"RUNOUT" BY MAC COLLINS
"DANCING BEFORE THE MOON"
LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
20TH MAY - 26TH NOV 2023
With the occasion of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2023, MAC COLLINS participates in “Dancing before the Moon”, the proposal of curators Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay and Sumitra Upham at the British Pavilion. Based on the game of dominoes, Mac Collins presents “Runout”, the design of a large piece of dominoes extolling the Jamaican community and culture, part of the designer´s identity.
On view from 20th May to 26th November 2023 at The 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay, and Sumitra Upham developed their premise around the central theme of ritual and its role in the emergence of communities and spaces. They explored how community actions, intertwined with identity, contribute to the formation of diverse spatial configurations. In this context, the project "Dancing Before the Moon" becomes a focal point, highlighting not only the significance of constructed spaces but also the pivotal role of individuals in shaping these spaces as an essential component of various cultures and societies.
As described by Kellay, rituals are generators of spaces, leading to their expansion across different scales. Within this framework, the circuit of actions and reactions, spanning present, past, and future spaces, intertwines with what we conceive as “architecture."
Rituals, understood as daily practices that shape identity and inevitably intersect with architecture, take center stage in the proposal "Dancing Before the Moon." This thought-provoking project invites us to delve into the works of Sandra Poulson, Mac Collins, Shawanda Corbett, Madhav Kidao, and Yussef Agbo-Ola, all of which explore the realm of ritual. These artists, architects, and designers of the British Pavilion demonstrate the interplay between design, tradition, and community.
“There is a reason, after all, that some people wish to colonize the moon, and others dance
before it as an ancient friend.” James Baldwin
One noteworthy contribution to the exhibition is Mac Collins' latest sculptural masterpiece, aptly titled "Runout," which pays homage to the integrity of Caribbean culture. Collins, a British-Jamaican artist, once again embarks on an exploration of how design can serve as a conduit for evoking memories. In this particular instance, the enigmatic form of "Runout" draws us closer to the realm of rituals and the unknown. By deliberately refraining from assigning a specific name that determines its function, the design encourages us to embrace a communal approach, inviting us to collectively shape its purpose.
Collins' intervention in the British Pavilion serves as a profound celebration of Jamaican memory and history, embodied in a striking large-scale domino sculpture. Originating from the traditional Jamaican game, which was also played by the English, Collins strips the piece of its conventional form, turning it into a suspended installation, juxtaposed against a backdrop of white upholstered seats. Crafted from ebonized ash timber, the sculpture exemplifies a solid cultural heritage, exhibiting both its imposing physical presence and an inherent sense of lightness, delicately supported by a fragile yet resolute foundation.
Symbolically capturing the essence of memory, the domino piece that presides over "Runout" serves as a reminder of its potential to topple, eminding us of both the levity and fragility of its societal support, as well as its forcefulness, weight, and importance.
On previous occasions, we have witnessed how the domino narrative has influenced Mac Collins' designs. An example of this is the Boneyard chair, exclusively created for Side Gallery, as well as the thought-provoking "Uncoded," a reinterpretation of his earlier project, "Open Code," showcased in the group exhibition "Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters" at Harewood House. This architectural complex holds historical significance for the Jamaican people, serving as a poignant reminder of the British colonization and its impact on African colonies, particularly during the 18th century, and how this legacy has influenced architectural expressions. (The exhibition was held from March 26 to August 29, 2022, in Yorkshire).