This exhibition is part of the Satellite Programme 2019: The New Sanctuary curated by Laura Herman.
In The Arcadia Center, the second episode of The New Sanctuary, Ben Thorp Brown proposes a kind of wellness center responding to the politics of our times. Comprising a sound piece (Exercise, 2019), a sculpture (Shrine, 2019), and a newly commissioned film (Cura, 2019), The Arcadia Center is imagined as a speculative training space for a world that needs to restore its empathic abilities.
Exercise is a sound piece inspired by Dr. Helen Riess’s curriculum to train doctors and nurses in empathic care, in which those attending are invited to participate in an “empathy training exercise.” Shrine, a sculpture made out of glass and roses of Jericho, also known as resurrection plants, evokes both the fragility of organic life and the potential for its survival. In the adjacent room, Cura, an immersive video installation, features the Richard and Dion Neutra VDL Research House II on Silver Lake Reservoir in Los Angeles.
Adopting the form of an Arcadian sanctuary, where dwellers can enjoy an idyllic, timeless existence, The Arcadia Center calls for an architectural experience inspired by ancient mythology and the fields of psychology and neuroscience. The exhibition highlights the interplay of interpersonal and environmental forces, prompting the empathic imagination to reconnect with people, animals, and the natural world.
Ben Thorp Brown (born 1983, New York) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, and is a graduate of Williams College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His recent work has been presented at the St. Louis Art Museum and in following exhibitions: Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016 (Whitney Museum, New York), Greater New York (MoMA PS1, New York), 24/7. the human condition (MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna Biennale) and Chance Motives (SculptureCenter, New York), as well as in film festivals such as The New York Film Festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival. He has received awards from the Creative Capital and the Graham Foundation, and was an artist in residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.
The Arcadia Center received the support of Creative Capital
Each year, the Satellite Programme is entrusted to an independent curator, charged with designing and organizing three exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume. For this edition, the Jeu de Paume continues its partnership with the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico.
The exhibitions of the Satellite Programme are accompanied by three publications. Each year independent graphic designers are invited to create the graphic or visual identity of the three catalogues associated with the programme of exhibitions. The graphic design for Satellite 2019 was done by Groupe CCC (Alice Gavin and Valentin Bigel).
Satellite 2019 : The New Sanctuary
How does space determine the way we feel? Predicated on a sense of a threatening and hostile environment, one of the basic definitions of architecture is the provision of shelter and comfort for the human body. The common idea of dwelling as “surrogate skin” stems from Gottfried Semper, who described the animal pen, made of woven skins and leaves, as the origin of architectural “private” space.
Today, this understanding of architecture as an enveloping spatiality, the modern desire to provide a place of refuge, no longer holds. Social, technological, demographic and environmental change has increasingly led to the management of the environment, the standardisation of lifestyles, the displacement of people due to conflict, persecution and gentrification, the surveillance of “private” sites of living, and ultimately the negligence of the body and the senses.
Designing spaces of belonging and fostering safe and hospitable environments remain some of the biggest issues in contemporary architecture. If we are to reconsider architecture as the meeting point between different cultural references, practices, rituals, desires and needs, how do we imagine a sanctuary space for today’s world? The New Sanctuaryproposes newly commissioned works by Julie Béna, Ben Thorp Brown and Daisuke Kosugi, who from the perspective of their individual practices, consider the capacity of the designed environment to host, care and engage with different bodies and the senses. The three exhibitions in this series bring no simple stories of architecture but underline the complexity of ever-changing ideas about how we (are) live(d).
Curator: Laura Herman
– – – –
Exhibition co-produced by the Jeu de Paume, the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico.
The Friends of the Jeu de Paume and the Friends of the CAPC contribute to the production of artworks and the publications for the Satellite Programme.
Image : Ben Thorp Brown, Gropius Memory Palace, 2017
4K Video, 5.1 sound, 20:17 min. (video still)
© Ben Thorp Brown