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Ant Farm

Page history last edited by feifei@berkeley.edu 8 years, 6 months ago

Ant Farm

 

 

 

  • Founded by Chip Lord (Yale) and Doug Michels (Tulane) in 1968, joined by Curtis Schreier (RISD) and Douglas Hurr (N. Carolilna), plus other architects who came and went.
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  • Shifted between San Francisco and Houston
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  • A friend compared the collective to a toy ant farm, where frenetic activity takes place below the surface and collectivity is a way of life.
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  • A collective of radical architects who were also video, performance, and installation artists but above all, visionaries and cultural commentators -- offers an intriguing look into the conceptual activity of the late sixties and seventies, a time that has proved to be seminal for succeeding generations of adventuresome artists.
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  • They performed large-scale actions that critiqued the virtual architecture of image, icon, and power, and they were early users of portable video equipment; their videotapes Media Burn and The Eternal Flame remain seminal examples of video art.
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  • Worked against a backdrop of tremendous cultural ferment, especially inb San Francisco, where the free speech movement, centered just east of the city at U.C. Berkeley, was followed by passionate antiwar demonstrations.
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    Early Years

      

     

  • Set out to create an alternative architecture suited to a nomadic lifestyle. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller and Paolo Solari, as well as teh utopian European architecture group Archigram, they concentrated on developing giant inflatable structures, easy and cheap to build and transport and symbolic of their opposition to mainstream Brutalist architecture of the sixties. 
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    click to read inflatocookbook

     

  • Media Van (1970) - modified Chevrolet set out on the Truckstop Network, a tour of colleges and universities. Demonstrated their ICE-9 inflatables.
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  • Antioch Art Building (1971) - Yellow Springs, Ohio
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  • House of the Century (1971-1973) - Angleton, Texas.
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  • Proposed Projects - Dolphin Embassy -- a sea station where man and dolphin could communicate and Convention City, a state-of-the-art facility for political conventions.
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  • Media Burn (1975) - Drove a customized 1959 Cadillac El Dorado Biaritz full speed through a pyramid of flaming TVs - literally the collision of two American icons.
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    click to see video

     

  • Cadillac Ranch (1974) Amarillo, Texas - on historic Route 66, partially buried 10 Cadillacs nose down in a wheat field on Marsh’s ranch. The work is both a celebration of the evolution of the tailfin, which adorned the Cadillacs from 1948 to 1964, and a critique of Detroit’s practice of planned obsolescence. “Its Stonehenge quality precisely suggests the work of a cult willing to got to absurd lengths in worship of an object of totally strange character.” - michael sorkin
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  • Their works are documented with video and photographs, but most of their works were destroyed in a fire in San Francisco in 1978.
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