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Invited Distinguished Professor:

Nate Hume.


Gabriel Esquivel,  Studio Professor

Texas A&M University


Team: Sophia Kountakis, Kendall Slaughter, Sami Simmons, Kira Elkins.

This project argues against the strict binary oppositions of the alien and the familiar to explore strange while working in the realm of both/and. Value is found in the both/and by the alteration of formal normatives to establish a new allure through the agents of hybridized materiality, field and figure, and interior/exterior relationships. New materials are created by misreading the results of physical casting tests and translating them in to a hybridized texture map with recognizable forms of canonical architectural materiality. Texture’s ontology becomes a intermediary for estrangement and familiarity.


The project also diverges from traditional figure/ground or figure/figure relationships. Instead, the ensemble operates in terms of figure and field. Field behavior is not seen in a traditional sense such as some examples argued in Stan Allen “Field Conditions.” The fields do not follow a Cartesian grid; furthermore, the object does not simply insert itself into a field either. The interaction between field and figure is instead dependent on its undecidability between a static and kinetic relationship. In one instance, field objects depend on the geometry of the figures as a guide for its path. Other times, field directions completely disregard existing geometry as a boundary


The grounding, posture, and form of the major masses in the ensemble work with the various field objects in encapsulating and framing an exterior figural void space which we have termed “the three-dimensional courtyard.” Its presence exists not in a definite outside of the object but a moment of in-between capture a moment of this un-fixability. The space is not organized in the classic sense of objects surrounding a void, but instead establishes a new type of interior/exterior relationship.


Issues in today’s nutrition problems stem from the defamiliarization of humans to nature, ie obesity, food scarcity, un-sanitary manufacturing/production practices. The program of Food Science in this project is seen as a transitive object in an autopoietic machine that contains both nature and cultural objects without strictly centering the human. This autopoietic machine challenges the traditional notion of pastoral agriculture and maintains a constant state transformation due to multiple agents; the courtyard, as well as the ground condition that suggests an ungrounding from object to landscape, and the transformation of raw materials into something new through research. This transformation is represented through an aesthetic regime inspired by El Bulli and its initiative in exploring food as an object that is subverts formal function. Food is no longer produced for human convenience and commodity, but is now able to explore an unmarked territory of aesthetics.


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