RE: Application for the ISLAND RESIDENCY by Piotr Chizinski and Ryder Richards (for the Summer of 2012)

We propose a 6 week social experiment with the Island Residency. Utilizing the official protocols identified by the FEMA disaster handbook, “Are You Prepared,” (sections 1.3 and 1.4) we will attempt to directly engage Zittel’s built space and the larger residency and community in a conversation that “examines the daily needs of contemporary human beings.” [1]

Forced restrictions brought about by environmental disasters produce a previously unconsidered relationship between individual and surroundings. We will attempt to replicate this relationship engaging 3 levels of living conditions: emergency shelter (a constructed, temporary floating workspace/studio), temporary shelter (the island), and temporary housing (the pavilion). Each level provides a different set of restrictions, exposure to the elements, alteration of personal routine, and availability of modern luxuries.

Within this framework, while at the residency, our efforts would continue the work previously engaged at the residency through further use of modular furniture and the “floating gardens”. Developing shippable, collapsible furniture that would float based on shipping palette and crate technologies (two chairs, a coffee table, and a futon/bed) this modular furniture can be collapsed for easy transport or shipping. We will also utilize the existing “floating gardens” and telescoping aluminum and wood crates to form a “floating garden/emergency studio.” Transporting the modular furniture to the “studio” from the “island” and back on a daily basis will allow us to navigate alternating realms of public transparency, private isolation, and our daily trips to the pavilion will enact a reliance on existing infrastructures.

To further engage the public we will construct an interactive, computerized kiosk, or “public liaison center,” that will allow visitors to communicate with the artists in real-time and engage in social projects. One such project, utilizing excerpts from the “Household and Personal Property Inventory Handbook,”[2] will ask visitors to upload camera phone images of their home to the kiosk and within 30 seconds select 5 items of personal value they would gather during an emergency. Consultation with the artists generates personalized, emotionally relevant, evacuation plans for these individuals. The anonymous results will be posted on our blog as an ongoing record of human values as opposed to hierarchical or institutional considerations.

We have further discussed utilizing the existing message system by attaching waterproof containers for small objects while also implementing a “donation box” or alternate method of delivery for larger items such as food. Similar to existing disaster relief plans implemented on a national basis the “donation box” would create another layer of interaction and reliance between the isolated artists and the regional community.

We hope these contributions –a floating garden/emergency studio, modular furniture, public liaison center, and community oriented donation component— will be worthwhile to future residents.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Piotr Chizinski & Ryder Richards and

[1] Andrea Zittel’s “Island Residency” statement to James Eischen _

[2] University of Illinois, College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, 1997