Convention Island

AAD Studio

Summer 2012

Dan Wood, critic, with Sam Dufaux + Jen Wood

2012 was an election year. Within this context, we proposed to reexamine the space of the political convention. The idea was to create an architectural space which challenged the current two-party system in the United States, encouraged protests as a more participatory form of democracy and created room for new forms of public dialogue and commentary on the political system.

Why are conventions so perennially engaging? The answer, it seems, has to do with deeply engrained relationship between mass events in public space and our perception of a participatory democracy. The image of the crowd, the vastness of the space containing the event and the spectacle of banners, signage and backdrop have served as poignant symbols of the relationship between “the people” and those chosen to represent them throughout history.

The new convention hall site was located on Governor’s Island, tapping into the ability of island sites to tap into the public’s imagination as a world unto itself, while providing the locale for programs that could not easily be contained within the grid.

We thank Chip Lord, Ant Farm Founder, for his participation to our studio. With his insight we took an intimate look at Ant Farm’s seminal project Convention City of 1972.

Qingxiang Liang A/B
Ying Li C/D
Yusef Dennis E/F