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2019 Open Call: Staging Construction

Staging Construction is a call for projects that explore construction as both a practice and a performance. Construction can seem a rather dry affair for a public installation. After all, logistics, staging, industry standards, and manual labor are not the seductive tools of design. Yet recent attention to participatory design processes, preoccupation with industrial readymades, satirization of DIY building culture, archeology of building sites, and competitions around demolition suggest that our cultural field is attending to these unseen endeavors intrinsic to the production of architecture.

Materials & Applications seeks proposals that investigate the act of construction as both an act of building and as a form of industry. Through its messy web of relations and procedures, construction practices draws architecture into the orbit of other systems, including labor practices, managerial models, governmental structures, and negotiated temporalities. Specifically, we are seeking projects that:

  • challenge the supremacy of architectural objects by prioritizing the performance of construction over or adjacent to its resulting artifacts

  • expand on construction procedures and instructions as an act of interpretation

  • highlight or redefine the specific cast of characters who contribute to the construction process, including city inspectors, permit officers, contractors, day laborers, etc.

  • index systems of material sourcing, management, regulation and labor systems

We are looking for projects that fall in line with the history of M&A’s production, including works that can be categorized as installations, temporary architecture, site-specific, and scenographic, and projects that aspire to be ambitious, well crafted, physically robust, intellectually risky, and materially unexpected.


This call is open to anyone interested in articulating a project around the topic of construction.

Submission Requirements

1) Letter of Interest (250 words)
2) Project Statement (250-500 words) 
3) Proposed Budget
4) Work Samples (10 images max, PDF) 

$50 Registration Fee

Send submissions with registration receipt to info [at] by deadline.


Monday, January 15, 2018, 11:59PM. 


M&A will provide $30,000 in funding for the selected project, which goes directly to material costs, fabrication, artist fees, travel and accommodations, and any additional programming envisioned by the selected team.  Additional funds may be contributed by in-kind donations, sponsorships, and additional grants sourced independently by the selected project team or in collaboration with M&A. Past project budgets typically range from $30,000 to $60,000 depending on the nature of the project, number of participants, and alignment of sponsorships and extra-institutional support (secured grants, research funds, etc). If the proposed project budget exceeds $30,000, please identify anticipated sources of additional funds.


Projects should take place in 2019. The precise dates or the project and its opening will depend on a number of factors, including M&A’s exhibitions/programming calendar and will be determined with the selected project team. 

The open call runs in three phases:

Phase 1: Open Call for Proposals (deadline January 15, 2018)
Phase 2: Three Finalists Selected (early March 2018)
Phase 3: Final Selection (May 2018)

Review Process and Criteria

Materials & Applications will select finalists based on the: 1) quality of the project as it relates to the brief; 2) past work of the artist(s); 3) feasibility of proposed construction and associated budget with the realization that many of our past projects were only possible with the spirit of risk-taking and experimentation.

About Materials & Applications

M&A is a non-profit organization dedicated to producing a public culture of experimental architecture. Since 2003, M&A has produced more than 20 site-specific installations — each of them inscribed into the landscape of Los Angeles. We are a collaborative platform dedicated to cultivating conversation and collaboration between artists, architects, urban planners, civic leaders, scientists, and experts in related fields, in order to bring these exchanges into public dialogue and public space.

Annually, M&A produces two types of public programs: temporary outdoor installations and topical program clusters or event series through which to explore an issue or area of interest in greater depth. Our programs often involve many collaborators working together, developing ideas in dialogue to produce projects that align with our organization and its mission.

We like to begin projects starting from an idea and proceed from there. It is of special importance that we develop ideas jointly with our partners, and create dialogue between our organization, partnering artists or organizations, and our audience. We begin with an original idea, and proceed to develop this in sustained conversations about formats, event types, selection of artists and architect teams, financing, schedule and production.

We do not make financial contributions to projects that have already been planned. We are not a foundation or funding body. All our projects are not-for-profit and we aspire to present them for free. Very rarely, we will solicit donations as entry.

This open call text was authored by Laida Aguirre, Jia Gu and Zachary Porter, with contributions by the Contemporary Council of M&A (CCMA) and the M&A Board of Directors. Image Credit: Frank Gilbreth, Motion efficiency study, 1914, from the collections of National Museum of American History.

Earlier Event: November 11
M&A 14th Anniversary Gala