Springfield Biennial



“I will not replace a candy heart with a frog’s heart” grudgingly writes Bart Simpson on the classroom blackboard a hundred times over as his punishment. Even though Bart’s initial endeavor was likely committed in a purely mischievous light, had Bart plotted to instead replace the Lard Lad Donut shop with the local police station, one interpretation might be that the combination functions simply as a practical joke. Perhaps another read might be the acknowledgement of the cultural relationship between Chief Wiggum and other policemen with their obsession with donuts.

By combining existing spatial variables inscribed within the built environment, whether tectonic, anthropological, or geographical, this thesis posits that as a result of their combination, the built environment can be rendered uncanny; or in other words, the mask of otherwise hidden, discrete ideologies can be unveiled.

Functioning as an anthropological index across the American landscape, the Springfield Biennial is a traveling exhibition throughout 9 of the 34 Springfields in the United States that temporarily site 9, 1:2 scale architectural fragments. Each Springfield is approximately contextualized and analyzed through a distinct contemporary lens and given a set of variables to be combined generating their own respective tectonic fragment: Agent + Typology(A) + Typology (B) + Object + Location. Agents operating as a function of the human contemporary moment; typologies as a function of the built environment—how they are collectively derived, maintained, and extended; objects as a function of possible artifacts, each carrying their own referential associations, biases, and subjectivities; and location as function of a form’s position in space.

Through the reappropriation of the familiar in a combinatory act to better understand the relationship between ourselves and the environment around us, this thesis leans towards the shifting, the modulating, the multiple, versus the singular, the unchanging, and the absolute.