Separated by forty years, but sharing a similar narrative of destruction and economic volatility, a77 mobilized to reconsider building within an unstable world. Partners Gustavo Diéguez and Lucas Gilardi designed Colonyin the MoMA PS1 outdoor courtyard as a stage set where artists, architects, designers, and scholars were invited to communally live and work. For PS1, the architects reimagined such challenges to find new alternatives to the conventional house (fig. 2). The installation incorporated recycled and salvaged materials to create temporary housing which privileged economy, practicality, and improvisation (fig. 3).
It was raining on Colony when I visited, but it was hard not to sense the optimism and in some sense, the fantasy, that it evoked. Most notably, the installation focused on process rather than product and preferenced nuance, rather than form. Here, past utopias were re-tuned to reigning paradigms with updated values that trace their origins to the 1960s counter-culture and its back-to-the-earth simplicity. While the first ecological movement resisted Space Age modernism and technological advancement at all costs, Colony embraced a shared sensibility through a renewed and less naïve filter. Installed like a vignette from a Summer of Love campsite in Woodstock, Colony offered a decidedly un-monumental view of future living as the utopian vision for society. Trailers, tents, solar-powered showers, hydroponic gardens, and a low-tech kitchen were blended together to engage both the social and the sustainable parameters of performance.(fig. 4) Sunscreen curtains were hung atmospherically over this makeshift refugee art camp, focusing a narrative while shielding the space from the elements.(fig. 5) The ensemble evoked the performance-based shop windows commissioned for Barney’s and designed by fashion icon Daphne Guinness.