pinkcomma’s drawing series, following on Crossing Lines and Freedomland, where Petra Kempf and Keith Krumwiede envisioned urbanized forms based on experimental techniques of drawing. In Lines in Water, the assurances and stability of a ground to draw on are brought into question with visions of new urbanities and ecologies on the planet’s fluctuating liquid surfaces. The exhibition joins two distinct investigations initiated separately by Neeraj Bhatia (published as The Petropolis of Tomorrow) and Luis Callejas of LCLA Office (presented in Pamphlet Architecture 33 Islands and Atolls), both of which introduce new forms of public life in aquatic realms.
At a time when designers are often preoccupied with the nightmare of cities being inundated by rising tides, Bhatia and Callejas propose diving headfirst into the waves, establishing floating hubs, reclaiming already submerged territories, creating tidal landscapes. They address existing problems of industries, contamination, and transportation, while looking for solutions that enable design — and drawing — to introduce a thread of ecological conscience into political and economic discourses that, to date, have excluded such aspirations. Like the preceding exhibitions, they establish new territories — new possibilities for territory, that is — through the tools and techniques of drawing.
Since its founding in 2008, Design Biennial Boston has curated a space for recognition and discussion of Boston’s emerging design practices. Published by pinkcomma books, Archive presents an index of this design scene. The book catalogues fifty-seven projects by the nineteen Biennial winners. It features an introduction from the curators, observations from leading figures in the Boston architecture community, and data on the business models and design practices of the nineteen firms.
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Design Biennial Boston Participants
This book would not have been possible without the generous support of the following organizations and all of the firms and individuals included in this book.