Curated by Matt Distel
SIMPARCH's Gloom and Doom, is the first CAC commissioned, site-specific work presented in Kaplan Hall. Using readily-available consumer products, SIMPARCH has dramatically intervened into the architecture of the CAC. Acoustic ceiling tiles, a mundane symbol of advanced building systems, are deployed in the shape of a B-2 Stealth bomber, a symbol of advanced military weaponry and national pride. The imposing, suspended form, constructed of a ubiquitous office material calls into question the gap between military-industrial and consumer product technologies.
Gloom and Doom presents an architectural overlay that conceals the building's structure while revealing the invisible barriers that alter our perception of the built environment. SIMPARCH's project uses the visual language of uniform building materials – a drop ceiling – to disrupt the uniformity of the CAC, metaphorically and physically protecting and destroying how this public space is perceived, interpreted, and used. The original aesthetic intent of the lobby space is violated even as it is improved acoustically.
A sound composition, Tactile Air, provided by Steve Rowell, combines sonic booms and captured audio streams from the early days of conflict in Baghdad, Iraq in March of 2003. The sonic booms were recorded in the Mojave Desert beneath R-2508 Special Use Airspace Complex that includes the R-2515 High Altitude Supersonic Corridor. According to the department of public relations at Edwards Air Force Base the R-2515 is an area that: "has intense test traffic [which] may include live bombings and airdrops..., lifting body experiments..., all imaginable types of flight testing to include supersonic flight on a daily basis, 4 spin areas, and flight training for the USAF Test Pilot School. This area is active at all times." Tactile Air provides a sonic overlay that reinterprets unnatural atmospheric phenomenon.
SIMPARCH, a contraction of the words “simple” and “architecture,” is an artist collective based in Cincinnati and Chicago. As their name implies, SIMPARCH creates installations that present alternatives to conventional building processes. Architecture becomes a conduit and a location for discourse.
The collaborative has recently completed projects at the Tate Modern, London; InSite, San Diego, Tijuana, Mexico; 2004 Whitney Biennial, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and a permanent installation, Clean Livin’, for the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, UT.