February 17, 2007 was the first Half King affair in New York. The Half King dinners were an opportunity to share with haudenschild Garage friends and collaborators, past, present and future, the ideas around the hG, Spare Parts projects in an informal context immersed in cheap drink, greasy food and loud music.
hG, Spare Parts was a 3-year cycle of projects commissioned and produced by Director Eloisa Haudenschild and Commissioning Editor Steve Fagin from 2006 – 2009 that encouraged the juxtaposition of the crucial, the trivial, and the arcane. The projects included Decolonizing Architecture, selected for the 2009 Architectural Venice Biennale, A Crime has Many Stories that premiered at MALBA in Buenos Aires in November 2008 and The Last Book which launched in April 2009 at the MAK Center, Schindler House in Los Angeles.
Selected by ARTFORUM in January of 2010 as one of the top ten projects of the decade, Decolonizing Architecture was originally conceptualized and its pilot stage produced in dialogue with Eloisa Haudenschild and Steve Fagin, partners in the haudenschild Garage, Spare Parts projects.
Decolonizing Architecture is a collaboration between the haudenschild Garage and London-based architect and theorist Eyal Weizman and Bethlehem-based architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti. Decolonizing Architecture is a multi-pronged project that addresses the possibilities of understanding and redesigning Palestine in preparation for a post-evacuation time and context through two case studies, the former military base, Oush Grab, and the settlement of P’sagot. A scale model, architectural plans and public events, including an exhibition and symposium with Eloisa Haudenschild, Steve Fagin, Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman, Alessandro Petti and Lieven de Cauter at the Bozar Center for Fine Art in Brussels (October 31 2008 – January 4, 2009), were produced around plans for turning the fabric of the case studies into Palestinian public institutions.
The Manual of Decolonization was the result of a residency at Decolonizing Architecture in August 2008 with Salottobuono (www.salottobuono.net). The manual was a choral work where different approaches stood out at the same time. The production of the manual was supported by the haudenschild Garage and based upon a series of meetings with the “stakeholders” in this process including representatives from various organizations, community members, NGOs, government and municipal bodies, academic and cultural institutions, and local resident associations. Click here to view the manual.
The manual and scale models were on view in Los Angeles at SUPERFRONT as part of the exhibtion UNPLANNED: Research and Experiments at the Urban Scale (March 25 – July 2, 2010).
In 2009, the project was presented at the Venice Biennale and was selected for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2008). Decolonizing Architecture has also been exhibited at COAC in Barcelona (2009) and at the 4th International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam (2009-2010).
A Crime Has Many Stories
A Crime Has Many Stories, is an exquisite corpse project commissioned and produced by Eloisa Haudenschild and Steve Fagin of the haudenschild Garage, based on Argentine writer Ricardo Piglia’s short story, La Loca y el Relato del Crimen (Madwoman and the Story of a Crime, 1975) set in Buenos Aires and plotted with co-conspirators Judi Werthein, Sonia Becce and Alejandro Ruiz. Piglia’s text generated two site-specific pieces and a commissioned story by Argentine writer Washington Cucurto from Eloisa Cartonera.
In May of 2008, the haudenschild Garage traveled to Buenos Aires to meet with its advisory curatorial committee. Argentine curator Sonia Becce and Argentine artist Judi Werthein selected a short list of artists for the project, working in installation, photo and video. From this short list, Eloisa Haudenschild, Steve Fagin, and Alejandro Ruiz selected artists Roberto Jacoby, Fernanda Laguna and Rosalba Mirabella for the two site-specific pieces. Monica Jovanovich-Kelley coordinated the project in San Diego and Buenos Aires.
On November 29, 2008 a multidisciplinary, one-day extravaganza organized by Argentine producer Alejandro Ruiz began with a video of Ricardo Piglia’s elegant interpretation of his own text performed especially for our event and premiered at Malba – Fundación Costantini (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires). We traveled from the opening of the project at Malba – Fundación Costantini to the closing celebration in La Boca by way of the projects by Jacoby, Laguna and Mirabella in a movable feast of culture and repast. The climax of our extravaganza was the inaugural performance of Washington Cucurto’s savagely brilliant short story, El Hijo, commissioned by the haudenschild Garage in response to Piglia’s La Loca y el Relato del Crimen. Cucurto and the literary collective Eloisa Cartonera performed an ensemble reading of the story in La Boca. A catalog of the entire project and a limited edition Survival Kit was provided to the participants at Malba to facilitate their journey. Both were produced in collaboration with Eloisa Cartonera.
The Last Book
For this project, the haudenschild Garage, Spare Parts produced an homage to “the book” in the age of the conquest of the Kindle. Steve Fagin wished to resuscitate the magnificence of the illuminated manuscript as the world turned toward darkness. Perhaps electronic technology could be used, not to leave the book on the dustbin of history, but to reconstitute a forgotten past where words and images danced in each other’s arms.
To this end the haudenschild Garage produced and constructed a one of a kind book that included text, drawings, moving images and sounds. Its construction in the medieval, supersized tradition consisted of three illuminated folios each eighteen and a half inches high, thirteen inches wide and three inches deep.
To make this more than a dirge for the dead, a proper Joycian Wake, we incorporated into our project the live and kicking writing skills of Mary Gaitskill (Two Girls Fat and Thin), the macabre visual lyricism of Leslie Thornton (Peggy and Fred in Hell) and YouTube, the MySpace-with-a-twist drawings of Davina Semo, the retro-futurist music mix of Greg Landau, and as the piece de resistance, Shanghai’s notorious and ever so talented bad girl author Mian Mian as one of our performers with Monica Jovanovich-Kelley and the Kindle. This bouillabaisse was concocted by Steve Fagin.
On April 26, 2009 The Last Book was performed at the Schindler House, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles.