Aaron Jones Architect
Web Model Dot Space
Talking Dolls Detroit
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
w/ Waajeed, Wesley Taylor
Web Model Dot Space is a suspended, bell-like dome that graphically represents the interior of an existing Detroit church as a floating, immersive, performative venue. Viewers become active participants as they enter the overhanging structure and become enveloped by its phenomenal nature.
The environment incorporates looping tracks composed by musical luminary Waajeed. Entitled “Worship Tones,” the music is derived from legacies and experiences within the Black Church and therefore both draws upon and inspires certain religious themes. The mash-up of musical scores within represented, existing architectures is meant to stoke a deeper and more critical engagement of both elements.
Web Model Dot Space becomes an entry point, or portal, to critical dialogue around how existing spaces can facilitate visionary use. Our everyday built environment is filled with static, ancient architectures and institutions that symbolize a kind of permanence. Jones’ architectures are forward-thinking in how they reimagine these familiar spaces in unfamiliar, sensory ways. The viewer steps inside this shift in place; an experience that prompts consideration of how inclusive these sites have historically been in terms of diversity of people, methodologies, and thinking.
excerpted from Wesley Taylor's essay "Referendum at Play"
It’s been insightful to see his “referendum strategy” at play over the years because of the possibilities it opens up with the themes he focuses on. In the case of this project the word referendum doesn't imply finality, or judgment, it is actually an examination of the missed opportunities of dominant institutions, architecture types, systems, genres, and frameworks in regards to how non-inclusive they have been historically in terms of diversity of people, methodologies, and thinking. In the referendum he creates new scenarios in order to inject the missed opportunities back into the programming of the institutions he wishes to critique to make them more suitable for the future. Aaron has leaned on the mash-up as his preferred method to make his point and generate compelling juxtapositions. One such is his interest in the illusion of “quadratura,” the baroque paintings in the domes of cathedrals. Usually they were commissioned to make the churchgoer feel like they were in the presence of heaven by mapping a forced perspective of celestial beings on the ceiling. Aaron copies this move by projecting an entire church inside of a paper dome. This stripping down of opulence onto flat commonplace materials is matched by the minimalist compositions of Waajeed’s Worship Tones.
Aaron has a keen ability to observe sites through listening and synthesize that listening into models of buildings and speculative pavilions. Waajeed, a self-proclaimed ambassador for the city of Detroit, has mastered his practice of listening to craft these soundscapes. Both have the innate ability to make connections between geographies through shamanism, model making, and experience design. The propositions that work makes are actually big claims and major critiques by both architect and DJ on the most major established institutions. When you hear them talk or witness them DJ, there is a deep sincerity in both. Even though they tread on similar territory, their understated conviction is in contrast to the fervor you may hear from Kanye West and his Sunday Service church. When Waajeed says that DJs are shamans, he means it. When Aaron says new architectural typologies are necessary, he is serious. It is important to understand the context of Detroit’s music scene where there are established traditions of ordaining music producers as deities, and DJs who have served as pastor/deacon/praise leader/choir director for 30+ years that this work is an extension of those established traditions. I can now understand the tone of Aaron’s proposal as cover to not stir up dogma or for not wanting to sound dogmatic himself as they go through the paces of scaling up the work. What both Aaron and Waajeed are offering is a place of aboutness that is neither the church nor the club, but a stratosphere all of its own. The referendum they are proposing is more of an opportunity for a reset/refresh and less of an indictment.