Blue Marble Circus
2017 Fay Chandler Creativity Grant
An invitation to re-learn, like Atlas, how to carry the world
Blue Marble Circus is a monument to industrial humanity’s plastic footprint, which—although at a planetary scale—remains outside our geographical imagination. The installation appropriates Rome’s ancient Pantheon, known for its spherical “architecture of the cosmos,” to take aim at the dissonance between our individual worries and the vast environmental transformations the Earth is undergoing.
The geodesic sphere appropriates “Blue Marble,” the iconic symbol of the environmental movement. The blue shrink-wrapped globe is also a camera obscura, an optical device that projects site-specific views of the surroundings into the chamber. All white inside, its plastic material expression invites another planetary imagination, with greenhouse gases and greenhouse agriculture as subject matters for architecture. The blue miniature is hence an aesthetic invitation to re-learn, like Atlas, how to carry the world—and all there is above it—on our shoulders.
The installation was produced for Design Biennial Boston in the summer of 2017. Recognizing architects with innovative practices, the juried biennial program commissions a series of four small-scale installations on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. The DESIGN EARTH contribution, Blue Marble Circus, engaged the public with an immersive and critical experience of their environment.
More information at the DESIGN EARTH website.
Biennale Architettura 2021 (Venice Architecture Biennale 2021)
May 22 – November 21, 2021
AS ONE PLANET (GIARDINI, CENTRAL PAVILION)
Design Biennial Boston
August 8–October 10, 2017
Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy
Rania Ghosn is Associate Professor of architecture and urbanism at MIT and founding partner, with El Hadi Jazairy, of DESIGN EARTH. Ghosn’s research engages the territories of technological systems to address aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism in the age of the environment. Her scholarship integrates geography in a design methodology that brings together spatial history, geographic representation, speculative design, and public assemblies.
El Hadi Jazairy is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan and currently Research Scientist at the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism where his research focuses on Urbanism and Energy Systems. He is also the founding partner of the award-winning practice DESIGN EARTH.
Conceptual Design: Aaron Weller, Larisa Ovalles
Fabrication: Justin Lavallee, Christopher Dewart, Cristina Clow, Lex Agnew, Rawan Al-Saffar, Ching Ying Ngan, Marc Smith, Sabrina Madera, Michael Epstein, Paul Short, Jongbang Park, and Xin Wen
Structural Engineers: Paul Kassabian, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Optics Consultants: Lee Zamir, Tom Gearty
Facilities and Support: Autodesk BUILD Space (Athena Moore, Taylor Tobin, Adam Allard), MIT (Jim Harrington, Jennifer O’Brien, Maria Moran)
Presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST). Further funding was made possible by the Design Biennial Boston and the MIT School of Architecture + Planning Faculty Discretionary Funds.