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

TRANSTECTONICS, an exhibition by Spanish architect and designer Cristina Parreño Alonso, lecturer in the MIT Department of Architecture, is on view at MIT’s Keller Gallery through January 31, 2020. Crossing materials and processes, Parreño presents sculptural prototypes that combine natural materials such as glass, stone, wood, and volcanic rock, with unexpected craft processes, and juxtaposes them with geological events. The exhibition presents five videos as well as four sculptural prototypes. 

TRANSTECTONICS is an ongoing research project that examines the cultural and contextual implications of material practice in Architecture through a series of experiments. TRANSTECTONICS questions the ways in which widely used materials like stone, wood, metal, and glass are processed today into standard building construction products with a limited repertoire of systems of assembly. In their conventional manufactured states, these materials are often stripped of inherent potentials, embodied cultural histories, and important capacities promised when they are in a raw state. By stepping out of the standard systems of assembly, TRANSTECTONICS aims to defamiliarize the processes of construction, transforming it into a process of experimentation. 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.

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

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.