A/D/O by MINI | On Loop: creative repetition

Journal

Installations

On Loop: creative repetition

Through a variety of repeated tasks, the On Loop installation at A/D/O allows participants to test whether the whole is really greater than the sum of its parts.

Repetitive tasks are known to be relaxing, therapeutic, and can even send the mind into a trance-like state. But what role do they play in the creative process? The On Loop installation at A/D/O in Brooklyn invites visitors to partake in such monotonous activities, becoming part of an experiment that will inform Universal Design Studio’s ongoing research into how behavioral patterns and assumptions affect design processes and outcomes.

To coincide with the Archtober festival, taking place across New York City all this month, A/D/O collaborated with London-based Universal on the interactive exhibit, which relies on groups of people to produce a particular piece of design – each individual effectively performing as a cog in a machine.

The project developed from a previous iteration, On Repeat, which Universal presented at the 2017 London Design Festival. Similarly, it involves multiple participants working collaboratively on an array of repetitive manual tasks. “Instead of solitary tasks, it relies on people working together,” Universal co-directors Jason Holley and Paul Gulati told The Journal. “Circular activities that loop around and explore iteration.”

Throughout the month, visitors to the space will be met with a set of instructions that will outline various tasks to be completed. These will include simple drawing and making exercises, with the aim to achieve cumulative outputs – in a cross between an Exquisite Corpse game and a production line.

While On Repeat activities took place at a long table housed in a wooden pavilion, On Loop comprises a circular table with a spinning Lazy Susan mechanism to help groups pass items between each other. Although participants are armed with instructions, the Universal team is interested to see if they all follow the task at hand, or deviate from the rules. How dramatically might this affect the other participants, and the final outcomes?

Plywood shelving that surrounds the table acts as a display for whatever objects are created during the various sessions, so will become gradually more populated over the month. However, the finished pieces are not the primary focus of the installation. “The project is more about activity than outcome,” said Holley and Gulati. “The idea of trial and error, and the importance of making mistakes, will be the key takeaways.”

As well as the free public day-to-day activities available as part of On Loop, a series of seven ticketed evening workshops will allow participants to explore the installation’s themes using a variety of media, including craft, food, drawing, writing, and teachable systems.

For example, BKLYN CLAY will host two events: the first requires attendees to shape clay forms using simple tools; in the second, a different group of participants will decorate and finish the items. Designer Laila Gohar will lead another workshop involving the creation of edible outcomes, then to close the series, a partnership with IBM will allow guests to teach choreographed movements to an artificial intelligence robot.

Whether molding vessels or pickling food, anyone who participates in On Loop will play a small yet significant part in the month-long experiment, even if just to zone-out for a few minutes.