This year’s Exhibit Columbus explores the conditions of middle places as interconnections between ecosystems and the built environment through 13 temporary installations that highlight various aspects that make up the identity of the Mississippi watershed. Now at its third edition, the event builds on the Modernist cultural legacy of the Indiana city through a series of artistic and architectural explorations that activate public spaces and engage the community of Columbus
Curated by Iker Gil and Mimi Zeiger, the 2021 Exhibit Columbus brings together an international community of artists and architects reflecting on the theme “New Middles: From Main Street to Megalopolis, What is the Future of the Middle City?”. The site-specific installations engage with a variety of topics, from issues of identity to the physical, educational spaces in the context of the pandemic, to inclusive public spaces, habitats, ecosystems or the architectural legacy of Late Modernism.
Through the Cloudroom installation, Madrid-based Ecosistema Urbano proposes an inflatable dome to act as an outdoor classroom while also reflecting climatic conditions through the changes n colour coordinated by environmental sensors. As a significant percentage of Columbus’ population works evening and night shifts, Future Firm‘s Midnight Palace creates a lattice of light fixtures that shape a public space catering to these residents.
Other projects include LaWaSo Ground by Jei Jeeyea Kim that creates a space for contemplation by echoing the limestone quarries reminiscent of Indigenous earthworks along the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, and Olalekan Jeyifous’ Archival/Revival, which revisits the deigns of the 1970 African Art exhibit. Focusing on the ecologies of the Mississippi, To Middle Species, With Love by Joyce Hwang builds habitats for the wildlife of the area, while the Tracing Our Mississippi project by Derek Hoeferlin brings into focus the rive’s watershed.