Van Alen Institute is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition AESTHETICS OF CROSSING, on view at the Institute from Wednesday, July 1 – Friday, July 24, 2009.
Pairing projects by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects and Kadambari Baxi and Irene Cheng, the exhibition examines border crossing points and the people who pass through them—provoking viewers to reconsider the physical and aesthetic dimensions of the ways that nation-states regulate and shape individuals’ movements, statuses, and identities.
“Land Ports of Entry” (Smith-Miller + Hawkinson ) highlights the materiality of surveillance and openness in the firm's designs for two recently built U.S. border stations that facilitate the inspection and control of passenger and commercial vehicles traversing the border between the United States and Canada. As both ceremonial gateways and sites of surveillance and regulation, the ports paradoxically must convey a sense of both openness and security. The architects use aesthetics—particularly material effects of transparency, translucency, and opacity—to navigate the ambiguities of the program and to gesture toward each building’s complex geopolitical landscape.
“Citizenship by Design” (Kadambari Baxi and Irene Cheng ) is a public art project that interrogates citizenship in a globalized age. By inspecting the aesthetics of artifacts such as international passports, identification technologies, and regulations on naturalization and travel, and by remixing the graphic elements of these artifacts into multinational hybrids, the project calls attention to the ways citizenship is ‘designed’—and how it might be reimagined—in an era of proliferating global crossings.
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