Metis is an atelier for art, architecture and urbanism founded by Mark Dorrian and Adrian Hawker at the University of Edinburgh in 1997, with the aim of connecting between architectural teaching, research and practice. Their work focuses on the city and the complex ways in which it is imagined, inhabited, and representationally encoded. They seek to produce rich, multi-layered works that resist immediate consumption and that are instead gradually unfurled over time through interaction with them. Their approach is concerned with establishing a poetic but critical approach to the city that is sensitive to its cultural memory but is also articulated in relation to its possible futures.
Metis’s installations and architectural and urban proposals have circulated internationally. Their book, Urban Cartographies, was published in 2002, and their work has been presented in exhibitions, lectures or discussions in Aarhus, Antwerp, Beijing, Berlin, Brisbane, Florence, Gent, Hanzhou, London, Montreal, New York, Paris, Prague, Rhode Island, Santiago de Compostella, Venice and Warsaw.
On the Surface presents seven projects by metis, which range from installations to large urban restructuring proposals. Working between two contrasting scales, the exhibition examines the complex topographics of the surface in metis’s architecture. Visitors entering the exhibition will encounter a vast drawing on which they walk, carpeting the floor of the gallery. Through this, an internal terrain is inserted within the display space, which is then inhabited by glass displays tables that hold detailed drawings and models. The viewers of the exhibition thus not only see a series of projects, but find themselves – as they travel across scale and space – active participants in a speculative architectural imaginary, one in which the architectural object is always in communication with the broader historical, cultural, material and representational conditions of the city or landscape within which it is positioned.
The exhibition ran from 10 October - 14 November 2014, and was shown in the gallery of the Arkitektskolen, Aarhus, Denmark.