Temporary Insanity: The New Built Environment

So, Lammie, Mr. Greene and I attended the Temporary Insanity lecture at LACMA last week. While the night started out promising, it eventually lost most of our attention because it ended up feeling a bit like a plug for the speakers. I’m pretty sure by the point someone talked about the “ephemerality” of some thing or another, we were pretty much done.

The night wasn’t a complete loss, however, as I learned about some cool new things that I’ll share with you. It was neat to hear about some of the innovative ways a new generation of artists/architects/designers are blurring the lines and pushing the boundaries of their craft.

One of the panelists was Jenna Didier, Co-Founder of M&A (Materials & Applications). While I had seen photos of some of the projects they’ve hosted, I hadn’t been aware of their existence. We were pretty excited to learn about this outdoor exhibition space and that they were so close (Silverlake)! All their installations are out there for public viewing 24/7.

The current installation is called “Bloom” and is a 20 foot tall shiny metal ‘flower’ who’s skin will open and close with the heat of the sun. Totally want to check this out.


Bloom at M&A



The second panelist was Ben Ball from Ball-Nogues Studio. I’d definitely recommend you check out their site for some of the cool stuff they’ve done, including the silver balls at Santa Monica Place that locals might be familiar with.

This piece below is an installation they did at M&A called “Maximillian’s Schell.” Wish I could’ve seen it — must’ve been spectacular.


Maximilian's Schell at M&A



And the third panelist was Jenny Wu (my personal favorite speaker) from Oyler Wu Collaborative, a firm she started with her husband. It was neat to find out they were the firm that made reALIze a…er.. reality. Another exciting young company pushing further ideas of design and materials.

Below was a temporary installation called “Live Wire” that is actually a staircase.


Live Wire at SCI-Arc


Live Wire at SCI-Arc


An illuminating takeaway from this lecture was the importance and benefit of temporary installations in the way they allow designers/architects to test out ideas, designs, and various materials which then could inform their architectural designs and future projects. And while it can be heartbreaking to have their installations eventually be torn down, Jenny, for example, noted how the Live Wire staircase was perfect as a temporary installation as it probably wouldn’t have lasted beyond its 6 month life span, but allowed them to experiment in a way that more permanent buildings could not.



2 Comments to “Temporary Insanity: The New Built Environment”

  1. in retrospect, it was an amazing lecture and I agree, we learned a lot. I was turned off at the time, but I’m so glad we went! You did, however, forget to mention the delicious drink you had at starks!!!

    • yep, i realized how much we had actually learned when i did this recap post… when you filter out the “ephemerality”. haha. omg, yes! i need to learn that drink. one of the most comforting drinks i’ve had in a while.

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