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Jr Gang Chi and Lisa Hsieh

5:30 pm / Banvard Gallery Talk
April 17, 2009 - 5:30pm

TOY TALK: UNPLUGGED ARCHITECTURE BY JR-GANG CHI AND LISA HSIEH
An exhibition featured in the Banvard Gallery in the Knowlton School of Architecture

Gallery Talk: Jr-Gang Chi and Lisa Hsieh, April 17 at 5:30pm. Reception to follow.

Suppose that architecture acts, effecting changes in space in time.

Toy Talk proposes an unplugged architecture that, comparable to the spontaneous play of unplugged music, underscores three spatial characters: spatial improvisation (architecture as inventive and interactive), spatial action (architecture as action rather than the backdrop for action), and spatial low-res (architecture set in slow motion by bodily interventions instead of motors, sensors and chips).

In the gallery, it is immediately apparent that something is odd. Thursday afternoon serenity fills the air.  Close by toys MM and ML stretch out in repose. Yet Friday comes, shifting the mood decisively. The room is now in disarray. Other times the change is just subtle. ML turns a head. MM clams up, dims a little. MM and ML exchange places… Such slight transformations provoke doubt: are they happening in the imagination of the beholder or is architecture actually improvising?

Toy Talk creates a space of matrixes. The impromptu play among the toy-matrixes yields a room-matrix that continually mutates. Each toy-matrix contains three variables. In one variable, the toys wheel about the room in the x-y direction. In another variable, MM fans out (to a maximum of 180 degrees) while ML spins, folds and unfolds. In still another, one toy glows at varying light intensities, and the other transmits sounds and images. Just these variables (and the placement of the Doors and XVs) delimit a context in which the toys speak and perform.

Consequently, Toy Talk presents a matrix of unexpected play, sudden activities and changing plans. Here program is predicated upon verbs instead of nouns—wait, walk, view, play, and talk—and a space that, through these verb changes, mutates in a fitful, erratic fashion. Each visitor will receive but a disparate glimpse of the exhibition. At times little happens. At times multiple moves are compressed to the space of one turn of the clock’s hour hand. In this way, the show transforms continually, fixed and frozen only momentarily, yet never to an absolute end.