February 3 2012
Mac Davis Warehouse
leveraging the material and spatial edges of Valparaíso
curated by Victoria McReynolds
The seam indicates a meeting of separate elements, whether they are formal as in surfaces meeting at a corner, spatial as one room to another through a door frame, or material as brick bound with mortar. This meeting demarcates a local alteration and eccentricity in the fabric of smooth and streamline. Each anomaly is a moment for operation within the integrity of site instead of a blemish to be bleached or whitewashed.
This exhibition frames the Chilean city of Valparaíso as a rich density of seams through its patchwork of material assemblies and cabinet-like series of spaces. The works included convey a topographically folded, architecturally stacked and imaginatively rich city where one’s perceptual space is constantly questioned among the slopes, turns, steps and inclines. Spatial folds shuffle urban expectations of program and social organization while cavities of various sizes capture the immateriality of light, sound and smell. Valparaíso courts the unknown by resisting full comprehension. What is presented is a multi-faceted collection of seams, each binding together the fabric of the city while simultaneously registering a gravity induced weathering apart.
Operable Seams grew out from Texas Tech’s College of Architecture Study Abroad 2011 Valparaíso Studio and the question of how architecture makes the city. Eight weeks of immersed investigation into material and spatial boundaries, social interaction and site definition led to a pool of creative propositions and recorded observations. Under the lens of collage and imagination, the collection of work is intended to make visible the potency of seams and the capacity for each seam to localize a constructed intervention. Collectively, the works included embody discovery within an architecture of conceal and reveal while registering the complexity of Valparaiso’s spaces and leveraging the city’s seams to pry open site. Prying open the site in Valparaíso inevitably leads to a playful, imaginative architecture of place. The compact, vertical condition of this sound-box city places light, shadows, vibration, circulation and social organization at center stage. With an architecture that is found out of “seeing” this site, the immaterial viscerally manifests adjacent to the material.