The Art of Archive
Eli Broad’s recently challenged museums to display or loan more of their collections, saying, “Get art out of the basements.” According to The Art Newspaper, he is dismayed that 90% of collections are languishing in storage. The article has generated broad agreement that Mr. Broad has a good point. Though there are some obvious practical limitations to displaying even 50% a collection there has been an honest movement to transform storage spaces into something more than black holes. SD Fine Art Storage would like to bring to everyone’s attention to some attempts (public, private, and commercial) to transform storage into an art form.

As the visitors wander through the public atrium space below the galleries the art is being zipped from the archive to the gallery in much the same way the fountain dances to music. Casting fl uid shadows below on the people who are there to see that very same work. The curator has the opportunity to effect not only the contents of the gallery but the nature and the aesthetic of the museum itself. If the archive is expressive on the facade then the curation defi nes the museum entirely.

Our proposed museum is most easily likened to a modern library with an automated retrieval system. However, we are proposing that hiding this systems, while both increasing
effi ciency in terms of space, time and capitol, weakens the museum-goers experience. It is dishonest tectonically and politically to steal the archive away, hidden in a mysterious
basement. Instead we proposed freeing the archive by allowing it to wrap around the galleries. When this concept is considered we fi nd that it requires an interstitial space that the robotic retrieval system can occupy. This is a very liberating idea architecturally because now we are charged with designing the gallery spaces, archive, and, the spaces in between. We have chosen to create an archive that envelopes the entire site, arching and warping in response to the urban condition and the ellipsoidal galleries inside. This archive is a complex pattern of high performance storage units. Because they are can act as a skylight (or light box) the curator of the museum has the additional responsibility of
deciding where to store art. By doing so they can generate simple or intricate patterns along the facade as viewed from inside, and especially outside at a distance. This simple binary on/off condition can be used savvily to generate patterns that can morph over long time frame-potentially decades as a refl ection of the literal state of the art of storage. A robotic retrieval system moves art as it arrives into specialized units which are then guided along rail systems embedded in the facade of the galleries and archive itself. In this manner the art is guided to its temporary home in the archive. It can be retrieved any time by the curator, and delivered to any of the fi ve galleries. This can encourage impromptu
viewings that might otherwise be too diffi cult to arrange. And, potentially, the citizenry can vote democratically by searching a virtual archive and then selecting what the want to view, only to have it appear minutes later. Embellishing the ritual of curation; the art of archive.

It is important to consider the unconsidered. Architecture can be looked at as circle with things like space, light, and geometry. Yet multimedia, Mechanics, and sensors are not as readily considered. Yet with the understandings of chaos theories there is an necessity to acknowledge that there are too many variables within any real world situation to be considered simultaneously. Therefore it becomes imperative to collect multidisciplinary collaborations. This is necessary for producing singular product. To continue the metaphor architecture or any other discipline are not two dimensional, and not even three dimensional. Disciplines are at least four dimensional. Therefore it is essential for a societal
embrace of collaboration to address issues. Putting blinders on and ignoring the inter-connectivity of information is short sided. Let us not forget the implications of cloud computing goes far beyond our ability to process information, it has a conceptual relationship to the thoughts and ideas of society at large.

Works Cited: SD Fine Art Storage & Services. “The Art of Storage.” The Fine Art of Storage. 27 Aug. 2010. Web. 13 Dec. 2010.