Cities in the developing regions of the world are exploding. Cities in the old world exhibit complex patterns of increased intensity and challenges to cultural traditions. Other cities are shrinking against the background of economic, social and political reconfiguration and increased technological mobility. The decay of large tracts of urban and social fabric is for the most part a slow and reflective process – in some cases these fractures appear without hope, in other cases with an acute awareness of the fear and desire that accompany such processes.
During the 2009/10 academic year Professors Thomas Kong and Hennie Reynders, together with an interdisciplinary group of students from SAIC are conducting a year-long collaborative project based in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects. The studio is collaborating with architect Kenta Kishi, students from Tokyo and the community of Beppu through explorations into mutations of urban environments. With a critical stance towards the acts of thinking and of making in the city building process, the GFRY studio is exploring the role of artists, designers and architects and possible alternative modes of citizen action when laying claim to the city by the re-activation of physical and social infrastructure. A series of biopic investigations, workshops and installations In Beppu, Detroit and Chicago will lead to final propositions that will be exhibited in Tokyo during March and in Chicago from mid-June 2010. The GFRY STUDIO at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is generously funded through a grant received from the Motorola Foundation.