virtual artists/virtual architecture

RMB City is an installation of "virtual city planning" created by Chinese artist Cao Fei, AKA China Tracy, in Second Life, a landscape that is a parody of contemporary Chinese culture - a giant panda swinging on a crane counterweighted by OMA's CCTV building, for instance, and a commentary on the intensive urban hyper-capitalist development taking place across China:

"RMB City will be the condensed incarnation of contemporary Chinese cities with most of their characteristics; a series of new Chinese fantasy realms that are highly self-contradictory, inter-permeative, laden with irony and suspicion, and extremely entertaining and pan-political. China's current obsession with land development in all its intensity will be extended to Second Life. A rough hybrid of communism, socialism and capitalism, RMB City will be realized in a globalized digital sphere combining overabundant symbols of Chinese reality with cursory imaginings of the country's future."

In true "post-post-" fashion, you can see the documentary of the opening for China Tracy Pavilion in Second Life from June 2007, created as part of her participation in the rl Venice Biennale.

An exhibition featuring the latest iteration of the RMB City project continues at Lombard-Freid Projects in NYC until April 5, 2008.

panel presentation

Representational Engagement with Urban Space: Responses to the National Gallery’s exhibition
Art and Society

Saturday, March 8 @ 5:00 pm Kamloops Art Gallery

Representational Engagement with Urban Space has been conceived as a forum to consider the KAG’s feature exhibition Art and Society in Canada 1913-1950, organised and circulated by the National Gallery of Canada, in relation to contemporary art, urban development, and quality of life in Canadian cities. The ideals and legacies of socially engaged arts groups, the Group of Seven, the Social Realists, and Les Automatistes, are discussed by three diverse Canadian scholars and researchers with the Small Cities CURA: Shauna McCabe (Newfoundland/New Brunswick), Andrew Hunter (Ontario), and Bruce Baugh (British Columbia). Sponsored by the Small Cities Community-University Research Alliance, Thompson Rivers University, in collaboration with the Kamloops Art Gallery. Free admission.


visualising process: Ed Burtynsky on documenting Shim-Sutcliffe's Integral House

imagineacity - installation views:
introduction + Ed Burtynsky - Integral House site photograph
wall (l-r) Shim-Sutcliffe Architects - Integral House (Toronto) process drawings; Ed Burtynsky - Integral House site photography; MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple - Canadian High Commission, Dhaka, Bangladesh (process drawings)

imagineacity - installation views:
Shim-Sutcliffe Architects - Integral House (Toronto) process drawings;
Ed Burtynsky - Integral House site photography

The Integral House sits at the edge of a Toronto ravine, a residential project that re-imagines boundaries of public and private, cultural and natural, monumental and intimate. Commissioned by Dr. James Stewart, calculus scholar and musician, the structure was to be not only a personal dwelling, but also a social venue for music and performance. Addressing unique contextual factors, situating the house in relationship to the strangely urban condition of Toronto ravines, architects Brigitte Shim and Harold Sutcliffe infused architectural design with sculptural form to convey a sense of connection to the unique qualities of site. Moving beyond a model of architecture as a neutral grid or box, the geometry of the design is dominated by the curve as it descends into the ravine, manifest in details such as an undulating perimeter wall and reflecting pool at the base, reiterating the structure’s natural context.

A unique record of the demolition and construction process was produced by photographer Ed Burtynsky, who documented the evolution of the house. One of Canada's most respected photographers, Burtynsky is best known for his depictions of global industrial landscapes that examine nature transformed through industry, transposing the raw elements of mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, oil production and recycling into highly expressive visions, seeking out sites that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning.

Burtynsky was commissioned by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects to document the construction of the 18,000 square foot home on the Rosedale Valley ravine and to produce the architectural photography of the site development. Burtynsky offered insight into his visual approach to the architectural construction as an industrial site, in this CBC interview on site with Shelagh Rogers in 2005, going into year 2 of documentation of the project.