Is the box just a container… or is the box defined by what it contains?
The Dyad Box was one of thirty-five commissioned “boxes” on display at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale as part of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s Wunderkammer exhibition.
Participants were invited to “select objects that speak to the work that each does, and place them in a simple wooden box or ‘chest.'”
We were first drawn to the dynamic act of unpacking a nested set of forms, and the idea of a narrative of colors that can unfold with each successive layer revealed. Can the repetitive act be the métier for the box, referring to its identity over again?
As it often does, that first idea will be a trace of what we first intended for it. As it often does, our conversation shifted: two people who share many common references but are coming at the question from very different biases …
… until we recalled a shared experience that impressed us with the question at hand: Lucas Samaras’ Stiff Box #10 from a visit to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth.
Stiff Box #10 posed tantalizing questions of the relationship between the container and the contained. It was a dyad – a two – a divided container where the two sides affected the same question, and the divided lid reiterated. It was a rich orchestration of refrain and resonance; all in a dense mass of fine orange rusted steel.
Could we capture some of the power of that ricochet? With the most Italian of color scheme?
For the black painted interior of the box: a glossy green bowl with a hole (intensifying longing to be filled), the other an incomplete grid of matte white dowels (a humming longing for reunion with its missing members).
For the black painted interior of the lid: a hemisphere of matte black dowels (a hedgehog) to fulfill the glossy green bowl and the hole, and a few black glossy dowels to rejoin the incomplete grid.
Just a primary set of questions for the fluctuating identity of what is the container and what is contained.
Analogous questions can be posed for interior architecture, the lens we see through the most… with lots of potency waiting to be mined.