The Minister of Foreign Affairs
IK Studio, Boston, MA
Project Type: Pavilion, Exhibition, Speculative
Work Scope: Overall design pavilion, all 2D drawings, 3D modeling
Team Leaders: Simon Kim, Billy Dufala
Period: 01. 2014 - 04.2014
Working backwards from a research project The Empire of SURA ‐ where areas of Paris, London, and Tokyo are seamlessly joined – the Minister of Foreign Affairs addresses the questions of what Homi K. Bhabha has called Global Cultural Citizenship. What are the discerning elements of citizenship, governance, and identification in a city made of the pieces of past colonial powers?
Building 01 is a study in architecture and sculpture that imbues these questions into a built form: its parts and wholes, its legibility and architecture parlante, as well as its dominion of meaning vis‐à‐vis a spent tradition of the image‐idea, or the signifier‐signified. As a house for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, it must hold onto a clear identification of power and as a node of a larger government network. We developed a short design, production, and demolition of the Minister by building and destroying the house over a period of days. Not only does it deny the idea of permanence normally entitled to government buildings, but it plans its own obsolescence. The Minister is constructed with William Blaise Dufala and the RAIR programme, and while its form has been fully designed, its execution will be improvisational, with what material is found. The Minister will then be on site for a period of 36 hours before it is deconstructed.
Maquettes and drawings that are normally required of architectural production are exhibited alongside a short film of the Minister's Life and Death, and and excerpt from the Empire of SURA to which it belongs. The short life of this city official within an outmoded government is the work for the ICA@50 exhibition.
The drawings presented here exhibit a reluctance to abide by a single representation or design methodoloy. The interior of this government building - an officious figure without relevance - presents an opportunity to further undermine its use. One section presents a 19th century neo-classical arrangement of rooms disposed towards a design for Château de Louveciennes by Claude Nicholas Ledoux. The clear delineation of chamber and function, the simplicity or flatness of surface produces a vertical growth of public to private salons. Another section presents a singular space normally reserved for mausoleums or temples. The materiality of the void space is an inversion however, as the traditional poché is filled with the detritus of architectural production. Parts of architectural components are packed together to create the material and tectonics of the building as well as its hollow and empty center.
Text by Simon Kim