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  • Desert House


    ann arbor MICHIGAN

    Willard A. Oberdick Fellowship Project
    Taubman College, University of Michigan

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
    Hans TURSACK: The project investigates contingencies of super-graphics and scars…

    …where the first misreads tridimensionality and the second misplaces it. The formal argument of the Desert House project begins with a cube conceptualized as a flat, unfolded box, composed of six, two-dimensional surfaces. Each surface is structured with a grid, and understood as a graphic problem. Taking a cue from Swiss Modernist graphic design manuals, the surfaces of the box are cast as improvisatory games where particulate elements are distributed within the bounds of a sixteen or nine-square grid. Four drawings, nine elevation studies, two furniture elements and a short pamphlet construct a visual narrative around the design at different scales and levels of resolution.
    The aesthetic program of the house is situated within a historical, formalist discourse exploring the relationship between painting or graphic problems, architectural surfaces, and tectonics. The narrative begins with the collapse of hard-edged, geometric painting and Modernist architecture through the De Stijl discovery of the “screen” as a primary or base compositional element in the conception of three-dimensional form. The Postwar neo-avant garde took this problem as the foundation of their gestaltist investigations of complex elevation logics and striated spaces in plan. The ambition of the formal language embedded in the Desert House is to offer an elaboration or extension of these theories catered to the speed, surface-centric material sensibilities and graphic, hyper-flatness that characterize a more contemporary elevation sensibility.

    SP: What or who influenced this project?
    HT: Swiss graphic design manuals (Emil Ruder, Armin Hofmann), 80s Ashley Bickerton and Haim Steinbach, Wendy White, Michael Bell’s work in Space Replaces Us.

    SP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    HT: Listening: Post Burial stuff (MssingNo, Utah?), Murlo, Why Be.
    Reading: Inventing the Future by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Ghosts of My Life by Mark Fischer, Hélio Oiticica: Folding the Frame by Irene Small.

    SP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    HT: New Affiliates, Viola Ago, Common Accounts.

    Additional Credits/Links:

    Fabrication with Dan Morgan at Substrate Fabrication (http://substratefab.com)
    Photography/Printed Matter: Brilliant Graphics (https://brilliant-graphics.com)
    Additional Collaborators: Cyrus Penarroyo, Charlie Weak, Timothy McDonough

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