February 18, 2010 — "Fallow City Project," a full-scale prototype for an intervention in suburbs in crisis, is an installation by Berenika Boberska, a visiting artist and architect at the University of Virginia's McIntire Department of Art.
The exhibit opens Feb. 26 in U.Va.'s Ruffin Gallery and runs through March 26. A "Final Friday" opening reception is set for Feb. 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Boberska's project – which focuses on Detroit – aims to develop new scenarios and new typologies for the emerging fallow cityscapes as close-in suburbs decay. Her designs imagine using or misusing suburban forms in public ways, creating public structures and using photovoltaic systems to provide light for spaces of encounter and gathering even as the city infrastructure retreats. In agriculture, a fallow season creates an interruption where unusual uses and forms can flourish, Boberska said.
The exhibition presents a full-scale installation of "Solar Thicket," a prototype structure. Boberska collaborated with studio art and architecture students and faculty in the sciences to develop and fabricate the project.
Deploying strategies found in fairy tales, Boberska's "solar thickets" – fanciful, hair-like appendages dotted with solar-collecting cells – grow out from a house, facilitating enchantment and transformation, Boberska said. They can connect between houses, urban meadows, span over streets and interweave a new layer of public space into the existing suburban landscape.
Free parking for the Final Friday opening reception is available in the Culbreth Road Parking Garage.
For information, call 434-924-6123.
• "Fallow City" is sponsored by the office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, Arts$, and the School of Architecture. Fallow City is also supported by the Plastic Project, a Page Barbour funded interdisciplinary program in the College of Arts & Sciences at U.Va. Corporate support was provided by BP Solar and Konarka Technologies.