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Home Climate Gardens

Posted on: Thursday, November 02, 2006

I heard the artist Janice Kerbel speak at The Whitney Museum last night as part of their Architectural Dialogues series. Kerbel is currently planning and mapping a ghost town community called 'Dead Star' for ghosts to inhabit during their retirement in the afterlife. I was impressed by how intense Kerbel is as a speaker and the extensive research that she does for each project and its lifecyle of plans, drawings, and diagrams. Does the artist ultimately want any of her utopian plans to be realized? Essentially not, though she does provide a certain hopefulness in the details and plausibility that she cleverly outlines.

A favorite project of mine is Home Climate Gardens (2003) where Kerbel proposes ideal planting scenarios for various interior microclimate conditions - a community launderette (a suspended, air-filtering garden), an office space (an alpine garden tolerant to excessive air conditioning), a revolving restaurant (a 360 degree sun-drenched garden), and a council flat (a space-saving, wall-mounted garden). The Illustrator drawn diagrams for these projects essentially makes them feel attainable for the every man and perhaps even the mass market. Their logic is infectious and affordable.

Janice Kerbel's 'Dead Star' project is currently on view at Moderna Museet in Stockholm until December 31, 2006.
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The Whitney Museum's Architectural Dialogue series is viewable on the Public Programs page.
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Image at top is of an abandoned military barracks and base in Wendover, Utah (Abigail Doan, 2005)


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