III. Realized Projects

Olivia Booth

Schindler Lab, Round One March 5 – April 24, 2011

My Schindler Lab project reinforced my suspicions that the Schindler House is actually a glass house. The distinct slot-like windows that pulse through its rooms are not the result of heaving slabs of concrete upright. Instead those walls are hefty concrete mullions meant to surround slots of glass-filled space, and the whole house follows suit, as glass-filled space framed by concrete and wood (windows) and glass-filled space left empty (doors). Those slotted windows were my cue to a latent life as glass house, and their spine-like posture and walking rhythm signaled that the house is glass for the sake of the body as much as it is glass for the sake of the landscape—that extension is to be as internal as it is external.

During the process I found that the dimensions of those slot-like windows were echoed in the constant heel of the baseboards running through the house, and once this deferral—from glass to concrete, window to floor, and spine to foot—was set off for me, a language of deferral began to surface, or at least the footnotes to a text.

What I had thought was a glass and posture dialogue became a glass and foot dialogue, and because feet can and do go anywhere, the footnotes to the house seemed never ending, like the footnotes for a body’s lifelong dissertation on space. In fact, each time I came to install my work over the course of two weeks, the ground of the house felt like fresh snow, the house composed and re-composed in relation to how I moved within it. What suppleness and resilience that capacity for endless footnotes suggests.

The suppleness is not at the cost of glass’s dissolution, as often is the case; glass is present in each space in a different way. The entirely glass nursery at first seemed mad to me; I myself was dealing with black-out blinds at home for an imminent baby. But with time it began to make sense, as the windows seemed more like glass walls protecting the room, like see-through concrete. And conversely, in Marian Chace’s room in the middle of the house, the concrete wall pattern pulsed with lightness in the slotted areas where windows were inserted in the rest of the house. In the bathrooms, mirror became glass as provisional portrait changing with each reflection and framed by the giant concrete and wood frame of the house. In the Schindler House, glass is present and continually re-composing itself in relation to the body.

Much of the process of actualizing the project was a discussion of preservation parameters about what could and couldn’t be done to the house, and as a result I became ever so aware of how fragile the house was, hoping it wouldn’t rain too hard or a crack wouldn’t deepen before our Schindler Lab went up. In retrospect, perhaps what makes it most like the glass plane to me is its actual fragility and supple nature, its delicacy and resilience all bound up and held in a graceful tension.

Olivia Booth is a Los Angeles-based artist.

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