Artists and designers have long been fascinated with and unsettled by parametric architecture, a computer-based mode of design that uses algorithms to generate geometry based on a list of given parameters. The impersonal nature of this digital design often produces a set of repetitive and monotonous formal possibilities, leaving little room for human ‘error’ or contingency.
Adina Popescu’s solo exhibition Equitable Life, which opened at Autocenter last week, attempts to put parametric design to the test. Popescu worked together with architect Thomas Rüegger to create a 3D office interior, modeled after a modern ‘new economy’ building and fictionally developed as a life insurance company called Equitable Life.
The exhibition presents a trailer, a commercial and an initial prototype of her set design. The human body – in this case, a woman’s spine – is used as inspiration for the design’s surface. Popescu’s work serves as a commentary on the way in which parametric design neutralizes all objects, including the human body, into its digital parameters. She has introduced certain aberrations into the design in order to create mutations in the otherwise uniform products. Her trailer subtly introduces a dystopian impression into the architecture of the office tower, the “gothic cathedral of capitalism.”
Blog entry by Alison Hugill in Berlin; Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013.