Minimaforms (Theo Spyropoulos) et Krzysztof Wodiczko


Theodore Spyropoulos (1976), an architect with dual Greek and American nationality, is currently teaching at the Architectural Association in London, where he himself studied. He continued his training at the Bartlett School of Architecture and at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, then he worked in the Peter Eisenman Agency and the Zaha Hadid Architects Agency. In 2002 he set up the Minimaforms Agency in London with his brother Stephen and developed an experimental praxis of architecture closely related to the new forms of communication. His projects have to do with the design of objects, and the creation of environments and spatial structures, and focus on interactive and evolutionary processes to achieve the creation of atmospheres altering our perceptive consciousness of space. In October 2008, Memory Cloud was a hybrid environment installed in Trafalgar Square for three nights. In it, text messages sent by the public were projected onto layers of smoke used as the dynamic support for a collective text written in real time. The projects titled Becoming Animal (2011), exploring the myth of Cerberus, guardian of Hell, and Facebreeder, a machine for processing the portraits of visitors as a database for a composite portrait, explore forms of “conversations” to create an at once ordinary and monstrous collective identity. The work of Minimaforms is regularly exhibited around the world. A monograph was published in 2010 by the AA Press: another book dealing with the research conducted within the AADRL came out in 2011.

Krzysztof Wodiczko was born in Poland in 1943. From his training as a designer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and his experience in a State –run optics factory, he retained a liking for designing objects as well as a keen critical awareness “regarding the ideological dimension of the machine” (Guy Tortosa). One of his early works, Personal Instrument (1969) opened the way to research involving alternative objects, situated somewhere between design, public art and visual arts, which, for him, are “artifices”. Wodiczko’s approach strives to provide the aesthetic, functional and symbolic means capable of dressing the psycho-social wounds of society’s victims and oppressed people, guaranteeing their survival, and reintroducing a dialogue between social groups. His works, which are invariably designed to be “inhabited” and tested, find their meaning in the street and are addressed to the homeless, immigrants, and drop-outs. Making what is private both audible and visible in the public place (Homeless Vehicles, 1988; The Immigrant’s Stick, 1992; Spokesperson, 1995; a series of projections on public monuments all over the world) thus represents an attempt to put life back into the city as a proper space of democracy. The whole of Wodiczko’s work deals with the confiscated word and alienation, the political dimension of language, power, the media, collective memory, the city, and the body. His œuvre has been shown in many international exhibitions, including the Sao Paolo Biennale (1965, 1967, 1985), documenta (1977, 1987), the Venice Biennale (1986, 2000) and the Whitney Biennale (2000). In 1999, Wodiczko was awarded the Hiroshima Art Prize, and in 2004 he won the College Art Association Prize.

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