TEAM: Rebecca Choi, Sarah Hearne, Daniel Hesketh, Karen Kice, & Deane Madsen, Shannon Starkey, Ian Thomas, & Aaron Thomsen
ADVISOR: Sylvia Lavin
BRIEF: Exhibition at JANM, the Japanese American National Museum, July 13th-20th 2011
The US Pavilion presented the theme 'Images of America' through small exhibitions ranging from American painting, sports memorabilia, and most notably, the first curated exhibition about the NASA space race, merely two years after the American walk on the moon. The pavilion featured a long-span horizontal "ground scraper" that was covered with a pneumatically supported white vinyl-coated fiberglass skin. This luminous structure was envisioned by the architect Davis Brody as a projection of lunar architecture. On the interior, against the backdrop of a simulated moonscape, a sealed glass cabinet housed a piece of moon rock from the Apollo 11 expedition. A gravity-defying diorama of floating NASA astronaut mannequins and other space paraphernalia completed this triumphant posture.
Moon Race looks back to this exhibition and highlights the moon landing as both a momentous step in the timeline of human exploration, and the product of a new investment in the power of the image and media as a political tool.
Ultra Expo offers a dynamic glimpse into the Osaka Exposition of 1970, the first world exposition to be held in Japan. One of the bets attended in history, the Expo did not so much expose Japanese culture to the rest of the world as stage a veritable explosion of east and west, high art and popular culture as well as new technology and traditional ways of life. Added to this heady mix was a spirit of research and development, supported by international corporations, the leisure time and aesthetic sensibilities of a developing youth culture, moon rocks, time capsules and rock and roll bands. As did the 1970s event, Ultra Expo goes beyond conventional exhibition formats to create an unorthodox way of displaying historic material, emphasizing its contemporary currency rather than nostalgic exactitude. Of particular emphasis in the exhibition installation is the use of film, video and photography to produce anew the no longer extant atmospheres of this once exemplary architecture of the future.
Ultra Expo was curated by Sylvia Lavin, Professor and Director of Critical Studies and M.A./PhD programs at UCLA's school of Architecture and Urban Design. Lavin is Director of Hi-C, a program in which UCLA doctoral and design students collaborate on exhibitions, symposia and publications that establish a forum for wide discussion of experimental work in architecture.