May 13, 2011

John H. Pilling Home
The Boston Architectural College - 320 Newbury Street - Boston MA 02115 - USA

Living in the Américas - Fall 2010

BAC Long Studio  

Syllabus & Notes*

*A work in progress.....

Week One, Assigment Three:

Interpreting the ‘Weave’ in the Bohio

Luis and I spoke some more about this assignment after the end of the session.  As a point of clarification, the interim syllabus now describes the assignment as follows “Do a piece of plastic art (drawing, painting, collage, scupture that studies themes of weaving present in the tectonics and material of the Bohio. Write a short text to accompany the study.”

We’re especially interested in how this ancient, and persistent, vernacular has been able to use different wall materials to supplement the palm-thatched roof.  In doing your interpretation, you may want to think of more contemporary materials for the cladding - and the framing.  Here is an example of a reinterpretation on a new versioin of the bohio in the US Virgin Islands.

You may also want to consider post-consumer waste materials.   

Week Two, Assignment Four:

Fortifications / Santería Interpretaiton

In our last session, we looked at the early centuries of Spanish colonization.  Two topics of interest are:

- the work of the Spanish to fortify San Juan - which was done with other ports in the Caribbean, too; and

- the decision to bring in African slaves to replace the decimated Tainos.

Each of these occurrences have left a long-lasting impact.  In the case of fortifications, it is the massiveness and Renaissance sense of order and reason put to the task of defense.  In the case of African slavery, it is syncretic religion and music - one part of which is Santeria.

Here are threw URL's that illustrate the fortifications.  They lead to other sites with more imagery.

Here are three sets of videos that speak to the idea of Santeria in Puerto Rico and one musical derivation of it, Bomba:

Here is a site devoted to the making of wooden saints, Santos - which is not specifically related to Santeria, but, to my mind, still has to work with it, since it's likely that practitioners of Santeria might very well have made use of these Santos to represent their Orishas:

Your assignment is to reflect on the two topics - Fortifications and the creation of a syncretic Afro-Puerto Rican religion.  Choose one or both topics, and, after having taken another look at this, and other reference material you might find on your own, create some piece of art - sculpture, collage, drawing, slide show, video - that expresses you feelings about the topics.  In the case of Santeria, Luis has suggested that your work might be in the form of an artistic 'petition' to a Greater Power to grant a wish (I suggested passing portfolio as a possible wish).  We really didn't elaborate on the idea of the fortifications, but you could create something which speaks about ballistics, fields of fire, renaissance geometry, gunpowder, mass, masonry.  Something that expresses the place where European powers confront each other far from their home.  A place of stone in a land that was of palms and bohios.