“Extraterritorial Build” soared above the outdoor entryway to the Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park in East Hollywood.
“Extraterritorial Build” is the first project by Materials & Applications to be designed and built off-site, marking an exciting development in the research center’s trajectory, which often falls between gallery, laboratory, and pocket park. The form and materiality of the new installation rise from experimentation and sharing the results of repeated small prototypes and models; a process of organic social computation. The formal opening of the piece was on Sunday, January 31, 2010, at the kickoff for “Actions, Conversations, and Intersections,” an exhibition of participatory projects at the LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park, curated by Edith Abeyta and Michael Lewis Miller.
The crew created two modular sections of rolling, wavy skin supported by webs of interlaced bamboo. The two modules were united with a single bamboo piece on either side to lift the structure higher and yield a compressive force. The webs of interlaced bamboo were held in place with carefully riveted triangular pockets, fused to the larger skin in precise locations. The bamboos were bent and in some cases bound together with tape to give tension to the larger skin. The structure has supports at three points—two near the entrance strapped to the concrete ceiling, and one at the crossing of the arching bamboos by a loop riveted to the skin. The arching bamboos were roped to the concrete columns with specific tying and knotting methods.
The structure grew like bamboo grows, as a grass, reaching out horizontally with underground stems. Grasses do not orient around a central model plant; there is no single organizational entry or exit to the system. Every node is a jumping off point, and every point is a line. The Extraterritorial crew acted outside the jurisdiction of a linear trajectory. Solutions emerged from a milieu of mostly failed experiments and progress moved in every direction. Our diagrams resembled maps more than drawings. Volunteers used bamboo to give tension and shape to the fabric, but that was the only constant. Each prototype was a discontinuous jump, something unforeseen.
MatterApp events were envisioned as design/build workshops that would take form according to the interests and varied backgrounds of the participants. With no formal finalized design to guide the project, development precedes organically, each inspiration and solution coming from a different direction. The resulting innovation buds from the social pursuit of problem solving in parallel, yielding exciting final products and new skill sets and experiences related to novel techniques and approaches.
The structure is made from donated bamboo from the Los Angeles Arboretum and corduroy fabric from Brookwood Roll Goods. With food from Palermo’s Restaurant and Mama Mia’s Café, “Extraterritorial” was also made possible with a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance. Additional appendages may be added over the course of the exhibition during future MatterApp events during the run of the show, which will span for three months.
“Extraterritorial Build” and “Actions, Conversations, and Intersections,” is open to the public at the LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park until April 18th, 2010.