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Spatial High Jinks
Wafaa Bilal

Last week, Phronesisaical reminded us again of Wafaa Bilal's Domestic Tension, a piece of performance art, which they describe as “a brilliant commentary on war and the complicity of those for whom distance creates a sense of false reality and moral neutrality.”

From The National:

For 30 days, Bilal lived in a 4.6 by 9.8 metre performance space [at Chicago’s FlatFile Gallery], while people around the world watched – and targeted him – through a webcam attached to a remote-controlled paintball gun, capable of firing over a shot per second at the Iraqi in question.

While it won't be as powerful or even catch the attention of the Department of Homeland Security, how about installing webcams to watch over landscapes as their mineral wealth gets extracted? Next to it would be a garden hose, with which you could target passing miners. Dirt clinging onto them will be washed away; they may even be refreshed by its cool waters. And you, the direct beneficiaries of their labor, will also be cleansed of your consumerist sins. Tele-absolution.

This performance art will be titled It's the least that I could do.

Adrian Kondratowicz

Also last week (and on the same day), Design Under Sky pointed us to TRASH: anycoloryoulike, a public art installation in which “standard piles of trash are replaced with artist-created bags” to decorate the streets of New York. The project simultaneously “beautifies the city and calls attention to waste consumption.”

Next summer, artist Adrian Kondratowicz, with Miuccia Prada's patronage, will cloth the homeless with green ready-to-wear, thus “beautifying urban parks and calling attention to human waste.”

Olivia Robinson, Josh MacPhee and Dara Greenwald

Continuing on with this last week meme, here are two items posted the day before Phronesisaical and Design Under Sky published theirs.

Firstly, BLDGBLOG covered a “bouncy chapel” for the penitent on vacation on the beaches of Sardinia. It “comes complete with an altar, an apse and a confessional.”

It also reminded us of another inflatable church installed this May on a parking lot in Troy, New York. Though not built for traditional worship, it was a 1:1 scale reproduction of the church — “a historic site in the fight to abolish slavery” — that once stood on the same site.

According to Olivia Robinson, Josh MacPhee and Dara Greenwald:

Spectres of Liberty is a public memory, site-specific art project. Beginning with a sense of loss about the changing built environment of Troy, New York, we set out imagining ghosts of demolished buildings and structures. Through imagining inflatable sculptural extensions to buildings whose facades have been destroyed to thinking about recreating vanished historic sites, we decided on creating a ghost of the Liberty Street Church.

Seen through the diaphanous walls of this ghost church, visitors themselves appear ghost-like, ectoplasmic, haunting the same space as the past.

Olivia Robinson, Josh MacPhee and Dara Greenwald

Lots more photos here, via Critical Spatial Practice.

Office for Subversive Architecture

Secondly, Dezeen showed some photos of a stair-like viewing platform, which the Office for Subversive Architecture attached to the 17-kilometer-long, blue fence surrounding London's future Olympic Park. Climb up, and for a moment you can infiltrate “the secrecy surrounding preparations for the 2012 Olympics.”

It recalls to mind Heavy Trash's viewing platforms for gated communities in Los Angeles. Some photos here.

To borrow language from Sites Unseen: Landscape and Vision, they are framing devices for a staged aesthetic experience and to suit a sociopolitical agenda.

Michel de Broin

Many have posted Michel de Broin's Superficielle before, and it was Vvork's turn last week. It's a lovely sculpture that renders the landscape into a Cubist puzzle.

Quoting de Broin:

Upon invitation to reflect on the notion of transparency, that led me into the forest to envelop the contour of a large stone with fragments of mirror. The large stone, tucked away deep in the woods, became a reflective surface for its surroundings. In this play of splintered radiance, the rock disappears in its reflections. Because it reflects one cannot be mislead by its presence, yet we cannot seize it, rather it is the rock that reflects us.

A horrible, horrible last sentence, but a marvelous, marvelous installation nonetheless.
  • Timja
  • August 23, 2008 at 8:46:00 PM CDT
  • I really like that last picture, it's like the perfect thing to build, right material in right place. There is a church in Sweden built in the same way.

  • Alexander Trevi
  • August 25, 2008 at 2:07:00 PM CDT
  • Fully agree. It's reminiscent of an installation by Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch for the International Garden Festival at Jardins de M├ętis/Reford Gardens.

    Are there photos of the church online?

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