Margaret McCurry Lecture in the Design Arts: Vito Acconci, “Into & Through & Out of Landscape”
Vito Acconci’s design & architecture comes from another direction, from backgrounds of writing & art. His poems in the late 60’s treated words as matter & the page as a field to move over; his performances in the early 70’s shifted art from object to interaction; his installations in the later 70’s turned museums & galleries into community-meetings. By the late 80’s his work crossed over & he formed Acconci Studio, a design firm that mixes poetry & geometry, computer-scripting & sentence-structure, narrative & biology, chemistry & social-science. They treat architecture not as nodes but as circulation-routes & about time as much as about space; they make spaces fluid, changeable & portable; they design buildings that slip into landscape & vice versa, but they start with clothing & end with vehicles; they make architecture subservient to people & not vice versa — they anticipate cities on the move. Built in the last decade are, in Graz, a person-made island; in Tokyo, a clothing store as soft as clothing; in Coney Island an elevated subway-station facade that waves & bulges to make views & seats. About to be built, in Indianapolis, is an interactive tunnel through a building; in Toronto, a building-complex fence that twists & rises up the building to make wind-screens, & splits to make public-places. They’re designing now, near Eindhoven, a meditation park around an archeological site; in Luzerne, a portable retractable roof; in Santiago, a plaza divided into cluster-places for self-organization.