top of page

Into the Space

Invited Distinguished Professor:

Patrick Danahy


Gabriel Esquivel,  Studio Professor

Teaching Assistant: Shane Bugni

Texas A&M University


Team: Kalle Bentson, Riley Wemhoener, Fatima Castro, Mara Rubio, Raul Basualdo.

The purpose of this project was to produce a figure from the autonomous components of an American Grain Elevator. Establishing a patchwork of heterogeneous parts, placing an emphasis on materiality, degradation, and ambiguity of figure and ground. In deterritorializing the typical anthropocentric subject, the form produced vital materiality through its complex interrelationships of parts. In reframing the idea of the fold as a continuous material manifestation, the use of texture, degradation, and seed repository throughout emphasizes the ambiguity between form and ground. 


The interior of the figure relates to the external context with a continuation of the material hierarchy. The familiar anthropogenic material is disrupted by natural wilds of organic matter, which deterritorialize humans at the center. The loss of human imposed ordering reflects a shift from machinery to biochemical surface. Leftover human influence of the orthogonal organization is deteriorated by organic matter which has developed its own sense, to produce messy-self organization. This growth originates from an anthropocentric perspective of nature. As the form was intended as an exhibition of idealized natural growth. Human imposed control established a display area for the highly romanticized picturesque growth, humans often associate with nature. Removing humans from the center produced natural wilds of growth that transitioned into unfamiliar vegetation. This new growth is not typically recognized by humans as belonging to their idealized vision of nature. While human influence is still somewhat recognizable, the imposition of control on nature produced outcomes not intended to serve them. Spatial zones are no longer designated by a formal organization, but rather, microbiomes operate as an ecology of parts. The decimation of this formal organization produced a cavernous shell containing the leftover remnants of human design at the base of the figure. The build-up of rubble and trash isolates machinery left behind by humans. These pristine, fully anthropocentric elements are impenetrable and their isolation produces a sterile environment.


Both the unfamiliar vegetation and the lack of organic matter on machine parts, detail different outcomes of attempts to control nature. The first fights back against the imposed control to self-organize, and the second is so overly controlled that nature ceases to exist in that biome. The transitions between each microbiome and the variety of growth that occurs outline the shift from an anthropocentric focus, with heavy inorganic machinery, to a biochemical active surface, with self-organizing organic matter. The object relates to its external context and is surrounded by a desolate environment with some semblance of vegetation. The lack of picturesque growth emphasizes the human desire to display their romanticized view of nature. The relationship between figure and ground, is reiterated in the interior by posing the question, what constitutes a landscape?


Landscapes are normally thought of as being a horizontal plane with a variety of vegetation operating as an ecosystem. Since our object’s form is ambiguous from the ground, the figure itself can be perceived as ground, and the vertical growth and natural wilds that self organize throughout the interior could be considered a landscape. The multitude of microbiomes each constitute a part of the interior and the ecology of parts, interrelated to one another, produce an ecosystem. 


In deterritorializing the human influence, orthogonal elements and organization are decontextualized and rearticulated as the basis for the organic matter’s self-organization. The transition from picturesque growth to unfamiliar nature to pristine machinery is generated from over-imposed human control. The variety of vegetation is the subsequent response from nature, with self-organization produced from natural wilds. 


bottom of page