Housing—as an aesthetic, conceptual, political, and environmental concern—has captured the imaginations and passions of artists and architects in recent years. In a flourishing yet undefined field, Rick Lowe, Rirkrit Tiravanija, N55, the Rural Studio, and others are prototyping creative solutions that range from portable architecture to squatting to long-term community-based design projects.
Buckminster Fuller: A Design Science Evangelist in Minnesota
Earning a standing ovation from a crowd of 5,000, Buckminster Fuller spoke at the University of Minnesota one Monday in 1973 on the role of design scientists in civic problem solving. But the 90-minute talk wasn’t the revolutionary thinker’s first trip here. As Mason Riddle learns, his many visits between 1953 and 1981 involved him in projects, exhibitions, and the inaugural Earth Day observation.
Animating Space: Martin Friedman on the Sculpture Garden
Martin Friedman recalls the snowy day in 1987 when Claes Oldenburg unveiled a “captivating object”—his concept for the focal point of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. “There it was—a spoon, whose bowl rested on a small island in the center of a free-form pond and contained a rubicund cherry.” In his 1988 essay from Design Quarterly, Friedman discusses this and the other animating ideas behind the Garden.
Tearing Up the Lawn
Fritz Haeg’s garden-based art has grown all over the world, but now he’s returned to dig in the dirt of his hometown—the Twin Cities. In his six-month Walker residency, Haeg has overturned a Woodbury front lawn, built a geodesic dome in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, grown community connections, and turned out plenty of vegetables. “It’s about shifting ideas of what’s beautiful.”
2012: The Year According to Julian Bleecker
For a futurist, our request might have been unwelcome: look back. Thankfully, artist and technologist Julian Bleecker agreed, offering his top 10 moments from 2012 in a list that ranges from acts of God (Hurricane Sandy) to the completely man-made (Instagram and “computational photography” cameras) to the pop cultural and artistic (Frank Ocean, Tom Sachs, and the death of the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch).
Expanding the Book: An Interview with Badlands Unlimited
Under the motto “books in an expanded field,” Badlands Unlimited aims to challenge ideas about publishing to encompass everything from art shows curated for the Kindle and iPad to experimental typography and artist e-books. In an interview with Barcelona-based Latitudes, Badlands’ Paul Chan, Ian Cheng, and Micaela Durand discuss their work “embracing every facet of a book’s social life today.”
Eyal Weizman and Architecture as Political Intervention
Interested in a subjective, confrontational approach to architecture, Israeli writer-architect Eyal Weizman seeks to expand discourse in his field and put it in dialogue with disciplines like military strategy, forensics, and humanitarian law. In advance of his October 3 lecture, the Walker’s Yesomi Umolu caught up with Weizman to discuss his ideas on confronting politics through architecture.
ROLU’s Field Tests: Merging the Digital and the Actual in Open Field
In its design work and on its blog, Minneapolis’ ROLU explores ideas at the nexus of architecture, landscape design, and conceptual art. Artists-in-residence at Open Field this month, they aim to link the digital and the actual. “We are interested in reaching into [the Web’s] river of images and make something tangible from them,” says ROLU’s Matt Olson. “Creating something physical—taking an action.”
The Next Frontier for Minneapolis Parks
Already known nationally for its parks system, Minneapolis stands to burnish that reputation with a new plan for the upper reaches of the Mississippi. RiverFirst aims to establish parks as an engine for economic development along the river corridor, from St. Anthony Falls to the city limits some five miles to the north. City officials call it the park system’s “next frontier.”