The Secret Life of Buildings: A CALL FOR OBJECTS

Submission: May 01, 2016
Registration: May 01, 2016
Language: English
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Prizes: Exhibition and Publication of OBJECT
Type: Open


This is a call for works of art or design that (i) might fairly be called ‘objects’ by the nascent philosophies of Speculative Realism and Object Oriented Ontology, and that (ii) will throw light on architecture as a peculiar set of objects, phenomena, ideas, relations, connections, skills, materials, obligations, and operations. A selection of twenty of these Objects—all physical and all, whether singular or configurations of smaller objects, falling within the four Parameters set out below—will be exhibited for two weeks around a three-day symposium to be staged by the Center for American Architecture and Design (CAAD) at The University of Texas at Austin in October 2016 called “The Secret Life of Buildings.”

Parameter 1 …that need nothing else and no one else; that are oblivious to where they are or what is made of them or how they were made, or what is done with (or to) them…OR that depend for their sense, and perhaps very existence, on exactly where they are, the company they keep, what is said about them, how they were made, and what is done with (or to) them;

Parameter 2 …that have secrets, capacities, tendencies, or desires; that are “tips of icebergs;” that “listen to different drummers;” that receive or send feeds to other places, people, objects, dimensions…AND/OR that have evident, unique, and remarkable qualities all their own…OR that have no qualities at all and ask who you are;

Parameter 3 …that point to or exemplify peculiarly architectural components, elements, phenomena, and processes without themselves being fragments or models (i.e. abstract miniatures) of them;

Parameter 4 …that weigh less than thirty pounds and occupy less than fifteen cubic feet shipped, AND can be drilled into and/or be mounted (specify indoors or outdoors) by clamps that are themselves clamped to a steel pole (specify orientation). The support for each Object will be custom provided by the organizers.*


The selection process will take place in two Stages. Stage One asks for a maximum of ten PDF images of models and/or drawings of the proposed Object, a one-page written description of it, and a brief resume of the designer/artist(s), submitted digitally by midnight May 2, 2016 to caad@austin.utexas.edu with ‘Object Entry’ in the subject line. Approximately forty of these will be selected to move on to Stage Two. (Entrants will be notified by May 15) On June 1, 2016, twenty will be asked to realize their Objects and have them delivered to Austin (address below) by September 30, 2016.


Artist/designers submitting a Proposal to Stage One must accompany their submission with a non-refundable Fee of $50 USD here.** Artist/designers selected for Exhibition will each receive a subsidy of up to $250 to help cover shipping costs, minus half the cost of shipping the Objects back to the artists, if they so request and if their shipping materials are re-usable. *Objects may be minimally modified by the organizers for the purposes of mounting, and by possible wear and tear.

**Up to 20 fee waivers are available on a first-come-first served basis, based on need, courtesy of the Georgia Tech Center for Media Studies. To apply, please write a brief letter justifying need to caad@austin.utexas.edu.


An edited selection of the photographs, drawings, and descriptions of the proposals and Objects submitted for exhibition will appear fully attributed in CENTER 21: The Secret Life of Buildings scheduled to be published in the Fall of 2017. Submission of material to this competition grants permission to CAAD to publish it in print and online at any time.


All artists, sculptors, designers, architects, and philosophers over 18 years of age are invited to enter, professional and student, U.S. and international. Entries may be from individuals or teams.

Go to the competition’s website