More Than Structures

MEMORIAL UNION GALLERY | Photo Courtesy

The Memorial Union Gallery’s current exhibit “Speculative Architecture” represents the work of Associate Professor Stephen Wischer’s architectural theory master’s students.

Throughout his theory classes, Wischer encourages his students to remain aware of the environment their structures will be located in. As an extension, he also pushes students to be aware of the situation and feel of the structures and how the inhabitants will interact with them. As part of the class, Wischer’s students create objects that represent the desired feeling of their structures.

Gallery coordinator Anthony Faris was so intrigued by the students’ work, he decided to bring them to the gallery in the form of an exhibit. “I’ve been sitting in as a gallery coordinator for some of his critiques,”
Faris said. “I love the way the students are creating these objects that represent places and the meaning of the structure. I thought they were so interesting that it would be wonderful to show them in a gallery setting.”

True to the assignment, each work possesses an aspect of physical or 3-dimensional thinking. With many of the pieces, observers’ physical interactions with the work are essential to the message. One such piece hangs in the front of the gallery suspended from a wire above a black surface. Visitors to the gallery are instructed to add white sand to the inverted bottle and grab a string, which is connected to one of the corners. The music, which is part of the exhibit, acts as an inspiration for movement. As the participant moves, the sand creates a pattern on the surface below. “This piece is based off of the ridiculousness and absurdity of work,” Faris said. “We create these routines every single day … and that monotony is absurdist in a way, but we are actually doing stuff. So this sort of gesture draws that. It shows that even though we may think it is forgettable, it becomes a physical in this way.”

Many of the exhibits require multiple participants to function, so bring your friends and explore this interactive exhibit.

The closing reception for “Speculative Architecture” will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27 in the gallery. The artists of the works will also be present to briefly talk about their pieces.

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