Bricks, Rubber, Concrete, and Stone: Field Experiments’ New Collection is Made From the Building Blocks of NYC
When Benjamin Harrison Bryant, Paul Marcus Fuog, and Karim Charlebois-Zariffa founded the nomadic design collective Field Experiments in 2013, they were inspired by the prospect of venturing to an exotic locale, removing themselves from their daily lives, and having that new place inform their work — the product of which they dubbed “souvenirs.” In their latest venture — a show at Brooklyn’s Fisher Parrish gallery on view through December 17 — the terrain has shifted to the familiar: New York City. All three have at some point resided in the city, with Bryant still calling Brooklyn home. But for this exhibition, the trio retained the notion of the souvenir, which they appreciated for its universal accessibility.
Take “Souvenir 175 – TV Stand,” a framed digital inkjet print depicting a collapsed aluminum can—often part of the detritus gracing the city’s subway tracks, but in this context cradling a smartphone as a makeshift holder. The items rest comfortably in each other’s grip, though the curious juxtaposition evokes the sense that the objects are “Hardly Together” — the exhibition’s moniker as well as an allusion to the tenuous connections between the NYC-infused pieces the trio has somehow intertwined.
In another series, the team produced lights propped up by bricks — that ubiquitous element of urban construction — and topped with a slab of wood balanced by a stone. “We started out trying to illustrate tension,” says Bryant. “We’re not trying to make a product that’s highly functional or the perfect lamp design, but it does make you think about what it would be like to pick up that heavy stone and whether the light would then crash down or go out.” Though they may provoke such ruminations, their creations are not delicate. According to Bryant, whose background is in industrial design, “If anything they stand in opposition to fragility. They are very attached in that sense.”