American artist Alex Schweder spent ten days in a tiny inflatable plastic bubble at the site of Philip Johnson’s iconic Glass House. The artist's temporary structure entitled "Rehearsal Space" was lifted 22 feet in the air by a hydraulic system and connected to the adjacent Brick House by a power cord. The mobile living unit is a combination van, scissor lift and inflatable room that the artist describes as a kind of “performance architecture.”
Schweder first conceived the bubble home as a rentable hotel room for the exhibition “Draft Urbanism” for the 2013 Biennial of the Americas in Denver a few months ago. The exhibition at Philip Johnson’s Glass House estate is its first presentation outside of Denver.
The artist explained the project as an attempt to make the visitor observe the surroundings from a different perspective and think about the principle of transparency, intimacy and being exposed to the outside. Unlike his previous projects that require participation and often the audience’s physical involvement, Schweder lived alone in his inflatable rooms for 1o days. Throughout that time, he used Johnson’s private library to write a manuscript about “performance architecture.”
The project is a part of a long term campaign by Glass House director Henry Urbach to transform the site into a cultural center. Urbach hopes to establish a creative residency at the site and fully restore Johnson’s houses.
Photos by Amanda Kirkpatrick