An installation currently on display at the SCI-Arc Gallery, Immuring by David Clovers, is championing the modern-day fresco. Curious about the forms and the computational development behind this carefully choreographed wall-and-light dance, I chatted with architects Clover Lee and David Erdman about agitation, inspiration, and future exploration.
I'm very interested about this word you chose, immuring. What exactly does it mean in connection with this project?
Erdman: Immuring is a verb, as in something is 'immured', and it essentially refers to how elements relate to a wall or mass. For instance, columns that are neither totally detached or totally embedded.
Lee: We chose the word because our work is a series of experiments that look at states of agitation -- texturing, line work, windows being cut in, popped out...where your perception of the immuring is constantly changing.
I've heard that these experiments emerged from one of your recent projects, the Lunar House designed for Hometta?
Erdman: Yes, these are indeed full-scale prototypes that materialized from the Lunar House. So far, We're working with two sets of three wall prototypes, and one set of them consists of three identical panels of identical 'fresco' mapped to their surfaces.
Can you explain the form and configuration of the flower-like, Shanghai-soup-dumpling-esque piece?
Lee: Yes, that is made from Corian, and it displays a fiber optic lighting system as well. It's arranged in that manner for a deliberate massive reading of the structure.
How are these walls customizable? Are they site-specific?
Erdman: We're envisioning a fairly generic suburban lot, about 50-feet-by-100-feet, and so these walls can be customized with a range of limits. There are different options for homeowners to develop the fresco: degrees of agitation, a spectrum of window sizes, etc.
Lee: It's designed as a concave form, and we use computational methods to deal with corners and negotiate windows. We're also developing a material palette, experimenting with a glass fiber reinforced material, along with the Corian.
This is a question that's come up frequently in this discourse: What is the relationship between the computational process and the resulting form?
Lee: We're collaborating with C.E.B. Reas, an LA–based artist who co-developed the open source programming language Processing. It's an evolving software platform with which to design and manipulate carving and contouring.
Erdman: The way that the lines grow and behave from corners and edges, develop into and between the panels, interface with windows—we play with all of these knobs computationally in a fully customizable platform.
So what else is in the future for davidclovers and your collaboration with Reas? Do you see Immuring as something that will move beyond the Lunar House?
Lee: We're pushing the research as far as we can. The wall panels will be on display at the Hong Kong Pavilion at the Venice Biennale at the end of August, and the Corian will be at the ICA in Chicago in the near future.
Erdman: We're actually working with Reas to use Processing as a new platform, and explore our methods at different scales. It's like as if Reas is a composer laying down the score, and Clover and I are the ones figuring out how to perform it.