Sharing an Uber is always interesting when you tell them where you are going and they call the site a ‘parking lot.’ This is what I experienced on my last trip to Washington, DC.
On a recent trip to Washington, DC, I had the opportunity to visit the National Building Museum to see Snarkitecture’s Fun House which is the Museum’s imaginative Summer Block Party series of temporary structures inside its historic Great Hall.
Curated by Italy-based Maria Cristina Didero, the heart of the exhibition is presented within a Snarkitecture-designed house, aka a white house that recalls and re-imagines the idea of the traditional home. Fun House includes a sequence of interactive rooms featuring well-known Snarkitecture environments and objects, like Dig (2011) and Drift (2012), as well as new concepts developed for the Museum. The rooms throughout the house convey the ten-year story of Snarkitecture while underlining the studio’s peculiar, yet accessible way of reinterpreting the built environment.
This is the set up that was being featured on many architecture blogs and corresponding images. What the writer/blogger/curator neglect to express is that sheer madness that a summer program invites in terms of its visitors aka families and tourists. As an individual that wants to experience as many innovative exhibitions, having to dodge running children, packs of friends taking selfies and the noise of people playing ping pong, basketball with the ping pongs and jumping into the pool of balls is insanity. They should have renamed the exhibition from Funhouse to Madhouse because that’s what it felt like.
I’m all for having the largest amount of people experience new things especially in the world of design and architecture, but ‘interactive’ something goes a little too far when they treat ‘the art’ as a playground. Especially when there is a deep narrative and practice behind the work. But after I was able to get through my snobbiness, I got into just letting loose and getting as many Instagramable moments as I could.
What can I say, at the end of the day, architecture and design is at the mercy of how it interacts with its visitors and how its visitors interpret the space. Sometimes you have to read the narrative and say ‘f*ck it, I’m jumping in the pool, too!’