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Exhibition On-View: Opera In Complete: The Total Work of Art Dream House

Exhibition On-View: Opera In Complete: The Total Work of Art Dream House

Exhibition On-View: November 30 – January 8

Ever since the German opera composer Richard Wagner proposed the idea of the total work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk) architects have been enthralled by the concept. Embracing this ideal entails a shift of emphasis, from the design of a singular building to the incorporation of every detail into a cohesive design motif. In part, this extension of the range of design has offered an opportunity to test notions of materials and assemblage, but much more than that, the promise of the “total work” was to extend the ideal of design itself, to imagine a totality of vision and implementation. Regardless of its historical and practical limitations, the ambition remains and continues to exist as a (never-to-be consummated) desire for completeness in architectural design.

Within those parameters, participants in the ARCH 672: Architectural Design VII studio, taught by Associate Professor John McMorrough, each took on the project to make their own design opera: figuratively as a work of total design, literally as an opera about design. The studio’s efforts are organized around two related projects: a “Dream House” (which included a house, the furniture within the house, as well as related furnishings such as plates, pillows, cutlery, carpets, ash trays, picture frames, wall covering, and slippers) and an “Opera” (loosely based on Adolf Loos' short story "The Poor Little Rich Man," it was to feature the Dream House and its contents and be realized by means of composite video techniques). Implicated in the logic of completeness (and incompletion), these productions exist in the space between singularity and multiplicity, control and happenstance, real and fake.