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Germane Barnes - Play-House

June 8, 2024
9:00 am
November 17, 2024
7:00 pm
Germane Barnes - Play-House

Rezime

Paying homage to a definitive style of home frequently seen throughout parts of South Florida, including Overtown, Coconut Grove and beyond, architect and designer Germane Barnes activates MOCA’s Paradise Courtyard with a pared-down replica of a shotgun house. This installation serves as a site of play and exploration, transforming the building into a playscape that balances recreation with learning. Visitors can explore the history of these homes through VR-activated archives.  

Shotgun houses, a common vernacular architecture style in the American South, are simple dwellings characterized by their narrow structure with rooms arranged a linear path from front to back. These homes, often found in higher concentrations in larger cities, were primarily constructed out of wood and located close to work sites. Today, many of these homes in the greater Miami area have been demolished and replaced by multifamily units and larger condominiums, changing the area’s historical fabric.

In Play-House, Barnes strips the building of its finishings and presents the raw lumber  structure. This bare presentation acts as a metaphor for these homes, which are frequently disparaged as slums or markers of poverty. The installation highlights the reliance on the labor of Black bodies in Miami’s history. From the city’s construction to the operation of hotels and entertainment spaces, Black workers were fundamental to the area’s development. They returned to these shotgun houses to live and grow their families.

By stripping down the dwelling to the studs, Play-House lays bare the story of this history.  Activating images from turn-of-the-century newspaper articles and resources from the Black Archives, this work aims to solidify these spaces and stories in our collective memory.

About the Artist

Germane Barnes is a Chicago-born, Miami-based artist and architect whose award-winning research and design practice investigates the connection between architecture and identity. He examines architecture’s social and political agency, focusing on how the built environment influences Black domesticity. He believes strongly in design as a process, turning project constraints into opportunities, and views architecture as a source for transformation – materially, conceptually, and sociologically.

Currently, he is an Associate Professor and Director of The Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture. His work has been featured at The Museum of Modern Art NY, SF MoMA, MAS Context, The Graham Foundation, The New York Times, DesignMIAMI/Art Basel, Metropolis Magazine, Domus, and The National Museum of African American History, where he was noted as a future designer on the rise. Barnes holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Architecture from Woodbury University.

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