metabolic city

BRIEF: The problem graduate students Michele Fredericks, Bryn Wears + Monling Lee  faced in their year and a half endeavor alongside curator Heather Woofter in creating pieces for the exhibition Metabolic City arose in how to actually “do-justice” to a project that is difficult to criticize (apart from its fantastical nature). Though fantastical does not necessarily imply unfeasible, it is generally understood to be so, but the nature of the ARCHIGRAM representation makes the fantastical, tangible –like a snapshot of an architecture that is a disco-rainbow-kaleidoscope.Yet the project also implies a measure of intangibility in its very nature. Its impermanence, its minimal footprint on the land; the trace it leaves behind become as important as its arrival, as its presence in one location or another. Its invisible network of communication and global connectivity create an entirely different realization of what architecture might be.

The challenge then is to attempt to explain,  to convey the intention, to understand its relevance, to interpret, to distill, to decipher. ARCHIGRAM’s instant environments were a scene of happy couples, children playing; an architecture of hope and cheer for the future despite their post-war time inspirations. Zeppelins and brightly flashing lights, deployable movie screens wafting loftily in the sky, speakers and entertainment bubbles. There was always a desire to maintain the concepts of control and choice. To chose what architecture is, what it might be, what its potentials are, and more specifically, what the city is, what it [does]-within a set of parameters; emancipation in architecture was and is the ultimate goal. The graduates developed a set of 30 models, a ‘kit of parts’ based on the original [1968] drawings by Peter Cook as well as a large-scale laser etched drawing that serves as a test deployment of the instant city. Their work was displayed along side original works by ARCHIGRAM provided by archivist Dennis Crompton, as well as works by the Metabolists and the Situationists International (Constant).

EXHIBITION CURATOR: Heather Woofter with Dennis Crompton
LOCATION: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (September 2009- January 2010)
COLLABORATORS: Michele Fredericks, Bryn Wears, Monling Lee

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[IMAGE ABOVE] catalog of models- kit of parts

KETC | Living St. Louis | Metabolic City 

KETC | Art Critic Joe Wolin on Metabolic City


Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum
Washington University News Room




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