Thursday, April 1, 2010

smallBIG: small constructions

Three small constructions were made specifically for the "smallBIG" show at the Swope. Two of the installations -- one by Janice Shimizu and Josh Coggeshall, the other by Ana de Brea -- became pieces of furniture, an in-between scale in-keeping with the human body and en-couraging touching, interacting, feeling the piece, and the body. Each of these pieces repurposed salvaged materials -- for Janice and Josh, timbers found alongside a street in Muncie, leftover from a demolished industrial building, then thrown in the back of Josh's truck; in Ana's case, plastic bags, plastic bags, plastic bags, plastic bags, plastic bags (i.e., she used a lot of plastic bags).

The third, by Roberto Frangella, has its own brilliance -- brought from Buenos Aires (where Frangella lives) when de Brea returned from her holiday visit home, the "house" is made simply, of six painted stiff pieces of paper held together with an array of bulldog clips. Simple, beautiful, handmade, inexpensive ... as much as any piece, Frangella's "El Habitat Minimo" captures the spirit explored and dimensionalized in "small architecture BIG LANDSCAPES."

Roberto Frangella
Architect, artist, community activist
Buenos Aires, Argentina
"El Habitat Minimo" 2010

"Art helps reflect on real situations of life. I pay attention to the way many people live in the suburbs of the province of Buenos Aires. I imagine people leaving their homes in the morning and walking unpaved roads crossing abandoned sites, seeing small houses always under construction, a precarious football field, water coming from a hole, seeing that old cart horse, a few people riding bikes, the street dogs. All that happening during very hot summers or very cold winters. It is a life of effort and sacrifice that many people live in order to give their children a future. In our poorest neighborhoods, the bravest people are found, those whose lives yield an example of perseverance and continuous work. These people are the focus of my art, the heroes of my illusions. Through my drawings they are the most important men and women of Argentina. At least for just this time."


Janice Shimizu + Josh Coggeshall
Architects (Shimizu + Coggeshall), architecture professors (Ball State University)
Muncie, Indiana

"Urban tree removal becomes necessary when a previous asset becomes a liability, but it is an unnecessary expense. While municipalities face an increasing demand for tree removal, rising labor and transportation costs, landfill fees, and lost opportunity costs (money not spend elsewhere), there is an alternative to this financial and environmental burden. With managed stewardship, cost recovery could be achieved by harvesting trees while they have value. By maintaining an arboreal diversity that preserves street aesthetic and function yet responds to the possible future uses, new infrastructure could supply a flexible demand for this resource. What started as an idea about recycling street trees has transformed into a larger vision of the inter-connected management of urban forests. We liken a cabinet built from salvaged timber to a new quilt made from small and varied pieces: an aesthetic that celebrates what might come our way and transforms a liability back into an asset."

Materials:
Salvaged wood: Yellow Pine, Red Eucalyptus, Douglas Fir, + Spalted Birch for cabinet skin

Plywood, medium density fiberboard, acrylic, chipboard, + basswood


Ana de Brea
Architect, professor (Ball State University), artist
Muncie, Indiana & Buenos Aires, Argentina
"Chair" 2010

Materials:
100% recycled plastic bags and bottle caps

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