Chicago Architecture Biennial Special Projects To Inhabit a Series of Architectural Landmarks

Farnsworth House. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user Jonathan Rieke. (Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

Farnsworth House. Image Courtesy of Flickr CC user Jonathan Rieke. (Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Chicago Architecture Biennial and it’s artistic directors, Johnston Marklee, have revealed a collection of Special Projects designed to harness the curatorial vision of the event—entitled Make New History—and bring it to a number of significant landmarks in the city and in it’s surrounding area. Featuring a SO-IL and Ana Prvački collaboration, a Francois Perrin installation, a new performance artwork by Gerard & Kelly at the Farnsworth House, photographs by James Welling, and films by Gerard & Kelly, the projects will inhabit some Chicago’s greatest “architectural gems.”

A full list of participants involved the main exhibitions can be found here.

In the Garfield Park Conservatory

As “one of the largest and most stunning conservatories in the nation,” the Garfield Park Observatory was “considered revolutionary when it first opened in 1908.” Francois Perrin’s project, titled Air Houses: Design for a New Climate, is “set within the majestic Palm House, whose tropical microclimate provides an ideal setting for an architectural experiment that proposes new directions for building in relationship to landscape and climate. Perrin puts forth an alternative to a culture of mass consumerism that has produced buildings disengaged from their context (at ever greater environmental cost).”

SO-IL will be presenting a project with artist Ana Prvački exploring “the relationship between our senses and our collective experience.” According to the Biennial, it intends to raise “questions about the impact of progress on the wellbeing of our cities the team is focusing on the poetics of persistent human elements within our lives.

In the Farnsworth House

located in Chicago’s western suburbs in Plano, Illinois, will host a new chapter of Gerard & Kelly‘s ongoing project Modern Living, a series of site-specific performances and videos exploring intimacy and domestic space within legacies of modernist architecture.  Structured in chapters, each one sited in a different modernist home, the project examines how the sites’ interventions into traditional codes of domestic architecture produced notions of family and ways of living radical for their times.

Gerard & Kelly‘s project for the Chicago Architecture Biennial takes place during the Press and Professional Previews, with public performances on September 16 and 17 at the iconic Farnsworth House, designed in 1945 by Mies van der Rohe as a country escape for a single woman, the successful Chicago doctor Edith Farnsworth.  Initially a pioneer of modernist architecture, commissioning Mies to design a radical statement for living, Farnsworth famously found the transparency of the house unlivable/

In the City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower

Located in Downtown Chicago, the City Gallery will showcase the first two chapters of Gerard & Kelly’s Modern Living as an installation of two videos filmed on location at The Glass House and Schindler House. Alongside these videos, it will also feature an exhibition of James Welling’s colorized images documenting the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive Apartments, both also by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and “closely associated with the modern movement of the 1950s.”

Here, Welling will manipulate “the imagery using a series of techniques borrowed from the experimental photography scene of the 1960s. The resulting layered, multiple-exposure images result in what Jesús Vassallo describes as a kind of ‘psychedelic Mies,’ yielding unexpected and completely new works that defamiliarize, produce new readings and suggest future possibilities.”

In the Chicago Cultural Center

James Welling’s images of Chicago will be reproduced at an environmental scale and installed on the exterior of the building. This large-scale project and the photographs at the Historic Water Tower are part of a Chicago Architectural Biennial exhibition curated by Jesús Vassallo and titled A Love of the World.

On display at the Chicago Cultural Center, the exhibition will also include works by Luisa Lambri, Filip Dujardin, Alexander Apóstol, Daniel Everett, Marianne Mueller, Veronika Kellndorfer, Katharina Gaenssler, David Schalliol, Scott Fortino and Philipp Schaerer.

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