Is it construction? Asbestos removal? A hack? Art? These are the questions Grady Gerbracht hopes to raise in the minds of people who use the basement level corridors between Buildings 68, E17, E18 and E19 for their routine travels.
The Visual Arts Program graduate fellow has installed an "architectural intervention," a temporary, translucent wall in a project he calls Passage. Situated in what Mr. Gerbracht calls "one of the most eccentric and peculiar spaces of the MIT campus" -- a staircase and handicap ramp leading to a proposed but never completed connection with Building E15 -- Passage masks the dead end, while a bare bulb behind the screens showcases the silhouettes of the hidden architectural elements. Mr. Gerbracht aims to encourage introspection, inquiry and creativity as passersby "confront the unexpected."
He says his project exemplifies the research spirit at MIT, using themes of inquiry, psychology, technology, architecture and creative innovation. "It also emphasizes the unique visual language of MIT's subterranean transit network and the lore of the physical and metaphorical nervous system of the Institute -- the Infinite Corridor and its extended network of passages," he said.
Passage was funded by a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT and by contributions from the School of Architecture and Ur-ban Planning and the Department of Architecture.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 16, 1998.