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MOCA Presents a New Site-specific Installation by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues
Installation view of Feathered Edge: A New Installation by Ball-Nogues Studio at MOCA Pacific Design Center, 2009, photo by Brian Forrest.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), presents Feathered Edge: A New Installation by Ball-Nogues Studio, on view through November 15, 2009, at MOCA Pacific Design Center. In this site-specific installation by the innovative Los Angeles–based design and fabrication firm led by Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, 17 miles of colored strings configured in catenary curves span the gallery space to form a dynamic sculptural environment. Initiated by Brooke Hodge and coordinated by MOCA Curator Alma Ruiz, Feathered Edge underscores the artists’ continuing investigation of the convergence of digital technology and hand-craft techniques, as well as their interests in the processes and fabrication of automation and in affecting space using unconventional methods and materials.

The third in a series of projects that the designers loosely refer to as “Suspensions,” Feathered Edge is a sitespecific installation comprised of colored strings suspended as catenaries from the gallery’s double-height skylight. Each string is calculated to a slightly different length and is attached by hand to an ink jet printed mesh using a method inspired by the craft of latch-hook rug making. The Suspension installations evolved out of a desire to modulate space without utilizing solid forms. To accomplish this, the artists design both the artwork and the means to produce that artwork in an approach that they call “designing the production.” Recognizing the limitations of conventional architectural design software, they enlisted Pylon Technical to help develop custom parametric software that enables the designers to explore spatial configurations utilizing catenaries. The software simultaneously calculates the length and location for each string that is required to construct their desired form in a specific space. In the previous two Suspension installations, Echoes Converge (2008) and Unseen Current (2008), each string was cut by hand in preparation for hanging. For Feathered Edge, the artists mechanized the process of coloring and cutting the lengths of string by designing, fabricating, and programming a machine that precisely air brushes and quickly cuts each string to the prescribed length. In the artists’ own words, “We can now make something more intricate and larger. We can work faster and more efficiently in the fabrication phase so we can spend more time refining and studying the design, insuring it produces the right feeling.”

Ball-Nogues Studio is an integrated design and fabrication practice that creates experimental built environments to enhance and celebrate the potential for social interaction through sensation, spectacle, and physical engagement. To achieve these results, principals Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues work with unusual materials, develop new digital tools, and apply architectural techniques in unorthodox ways. The partners share an enthusiasm for the fabrication process as it relates to the built object both physically and poetically—they let the properties, limitations, and economic scenarios associated with a material guide a structure’s ultimate form while developing methods to extend the intertwined boundaries of a material’s aesthetics, physical potential, and lifecycle.

Ball-Nogues Studio’s past projects include Echoes Converge, an installation created for the Venice Architecture Biennale (2008); the competition-winning Liquid Sky installation for P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center’s Young Architects Program (2007); the exhibition Rip Curl Canyon for Rice Gallery (2007); a commissioned environment for MOCA’s Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture Opening Night Fête (2006); Maximilian’s Schell at Materials & Applications in Los Angeles’s Silver Lake neighborhood (2006) and an installation for the launch of Frank Gehry’s collection for Tiffany & Co. (2006). Recently they completed the interior of Edward Cella Art + Architecture in Los Angeles. Current projects include a wildlife observation pavilion in New York as well as art projects for the City of Santa Monica; Los Angeles County; and Mercy Housing, San Francisco. Their work will be included in the exhibition Contemplating the Void at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in February 2010, and in an installation at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in spring/summer 2010.

Museum of Contemporary Art | Benjamin Ball | Gaston Nogues | installation | P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center | Frank Gehry | Santa Monica |

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