Reading time: 2 minutes
80m2 Livia Benavides, Lima, Perú
April 15, 2015 – May 30, 2015
The installation involves the presentation of continuously evolving processes associated with the production of the artisanal brick. In the external gallery entrance, a fully functional furnace is found, and upon whose roof exudes a galvanized steel duct system used to expel the heat and smoke emitted from the kiln. The duct system tunnel enters through one of the gallery windows, meandering the entirety of the space, breaking through from room-to-room as means of dispersion of actual and symbolic energy.
Spread out and individually presented in each room are the diverse processes involved in the manufacturing procedure of the brick; from the ground material, the pass-through shifter, the mold making, natural drying of the brick to finally the firing within the kiln. A friction of two archetypes emerges from this exhibition; on one side is the industrial modernist (piping) system and on the other is the pre-modernist handcraft of brickmaking. Within the pre-modern Andean culture, the earth used within the construction of homes is considered a symbolic source of life. Alternately, the use of the metal duct system references to an overt industrialization of resource extraction and manipulation, thereby marking a transition towards a detached modernized method of being.
Each week throughout the duration of the show, 500 new bricks are made. There is no exact reference as to who is producing them, but traces of their elaboration keep appearing; this includes notes, tests, structural plans, etc. Geometric structures from the newly produced bricks are gradually erected within the gallery space, being built across the central corridor and forming barriers. These structures are reproductions of designs employed in contemporary urban architecture for crowd control, containing and conducting mass movement therefore alluding to an imposed model of authoritarian power. For example, airport security queuing system, riot control maneuvers, etc.
How do we conceive the ideal of productivity and progress? Smoke Architecture suggests rather than an emancipatory flow of free human potential made available by our capacities of construction – an effort that uses nothing else but our hands, feet, the earth and fire – that an alternative kind of will power is being examined; one that aims to restrict the visitor’s transit and impose a predetermined direction, a form and experience showing us the policing of the imagination.