Architecture and Art Alumni Complete New Casapoli Residency
Brian Havener (M.Arch. '17) and Pauline Shongov (B.F.A./B.A. '18) were the recipients of the inaugural 2018–19 month-long Casapoli Residency at Casa Poli in the Coliumo Peninsula, Chile.
Architecture professors of the practice Sofía von Ellrichshausen and Mauricio Pezo saw their design for the house completed in 2005 and conceived the international artists' residency program that was extended to recent architecture and art graduates in December 2018. The inaugural artists-in-residence were asked to consider the building's extremely remote location, as well as ideas around plurality and multiplicity that define the Casapoli project as a whole, as they furthered existing lines of research or initiated new trajectories for their creative work.
"Our interest was to select either two graduate or recently graduated students — one from art and one from architecture — who would create work synergistically in relation to one another, to the house, and to the magnificent natural elements surrounding the house," says architecture professor and department chair Andrea Simitch. "I think the residency is an exciting initiative for the departments and the college, and of course for the students who dedicate themselves to a month of thorough reconsideration of their creative practices in such an incredibly unique place."
Havener, the selected architecture alumnus, is currently a teaching associate in the Department of Architecture at Cornell where he also works in the Robotic Construction Laboratory and continues to further his research on the potential of transparency, reflection, and projection as they relate to the construction of perception in architecture.
"I'm not sure that I've ever been able to think as clearly as I did while I was in residence at Casa Poli," says Havener. "We kept the house open to the rich landscape of the surrounding peninsula, which filled the house with the perpetual sounds of the waves, wind, and birds. I arrived with some vague ideas of what I might work on for the residency, but as I spent time there and contemplated the space, plans evolved. The presence of Casa Poli is so strong, that ultimately the work culminated in a radical documentation of existing spatial conditions seen through the lens of the surrounding environmental forces."
Shongov received a bachelor of fine arts degree from AAP in 2018, and attended the residency between terms of graduate study at Harvard University where she is currently a first-year Ph.D. student in film and visual studies. Her work investigates the aesthetics and history of silent film; and her creative practice often involves questioning relationships between texts, images, and objects.
"Casapoli gave me much needed stillness to make and introduced a new measurement of time — time out of time, a continuous pause that cycles in and out of light," says Shongov. "The space very much teaches one how to coexist in it both visually and sonically, leaving very little room for language. This distance between the image and its verbal register I found to be a very special experience."
The 2018–19 jury for the inaugural residency included von Ellrichshausen, Simitch, and department of art chair Michael Ashkin. Havener and Shongov will present the work they made at Casa Poli in the Stepped Auditorium in Milstein Hall on April 12 at 5 p.m.
By Edith Fikes