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Gail Heidel

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Urbanism, particularly how the contemporary condition of interconnectivity, the agency of the individual and the theory of emergence effect the built environment is the focus of my work. To address these concepts, I create research based installations to highlight the importance of place and the living history of the site. These installations are comprised of an architectural vocabulary of press molded ceramic multiples and common building materials with a rough-hewn aesthetic. Historical relevance is placed on the use of ceramics as a building block of cities in its brick and tile form. The aesthetic choice is made to reference our aged infrastructure. My construction process is labor intensive and repetitive, echoing the mass production of buildings and the temporary construction sites that leave our cities in a constant state of flux. I investigate issues that arise in cities such as: urban development, eminent domain, access to private property, red lining, sprawl and subdivision of land. I also address suggested solutions achieved through responsible master plans. By loosely defining the outcome for an installation, I allow an emergent aspect to develop. Depending on the work, the viewer is invited to help install on site, enter a construction site, deconstruct or reorganize an installation with intent to encourage a sense of agency that is sometimes missing in the built environment. My work promotes ground up solutions to urban planning rather than top down decisions by requesting the viewer's participation and granting access to the work.