Know Sean Starowitz through the energies, intelligences, and challenges of his work: Compost Post, Co-Workers, Bosses & Supervisors: A Design Show, Office Works, Plywood Palaces, S’mores vending cart, Trade Show, and notably, his SPEAK! project as conducted at the BFA opening at the Kansas City Art Institute and on the streets of Chicago.
January/February 2010. “Leftovers: Spaces, Materials, People” show curated by Wes Janz for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Indiana. The exhibition complemented the small architecture BIG LANDSCAPES show at the Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana, February 5 – March 10, 2010.
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The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana promotes critical reflection and constructive debate about the most important ethical questions: What is right, just, and good, and what must human beings do — now and in the future — to meet their moral responsibilities? The Institute seeks to explore with DePauw students the moral challenges of the 21st Century and encourage them not to remain silent in the face of injustice. The photo is of “Leisure Mountain,” a large sculptural work constructed from hundreds of vintage aluminum lawn chairs. It was created by the artists Academy Records, SIMPARCH and Chris Vorhees, located in the rear courtyard of the Richard E. Peeler Art Center at DePauw University, and commissioned for the 2007 DePauw Biennial.
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Millions of people–it might be one-half of the world’s population–build and repair houses made of scavenged materials, live in unauthorized dwellings located in the leftover spaces of surging ‘anticities,’ and most certainly are seen by others (and themselves) as residue, debris, the overproduction of society. Time is critical here … people’s well-being is at stake. Time also is of little concern … no matter what is done, the suffering will continue. And time is running out … each of us will soon be gone.
This paper asks: What does it matter to be an architect in a living world?
To address this question, an arbor being constructed in the author’s backyard (2001 to present day) is described and interpreted. It is built of found materials and is impermanent, incomplete, and in need of constant repair.
To be involved in the world and work as self-builders is to find–and in some cases, to re-find–the passions for helping others and making with our own hands that brought most of us to architecture in the first place.
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The graduate thesis done by Brad McKinney, “An Architecture of Total Loss: Building Learning Communities, Growing Learning Spaces,” voices the story of siting and constructing a hidden, ‘squatted studio’ space within a bridge superstructure over the White River in downtown Anderson, Indiana. It includes interpretations of this ‘build-design-build’ project; a field study (CapAsia) in Sri Lanka with faculty and students from the University of Moratuwa; and the author’s work alongside undergraduate design students and faculty colleagues at Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana. With his thesis, Brad documents and extends occasions of experience that inform a pedagogy of total loss teaching. The ‘squatted studio’ is presented as architectural form and practice congruent with a total loss approach to learning understood by these statements: there is nothing to gain by total loss teaching and there is no profit in it — waste nothing, and make use of everything at hand. The subversive transformation of materials and space by communities of learners illuminates the affects of total loss teaching.
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