Porøs

oslo national academy of the arts, department of art and craft

Porøs is an installation of cisterns and circulatory elements as an irregular topography of ceramic vessels and porous-looking media – some hold water, others distribute water, others filter and block, irrigate, and still others evaporate water. The installation is both an archeological and climatic event. The ceramic masses will range from the eccentric geometries of the large cisterns to the fragile and cloud-like crusts of the engineered porous clay – each variety of ceramic designed to mediate water in specific ways. Water will be a narrative commodity, moving mostly by passive design and from one state to another – liquid to gas. Evaporation becomes part of the ceramic entity that investigates the potential to preheat and precool the ambient air.

The project structures our built spaces as living, evolving as organism – a landscape that lives and breathes with technological assistance. Dynamic interaction between temporal and permanent materials enable the biomimetic processes. Porøs sets out a sustainable environmental practice in the arts and craft media within the spaces of contemporary architecture.

The metaphor of water and landscape are unmistakably powerful, especially relevant in Norway. Our intention is for Porøs to become part of an elaborated network of cooperation, education and technological achievement in the field of architectural ceramics. The ‘research/design/build’ nature of this project demonstrates both professional interaction and an artistic prototype. In the future, the project would spin off as a stream of pedagogical practice and study.

In my own work as ceramics artist, I have developed an idea of synthetic landscape fragments that colonize built spaces. My prototypes are layered assemblies that float and roam in space as a detached and nomadic entity in the space of architecture, hence a kind of nomadic colony. The idea is to form a sculptural substrate that suggests a growth apparatus for post-modern space.

From a technological perspective, we emphasize the biomemtic thrust and embrace ecological systems in nature as a model for hybrid art/architecture structures. We consider the development of an ecological model for built spaces as the enlightenment of this generation. Researching a system that builds the idea of a synthetic climate can be based on natural systems, media and phenomena and Porøs will contribute a decidedly artistic viewpoint to sustainable schemes. The project requires us to engineer ceramic to produce unique environment phenomena that other media cannot. Porosity as a motive for design is not new. Basic earthenware (a.k.a. terra cotta) cookware persists to this day – the open pore ceramic structure allows for rapid heat gain and loss without cracking the pottery. Ceramic porosity is also exploited as a evaporative cooling system to keep water cool. Simple earthenware clays’ open pore structure that allows water to move from the inner reservoir to the outer skin and evaporate, achieving a cooling effect.

If ceramics is to return as a creative presence in built spaces, it will exist as an abstract idiom that defines new purposes. This project suggests a conceptual footing for a free discourse between ceramics and the radically different ‘built spaces’ of this era. The project begins with a belief that materiality, image and function can transform our environmental. Material eccentricity, morphologies and instability will be virtues. If crafted ornament began as symbolic prosthetic, it must now evolve into a prosthetic for living.

Porøs will require a collaborative practice for which there is growing curiosity but little precedent: the craft media specialist in an artistic, design and engineering relationship with contemporary architects. Our intention is for Porøs to become part of an elaborated network of cooperation, education and technological achievement in our respective fields of ceramics and architecture.

Porøs report ’13

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