Cheyney Thompson showed in the exhibition and Materials and Money and Crisis last year at the Mumok in Vienna. There’s something very compelling about his re-appropriation of economic theory into a generative algorithm, something that both highlights the lack of predictability of the economic system while producing seductively intricate forms. The conceptual driver of Thompson’s work is an analogy made by mathematician Louis Bachelier in 1900, describing economics as taking a random or drunken walk. Thompson simulates this walk by algorithmically moving a cube and preserving its path. Some of the more interesting forms are the ones that collapse under their own weight, essentially finding their form through their own structural failure.
Thompson’s algorithms of contingency are refreshingly amoral compared to the almost fundamentalist algorithms of architectural optimization. There is no concern towards structural or material efficiency, simply a serial generation of form. Performative criteria doesn’t matter, it just simply does.
Last week was a big week for Urban Air, being published in The Architect’s Newspaper, SHFT, co.exist, and the Huffington Post– twice. I had the pleasure of helping Stephen Glassman with some of the images on this project, and it’s really amazing to see how much momentum it has gained.
The idea of the project is to turn billboards into greenboards- armatures for vegetation within a typically barren urban condition. The first one, set to be installed in Los Angeles, will replace advertising with bamboo, water, and wifi that provides information on the project and the climate. It’s a great idea, and half way through their kickstarter campaign, they’ve raised over $30,000.
Yatsuaki Onishi’s Reverse Of Volume was a remarkable installation at the Rice Gallery last summer. Onishi piled cardboard boxes on top of each other to provide the frame work for delicate plastic wrap, which was affixed to the ceiling by thousands of strands of black hot wax. The result is a incredible envelope, enabled by a form finding process through imprecise elements. It’s an incredible process, and both of the videos here are very much worth watching.