100 Tonson Foundation
Nov 26, 2022 - May 28, 2023
All images courtesy of 100 Tonson Foundation
Field Collapse is a gallery-based environment inspired by construction sites, where the details of a work-in-progress communicate social, economic, and aesthetic messages that often go unread.
“Around the edges of the construction industry, there are still ephemeral, poetic moments of closeness and humanity, accidental collapses of the expanded field. A visit to a building site in the developing world reveals an intimacy that’s lost in finished architecture. A contemporary, machine-inspired, and machine-assisted design is revealed to be obviously handmade, by laborers who are culturally and economically distant from designers, clients, and end users. For the duration of construction, the site belongs to them, living on-site with their families, farming, cooking, eating, worshiping, entertaining, and decorating. Their decisions about organization and construction method dominate the site’s aesthetics long before the designer’s intent is recognizable.
A building is built before the design — an ever-changing negative-space edifice of scaffolding, shades, tents, rebars, formwork, temporary supports, machines, and people. Judged by qualities that architects value, this building-as-verb is better than the building-as-noun. It’s ruthlessly efficient in economics, structure, and aesthetics. Every piece is necessary, recycled and recyclable. It’s the fruit of a collaborative, community-led process. Surfaces are a dynamic collage of natural, hand-made, and industrial finishes. The assemblage is lightweight and delicate, possessing a beauty seemingly unbothered by aesthetic intent. It finds its own slightly unpredictable order, that’s mostly functional, but punctuated by naive idiosyncrasy. It registers the social economic truth of its own making, with marks that will soon be erased.
‘Work-in-progress’ is a recurring trope of architecture. Designers attempt to curate a degree of honest construction, but we’re inevitably constrained by cultural conventions and our own egos. Field Collapse is a site for contemplating the tensions between art and architecture, design and making, object and space.”
Savinee and Tom, thingsmatter
thingsmatter is the Bangkok-based studio of Savinee Buranasilapin and Tom Dannecker, who met in architecture school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, before continuing their educations at Princeton University. The studio’s early work included a series of temporary interventions in commercial spaces which criticized the consumer culture that hosted them, while celebrating the opportunity for communication to a diverse audience, and the material extravagance that shopping malls could provide. Later work extended the working methods, tactility, and human scale of thingsmatter’s event architecture to more conventional programs, including private residences that offered public statements on the culture of contemporary building. A growing preoccupation with delicate, indeterminate structures and raw materials has recently led thingsmatter away from buildings again, towards constructed artworks.
They participated in the inaugural Bangkok Art Biennale in 2018 with Ligature, a large-scale bamboo sculpture exhibited in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, before it was moved to Jim Thompson Farm, Thailand. More recently, Field Work, a grid of 625 mirror-topped poles was placed in a disused sea salt farm, as part of Pattani Decoded 2022: Deep Salt, an art and design festival in Pattani Province, Thailand.