MAAT — the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology in Lisbon, Portugal — has reopened with a museum-wide architectural intervention by New York-based studio SO-IL. Titled ‘Beeline’, the large scale ephemeral work transforms the Amanda Levete-designed building into a landscape of encounters and conversations by taking audiences through elevated pathways, stage areas, and workshop zones. ‘this not only transforms the way visitors enter and experience MAAT, but also challenges the implied hierarchies of spaces in a traditional museum and provide flexibility for an ever-evolving organization,’ states Florian Idenburg, who leads SO-IL alongside Jing Liu.
Also on view at MAAT is an exhibition, titled ‘Currents – temporary architectures’, which presents 12 projects by SO-IL from the past decade. The work is organized in six thematic pairs that document subjects the studio explores in its temporary and built work. The exhibition includes 1:1 mock-ups, ephemera, models, and books, with graphic design by studio Geoff Han, texts by Beatrice Galilee, and video contributions by past commissioners.
As part of this intervention, the architects also designed a set of 15 mobile and reconfigurable art storage units, which are scattered throughout the space. Their contents, besides actual archived art materials, are collectively titled ‘The Peepshow’ — artists from the EDP foundation portuguese art collection’ and feature discreet and intimate interventions revealing artists’ workings, methodologies, moments of creation. Coinciding with the reopening of MAAT, a temporary second entrance has been added facing the city centre.
‘Beeline’ was designed to host ‘MAAT mode’, a six-month long experimental participatory public program of various events initiated by MAAT’s new director — Beatrice Leanza. Co-developed with a variety of international and locally-based practitioners, cultural and educational institutions as well as community groups, the initiative embodies a ‘transformative gesture that re-purposes the museum into a polyfunctional civic arena where public life is debated, probed, challenged and possibly inspired towards a more inclusive and equitable making of the future,’ says Leanza.
Other commissioned installations include an acoustic spatialization project by Cláudia Martinho, designed to offer a diversity of listening experiences that comprises the songs of extinct and critically endangered bird species. elsewhere, Sam Baron has realized a communication system to aid visitors’ return to the museum in respect of new regulations relating to COVID-19. This three-dimensional, low-tech system permeates the sites of the museum with a gentle yet unique design language made of reconfigurable modules using common bricks and reflective surfaces with a personal graphic language to remind visitors how to respect current rules. MAAT reopened to the public on June 10, 2020.
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image © iwan baan