Dark Rooms 3: Backstage Studio Exhibition


Work from Backstage. photo / Brad Nathanson (B.Arch. '18); gif / Beth Tesfaye (B.Arch. '18)

Backstage is the third in a series of three exhibitions that shows work from the Dark Rooms studio, taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Mona Mahall. The studio explores dark rooms as spaces between visibility and invisibility; where they are dense, thick, and deep; where figure dissolves into ground; where ambiguity and uncertainty emerge. Dark rooms imply methodologies and epistemologies that oppose the clear, enlightened space of modern universalist architecture. If this space of visibility, of transparency, and perspective implies a framework of objectivity and scientificity, dark rooms propagate the right to be opaque. The pyramid, the server room, and backstage are in the focus of interest.

In a general sense, Backstage shows itself as a relation — the experiential relation between dark and light, the political between masked and exposed figure, and the architectural relation between servant and served rooms. Within the complex of Cornell's architecture department, Backstage is not just explored as the servant space of Sibley Hall providing infrastructure and service for Milstein's stage-like plate and dome. It is also examined as those processes and procedures of architectural design that ultimately remain obscure. In this sense, backstage turns into a device able to give insight into the (dark) gap in which architectural ideas, desires, and conspiracies take shape.

This exhibition features work by:

  • Kate Chen (B.Arch. '18)
  • Clara Eizayaga (B.Arch. '18)
  • Anna Kuchera (B.Arch. '18)
  • Brad Nathanson (B.Arch. '18)
  • Sasson Rafailov (B.Arch. '18)
  • Sean Steed (B.Arch. '18)
  • Beth Tesfaye (B.Arch. '18)
  • Daniel Tompkins (B.Arch. '17)
  • Luba Valkova (B.Arch. '17)
  • Frank Wang (B.Arch. '18)

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