TRANSTECTONICS: Craft traditions and material narratives in the age of the Anthropocene

TRANSTECTONICS is an ongoing research project that explores cultural, contextual and environmental implications of architectural material practice in the age of the Anthropocene.  Crossing times and scales, beyond culture and nature, her “tectonic translations” embody narratives that are told in the form of art exhibitions and through architectural installations that activate public spaces. 

Understanding the process of material assembly as a powerful tool for exploration, the project stages a series of material events, historical timelines embedded in physical prototypes that bear remains of their material narratives. Beyond human and nature, geology and technology in an act of world making.

The four prototypes, Rock in Full Metal Jacket, Ghost of Stone, PlyGlass, and Wooden Bubble, each embody their own “tectonic translations.”

PlyGlass works with the tectonic technique of lamination, a method conventionally used with wood, and applies it to glass.

In Ghost of Stone, stone masonry carving techniques are translated to the material of glass, creating mass and volume in a material that is normally presented in a flat state.

For Rock in Full Metal Jacket, “foam vaporization,” a technique for casting aluminum, is reinterpreted and put into dialogue with ancient stone metal clamping techniques, creating a seemingly fluid joint between volcanic rock and metal.

In Wooden Bubble, two materials transform each other in the process of making. In this prototype, half of the geometry is milled on wood and the other half is made by blowing molten glass into that same piece of wood, charring its surface.

The project was on view at MIT’s Keller Gallery through January 31, 2020.

TRANSTECTONICS was first exhibited at Art Omi NY, in an exhibition curated by Warren James and Nicole Hayes, titled InConstruction_Cristina Parreño, and it

TRANSTECTONICS was supported by Precision Stone Inc., Epica International Roboticom, Biesse America, and the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT). Project collaborators: Adiel Benitez, Christopher Dewart, Michael Tarkanian, Miles Discroll and Michael Scheiner. Keller Gallery exhibition team: Melika Konjicanin, Jeffrey Landman, Vanessa Pipitone, Jackie Lin, Alyssa Li, Christopher Dewart, Jim Harrington.

Installation view, Cristina Parreño, TRANSTECTONICS. Keller Gallery, 2019. Photo: Sarah Wagner.