Modular Architecture - Unit
Materials: Microporous Polyester, diverse textiles, zips, telescopic aluminium structure
Dimensions: 1000 x 50 x 210 cm
Catalogued: p128 Lucy Orta, Phaidon Press UK 2003
Exhibition history: 2006 Galleria Continua San Gimignano, Italy; 2000 Art Gallery of Western Australia; 1999 Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Australia; 1996 La Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain Paris, France
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Originally commissioned by La Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, the Modular Architecture Unit formed part of a 40’ dance performance.
The Unit, a series of ten interconnected bivouacs, detach and separate to reveal a personal space, an item of clothing and a transport bag. The aluminium membrane of the Dome Dwelling, doting many identities, can be detached to reveal individual body-parts symbolised by arm, hood or leg appendages. The dancers form entire suits by developing relationships with each others, so the boundaries between body and architecture dissolve. Orta regards the wearer’s movements as those of a multifaceted mechanism, mirroring Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s theories on the mechanization of the body. In the theory of monadology, Leibniz describes the body not as a machine in itself, but as a mechanism made up of many machines, considering organs and body parts as devices in themselves. A model for expression in contemporary aesthetics, the concept of the monad is viewed in terms of folds of space, movement and time, like the interrelatedness of the body and the Modular Architecture sculptures by Lucy Orta.