Surface Tension, Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art, Smout Allen

Nevada Museum of Art Exhibition, Smout Allen, Reno Show, Geoff Manaugh

Surface Tension : Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art

Smout Allen Exhibition, Reno, Nevada, USA

Oct 19, 2011

SURFACE TENSION Exhibition

A KINETIC INSTALLATION

BY SMOUT ALLEN
LANDSCAPE FUTURES: INSTRUMENTS, DEVICES, AND ARCHITECTURAL INVENTIONS
NEVADA MUSEUM OF ART, RENO, NV, USA
AUGUST 13, 2011 – FEBRUARY 12, 2012
GUEST CURATED BY GEOFF MANAUGH (BLDGBLOG)

Smout Allen, architectural designers, researchers and university lecturers have been commissioned by the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, USA, to produce the centrepiece installation for their current exhibition “Landscape Futures: Instruments, Devices, and Architectural Inventions”.

SURFACE TENSION Surface Tension Exhibition Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art
photos from Laura Allen & Mark Smout

SURFACE TENSION is a vertically organised network of more than 2,000 individual parts suspended from the ceiling. Cranked mechanisms, computational devices, gold space blankets and counterbalanced kinetic switches pulse through undulations and waves that mimic the droughts, rains, surges, and floods of the planet‘s hydrological cycle. Subject to its own internal tides, Surface Tension might best be understood as a technological landscape: both animated and annotated with complex recording devices.

In their related proposals for ‘neonatures’ in Lanzarote, the River Severn, and an unnamed fictional metropolis of the future, Mark Smout and Laura Allen have produced mechanical prototypes that make visible the processes through which water is managed and distributed worldwide. Smout Allen‘s work makes a coherent if magical machine out of the everyday technologies of water.

Guest curator Geoff Manaugh says of the show: “the overall idea is to look at how the landscapes around us— natural and artificial, urban and geologic, aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric— are interpreted, filtered, or otherwise augmented by instruments, devices, and machines. In the process, the exhibition asks how these systems can transform the ways human beings understand and inhabit the planet: The exhibition puts all this into the context of landscape architecture and architecture more broadly—all the way up to the scale of infrastructure. We‘re looking at what artists and architects can design that would further transform how we understand and interact with the landscapes around us.”

SURFACE TENSION Surface Tension Exhibition Exhibition at Nevada Museum of Art
photos from Laura Allen & Mark Smout

The emerging concept and logistical model of “Peak Water” underlines water’s significance as a future capital resource. In the context of global population increase, the ‘water grab’ for energy and food production (alongside altered agricultural uses, which rely on nonsustainable methods of irrigation), puts an inconceivable strain on the megacities and rural communities of the developing world. The increased entanglement of the natural and the technological will inevitably lead to an infrastructural landscape of mass production and distribution networks, conflicts and further disparity between the haves and the havenots. This is apparent even in London where the city is preparing for a future of water scarcity and stress.

The “SURFACE TENSION” installation is a balanced network of devices analogous to the essential natural processes of the hydrological cycle, as well as the ebb and flow of tides and the motion of waves. It occupies the central volume of the gallery, organised vertically in a series of layers through eight metres from floor to ceiling.

ANTHROPOGENIC LANDSCAPES AND ‘TECHNO-NATURES’, an architectural landscape is suspended above the wave platforms. This is a representation of an ‘architectural oasis’ sited in a near future suburban or periurban location in an imagined extended metropolitan area running along the Thames through the marshes to Rainham and beyond to Tilbury. The proposal is an architectural, infrastructural and technological landscape that manages, distributes and displays water—river flood, sea surges and rain fall. It deals with the commodity of water and concentrates and localises the infrastructure as an alternative to the extensive and embedded systems global cites rely on. It adapts a selection of technological systems and integrates them into an architectural infrastructure as inhabitable spaces. The ephemeral, intangible and mythical nature of water is deployed and materialised in the form of rainbows, glories, halos and clouds in and around the sites.

BIOGRAPHY, Smout Allen scrutinise and interpret the urban and rural landscape, its reaction and adaptation to natural environmental events and the ‘artificial’ influence of man. ‘The Retreating Village’, which proposes a peripatetic architecture for a disintegrating coastline has been commented on and published widely. They have recently published the best-selling Augmented Landscapes in the renowned Pamphlet Architecture series, in 2005 they received the Award for Architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. Laura Allen and Mark Smout are tutors at the Bartlett School, UCL

SURFACE TENSION Exhibition images / information from Laura Allen & Mark Smout


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Comments / photos for the Surface Tension – Nevada Museum of Art Exhibition page welcome

Nevada Museum of Art Exhibition – page

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