UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Felecia Davis, who has gained widespread recognition for her work designing lightweight textiles that change properties in response to their environment, is one of 10 architects, designers and artists that will be featured in an upcoming Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) show in Manhattan, New York City, examining contemporary architecture in the context of how systemic racism has fostered violent histories of discrimination and injustice in the United States.
Opening Oct. 17, “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America” is described by organizers as “an investigation into the intersections of architecture, Blackness and anti–Black racism in the American context.” The exhibition will feature a series of 10 newly commissioned works that will, according to the MoMA “explore how people have mobilized Black cultural spaces, forms and practices as sites of imagination, liberation, resistance and refusal.”
The show is the fourth iteration of the museum’s “Issues in Contemporary Architecture” series, which began in 2010. As with previous exhibitions in the series, community workshops and panel discussions will be held next spring that will delve into each contributor’s work.
An assistant professor of architecture and director of the Computational Textiles Lab (SOFTLAB) in the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, Davis is developing textile systems for use in architecture that can sense and respond to the world around them through digital electronic programing and sensors. These systems can also be programmed by using the natural transformative quality of the material itself in connection with environmental cues, such as humidity, temperature and light.
The purpose of the textile systems – or “architextiles,” as they are referred to – is to use the responsiveness and sensual qualities of the material to communicate information or, in other words, to tell a story. An example of these systems are soft walls that elicit emotions from people in a space or to help a person who is not in touch with their emotions be able to communicate to a caretaker, doctor or nurse in non-verbal way.
Yolande Daniels, co-principal of Studio SUMO and a speaker in the Stuckeman School’s 2019-20 Lecture and Exhibit Series, will also be featured in the MoMA show.
“Reconstructions” will be on view from Oct. 17 through Jan. 18, 2021. More information can be found via the MoMA website.