Today’s post is a little bit off-beat and a little wacky. Alex Schweder, an American artist, spent ten days inside an inflatable plastic bubble at the iconic Glass House by Philip Johnson. The temporary “living space” was elevated 22 feet above ground level by a hydraulic system. The entire unit, dubbed “Rehearsal Space” is composed of a van, a scissor and the inflatable space, that the artist describes as a type of “performance architecture” due to its translucency.
Scheweder’s Rehearsal Space was originally designed as a rentable hotel room for an exhibition, called “Draft Urbanism” that was part of the 2013 Biennial of Americas (an international festival that celebrates ideas, art, and culture). The festival, which is held in Denver, was the unit’s first showcasing, following this Alex and his unusual little living space made their way to the Glass House estate for another – very public – exhibition.
Schweder has stated that the project has been an attempt to make the visitor observe their surroundings from a different perspective. He wants them to think about the “principle of transparency”, intimacy and the fact that they would be exposed to the exterior environment. Schedwers previous works have often involved a high degree of interaction, or participation from the audience. However, in this case Schweder lived alone, somewhat isolated from his audience in his plastic bubble for 10 days. Throughout the duration of the exhibition he used Johnson’s private library to write a manuscript on performance architecture.
Henry Urbach, the director of Glass House, enlisted Schweder as part of a long term campaign to transform the site into a cultural center. Urbach aims to develop a creative hub for the arts on the site and to fully restore Johnson’s houses.