2016 Cornell Council for the Arts Biennial: Abject/Object Empathies

With fewer than 90 days to go until the 3rd edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale we admittedly have biennales on our mind. We thank one of our 2012 design interns, Chi-Chi Lin, for bringing this one to our attention.

The Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) is a campus wide organization that promotes collaboration and artistic experimentation to inspire innovative and challenging projects by students, faculty, departments and programs from all disciplines. The focus of the 2016 CCA Biennial 

is on the cultural production of empathyThe upcoming biennial will address the ways in which feeling is form and explore how the objects, buildings, clothing, machines, languages, and images we construct are shaped by our intentional or implicit emotional, interdependent relationship to others. Whether by framing a connection that already exists or by providing the condition for new connections, what we create can either merely extend our own personal desires, goals, and directives, or can alternatively function as a bridge between who I am and who you are so that aesthetic experiences are interdependent, collaboratively generated and inherently reciprocal.

The 2016 CCA Biennial includes 12 new projects by artists working with a range of mediums and disciplines – from large scale installations that blur the line between architecture and art,  to musical, dramatic or cinematic experiences. One example is the  Arts Quad sculpture below: “Urchin,” built from 360 plastic deck chairs by Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning assistant professor of architecture Caroline O’Donnell (created by her design firm CODA and student assistants).

Urchin rethinks the common plastic chair whose aggregation forms a space in which the chair itself loses its meaning as an object that affords sitting and becomes instead an architectural surface whose formal and material qualities are allowed to come to the fore: it is white, porous, spikey, etc. before it is a chair. While playful, the larger project explores our perception of and our relationship with objects in the world, as well as the possibilities of using alternative materials in architectural practice, particularly materials that are often considered to be waste. This interaction provokes a questioning in the subject, a question that returns to the issue of affordance: how might we use and mis-use things in ways other than the way in which they were originally designed?

The 2016 CCA Biennial will run from September 16 – December 22nd, 2016.

Read more about all the amazing projects here or here.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s