SO-IL Architecture & Brooklyn Academy of Music / by Cornelius

On Friday, October 14th, we visited an architectural design firm named SO-IL and we finished the day off by observing a bit of curatorial work within the Brooklyn Academy of Music. These experiences were very different from what I was expecting from the Contemporary Art Semester, but they proved to be extremely interesting in their own rights. 

Walking into the office of SO-IL, I wasn't expecting the experience to be deeply grounded in art. I figured it was a visit to show, more realistically, what an art major could do after graduation that still maintained an aspect of creativity. However, I learned that this company was different...well, at least different from my vague idea of what drives an average architecture firm. The buildings and the spaces designed by SO-IL are actual works of art, and when you hear them speak about their projects, you can hear the voice of a proud artist who worked for hours to put something unique out into the world. Let me tell you, unique is an understatement. The original and borderline imaginary ideas implemented by this firm are jaw dropping. They designed a building to be entirely covered in chain-mail--basically an armored building. The chain-linked drapery accentuates curves in which the building would not be able to present without. Visually, this reminds me of stippling because it creates texture and depth at a distance but upon closer inspection, it is constructed of countless dots, or in the case of this building, metal rings. This firm is a collective of great artistic and brave minds, I have no doubt about it.   

When I first saw we were going to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, I was a little confused due to its name. I did not know that it was so involved with all of the arts--in fact, I didn't know anything about it until recently so that explains the confusion. This visit, much like the visit to SO-IL, opened my eyes to more than just the gallery world within the art world. Curating in this specific environment seemed less...snobby. I don't know, I just picture art galleries to be snobby but I did not get that sense while looking at the showing at BAM. The best part of the visit was just being in the open space of the lobby where on a busy day, you would not be able to navigate the crowd comfortably. The installation within the architecture of the lobby was awesome, the walls felt as if they were undulating--which I would imagine would have a heightened effect looming over a sea of bodies.  The installation in the middle of the lobby by Esther Ruiz reminded me of our visit to Dia:Beacon where we encountered a lot of work by Dan Flavin. Her work with colored fluorescent lights was similar but made unique with its interplay with the reflective surface and the space within the lobby. I think that the space that holds the art is just as important as the art that inhabits it and the curating skills within BAM definitely present that notion to me--the same goes for the design work of SO-IL!