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Thick Skin


“Our design is a large, monolithic object, that takes inspiration from the Earth Artist Michael Heizer’s
lifelong interest in the marriage of photographs of the natural landscape and the material presence of
massive geological fragments. Our installation is to be sited in the A+D courtyard; a large visual
intervention in the post-industrial fabric of the Arts District. The graphic panels of the object cue viewers
into a juxtaposition between the rapidly developing, hyper-urban condition of downtown LA and the
material realities of the inhuman landscapes that surround it. The geometric and otherworldly nature of
the work is somewhere between an installation, sculpture and a post-human monument or obelisk.
Thick Skin began as a research project led by us at the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and
Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. The project primarily explores optical interactions between
complex architectural forms (three-dimensional geometric studies) and flat, two-dimensional graphics.
We are specifically interested in the visual effects offered by printing graphic designs on rigid panels that
can be used to clad-or-skin buildings. In this sense, our large object to be installed in the A+D courtyard
(10’ at its highest point when installed) can be understood as an abstract model, or proto-architectural
proposal for full-scale building projects.”

-Viola Ago & Hans Tursack

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