The Cartoonist’s House Brought To Life (Maybe)
April 4, 2012
All images: Jimenez Lai/Bureau Spectacular
Architect/artist/cartoonist Jimenez Lai proudly proclaims in his bio that he has “lived and worked in a desert shelter at Taliesin and resided in a shipping container at Atelier Van Lieshout on the piers of Rotterdam.” In talks, he is wont to mention that he is living, literally, “with the aftermath of a work he created”–that being the “Briefcase House“, something of a portable room or a hypertrophied cubby hole situated in the middle of the Bureau Spectacular studio offices (of which Lai is head) and where he has called home for the past 3 years. This summer he will add another name to his growing list of wacky homes, with plans to temporarily inhabit one of his so-called “super-furnitures” (see his “White Elephant”) in the Architecture Foundation storefront as part of a performance art/architectural installation for the London Festival of Architecture 2012.
The third in the series, the Hefner/Beuys House literalizes the cartoon frame and the narrative devices (bubble thoughts, line abstraction, color coding) it inheres so as to affect the experience of “walking through a comic book.” The structure is pocked with inhabitable spaces of shapes and sizes in which Lai will live, sleep, and explore. The “house” has also been designed with both a public “front” facing the street and a “back” that is only visible to gallery visitors, a dialectical play of exposure and non-exposure, stage and environment, Hugh Hefner and Joseph Beuys that will dictate and provoke Lai’s action, movement, and general behavior in the space(s).
Unfortunately, Lai is lacking the sufficient funds to ensure the project’s realization. What’s a “creative” to do in such circumstances? Take to Kickstarter, of course! Lai and Bureau Spectacular have launched a campaign to raise the $20,000 needed to continue their Super Furniture line. But their Kickstarter is unique in what and how they reward backers of the project: pledging one’s support could get you a copy of Lai’s forthcoming architectural comic book “Citizens of No Place” ($50), an original drawing ($150) or painting ($1,000), or even your own custom Super Furniture designed by Lai himself ($10,000, not including budget). If you’re unfamiliar with Lai’s fanciful and funny graphic work or his clever built work, rectify the situation now.