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Art & Architecture Festival 2024

Bethel Woods Art & Architecture Festival and Buildfest 2024 invites academics and researchers to propose ideas for large-scale art installations to be built on the historic grounds of the 1969 Woodstock festival. Over the course of a five-day live-work festival, accepted participants will work with self-organized student teams to build, install, and work through on-site design solutions.

Once completed, the selection of installations will be utilized during the Catbird Music Festival—an Americana festival taking place on the historic 1969 Woodstock site—as functional art-infrastructures to be experienced and adapted for festival attendees.

Brief:

Candidates are asked to:

  • 1. Take a stance on building in the 21st century and draw a line in the silica-rich sand that will one day get processed into their computer chips: Do you reject technology or embrace it—To what extent?
  • 2. Detail how this stance generates a flexible (and physical) festivity for the digital epoch: how does your installation function in the context of a modern music festival—how can it adapt over three years?

Successful proposals should focus on building, not as a noun but as a verb, and should touch on one or more of the following thematic questions:

  • How can digital and analog modes of design/fabrication better interface to create a more integrated construction ecosystem?
  • How can computational tools, digital fabrication, and/or the use of off-the-shelf parts help supplement analog skills in the context of a four-day design-build camp?
  • How can autonomous fabrication and/or robotics aid handbuilding to push toward more ethical, smaller-scale economies of labor and construction?
  • How can a site’s history and cultural significance inform and engage with built structure?
  • What technologies should be rejected? How can labor be implemented as a meaningful activity rather than a necessary evil?

Likewise, proposals should suggest the potential festivities that the respective
artwork will facilitate, including:

  • What function will the installation serve?
  • How the installation’s function can adapt over multiple festival seasons?
  • What emergent activities of play and wonder can the installations facilitate in festival attendees?
  • What new programmatic choreographies can the installation incite?
  • How does the project interface in a decidedly physical setting?
  • How does the project interface with a digital presence in its afterlife on the web and social media?

The most successful projects will:

  • Be capable of withstanding at least three seasons of Catskills weather.
  • Have a finishing/maintenance plan to ensure the project can be renewed each season.
  • Be capable of a festival activation or function.

Eligibility:

  • All university faculty in design or a related field of any rank are welcome to apply upon permission from their institutions. Accepted candidates will be required to provide written consent from their department chair or supervisor before being granted the project.
  • Selected candidates are expected to bring self-organized student/faculty teams of 8-16 people each, including faculty.
  • Selected candidates should be experienced builders and/or fabricators capable of coordinating and managing a design-build project. The 2024 Art & Architecture Festival will provide the hand tools and materials necessary to complete the projects and may provide additional fabrication expertise if desired.
  • Any digital fabrication necessary should be conducted using the resources of the candidate’s home institution.
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