The Open Space (Andrew, Lauren, Steven) . . .


This link is to the video documentation of a trandisplinary happening collaboratively generated by Andrew Hurley (RCID-packaging science), Lauren Mitchell (RCID-architecture), and Steven Holmes (RCID-rhetoric).

The O P E N Space:

The Open Space installation was created in response to Martin Heidegger’s essay, “What art poets for?” and Jacques Derrida’s and D.Diane Davis’ writing on hospitality. Cynthia Haynes, instructor of record for this RCID doctoral seminar on “Electrate Hospitality” (Fall 2010) challenged her students to unbuild the inhospitable.  Our goal was the creation of sites of hospitality that revealed the liminal zone of (im)materialization between unconditional and conditional hospitality to the Other. Through the process of subjecting each student’s disciplinary knowledge (architecture, packaging science, and rhetorical theory) to interdisciplinary collaborative invention, a transdiplinary product reducible to no one participant’s specific interests or discipline emerged. The consensus was that each wanted to ‘build’ a physical structure and each was able to contribute a unique element of the overall artistic vision.
Within this collaborative project, a ubiquitous architectural threshold was used to exaggerate the many cognitive thresholds required in order to digest theoretical discussions surrounding hospitality. The spatial installation considered the boundary as that from which something begun its presencing in lieu of a moment at which something stops. Visitors to the installation were hailed, asked to select a weapon of their choice, and invited to enter the structure.  Each space folded within a space took form as a series of doors with enigmatic symbols that articulated a variety of relationships to the Other. Each choice engaged new choices that asked entrants to contemplate their relationship to identity, to avataring, to Being.
Lauren’s reflections: we each brought some expertise into this collaboration. We also were intentionally non-hierarchical in our decision-making. Thus, the project made progress in transforming each of the fields of Packaging Science, Architecture, and Rhetorics. It was a joy to be a part of this project, and the class.
Steve’s reflections: I kept referring to it poorly as a “deconstructed video game” or “whatever the Object’s equivalent of the video-game-w/o-organs would be”.  Non-circuitous algorithms in space, maybe. I’m still in the process of trying to determine what exactly this thing means to us.  A spatial pedagogy? A chance reflection upon Latour’s actor-network theory?

Andrew’s reflections: From an engineering perspective, this project remixed traditional manufacturing processes and equipment in unique and novel ways. Mixing art, architecture and packaging science within the Rhetorics bowl created a marvelous soup. 
This specific installation was made possible with a generous donation from Pratt Industries (Greenville, SC).  The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University generously volunteered its space, equipment and rendering facilities. The project is still ongoing and in the process of entering a textual-journal conversation aimed, the authors hope, at JAC along the lines of the rhetorical-pedagogical implications for trandisciplinary projects.


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