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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Transformer (2007)


Transformer (2007) is a site-specific artwork, installed in a conference room at the United States Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia. It imitates an architectural model of a future embassy building. This work contemplates the placement of the Embassy building, into the middle of a busy square, including its disruptive security elements as a large fence, barriers, soldiers and an airport-style checkpoint. These features raised many concerns among Slovak public, ranging from aesthetics and history to actual safety of the passers-by. As a reaction to these concerns, with a good PR intention, the US Embassy announced that it is preparing to move to another location in the city, and will not be disrupting the daily flow of foot traffic on the square anymore.
Considering the intention of the Embassy, partially invoking the american phenomenon of the moving house, I proposed a new embassy building which is flexible and movable. The new embassy building can be rebuilt according to current conditions and needs. This is possible because the structure is based on the principle of portable offices and shipping container houses, which are usually used for international cargo transport.
Thank this technology the new embassy would be able to move relatively quickly to any place desired. Its blueprint is proposed for serial production. The idea of this flexible, modular building was inspired by the famous comic book, cartoon and movie series Transformers – robots in disguise. They embody a role of the good guys always fighting against a threat. Each Transformer can be rebuilt into three different modes. In accord to that, also each embassy building can be transformed into three distinct modes.
  • The first one represents the embassy - office building,
  • The second mode is the defense robot, which the embassy turns into in the case of a threat.
  • The third mode is an oil rig, which could be made by assembling three of such embassies together.
This entire toy-like-futuristic modular system metaphorically refers to the form and function of an institution as such. An institution --same as a transformer, possesses, in a certain way, variability resulting in a continuous change of form. This refers to the instability of institutions and their structures in general. They must be perpetually reinstitutionalized and re-structuralised to keep up with the changing environment.
This project was produced with the support of the US Embassy in Bratislava.