|My work for the past 13 years orbits around how we relate to things and the space between things. Our relationship to the built environment, how we interact with the stuff of and around architecture, is a tectonic composed of psychological and physical presence. My initial inquiry into the subtle mechanics of these relationships was not through a table or a screen but through the study of painting, specifically 17th century Dutch Still Lives.
Allow me to indulge myself. When attention is given to this Van Utrecht, for instance, many things catalyze in the mind. A narrative emerges from the meticulous arrangement, and consequent decay, of the fruit. Lush berries overflow from their bowl near a platter of overturned crabs, themselves feigning death before an angry seven pound lobster. Meat languishes untouched from the pie left ravished. The extreme articulation of paint heightens the majesty of mundane things and calls attention to the decadent scattering of their value. The poodle, shaggily groomed, will fight the monkey for the mess.
Just then, we have begun to personify objects that usually seem very unlike ourselves (a lemon cannot do as we do). The positioning and posturing of the things within the painting, their relationship to one another, is derivative of the political and social decadence and consequent decay of the Dutch 17th century. However, it is not limited by this original context. We project our own context, our own political and social situation, into the painting. Even more, we project our own psychology into the painting. We imagine the lemon peel has had a gripping relationship with the knife.
My early artwork sprang from awe in how something so simple —like vividly painted table arrangements of food— can harness our tendency to create a narrative from disparate events. I sought through my performative sculpture to catalyze specific psychological processes such as: personification and narrative construction, learning through elimination, memory recall through the imagining of impossible things. Now, with architecture, I am armed with devices such as: program, structure, site, politics, environmental concerns, folly, transformation, decay, materiality, tectonics.
My work at SCI_Arc culminated with the design of a hotel to watch glaciers calve into the ice-fjord at Illulisat, Greenland. Imposing, towering, twin structures on an oil-rig-type platform faced the calving end of the Illulisat Glacier, enabling tourists to view the spectacle of the edge of the glacier persistently collapsing in chunks into the water.
This tower contrasts with small temporary structures built on the glacier upstream, utilizing a tectonic of water-ice transformation such as an ice-rigidized membrane. These temporary structures flow with the glacier, and collapse into the ice-fjord with the glacier, undergoing a dramatic transformation as they melt underwater.
Here the architecture of leisure and the opposing relationship of the hotel to the follies arouse our awareness of decadence and its consequences, with the romantic aestheticization of a looming natural phenomenon. The Illilusat Hotel presentation consists of 4 video holograms overlaid on submerged wood and paper models, collage, and a 42" ice sculpture.
The narrative of my work and research through art and architecture instills a central ethic in my practice. In a field being transformed radically by technology, with everything from representation to construction being disrupted with new methodologies such as parametric design and BIM, we must always retain architecture's central sublime inevitability. Architecture is of our relationship to things and the space in-between.