Aaron Powers & Stratton Coffman

Artists-in-Residence, 2023

Aaron Powers & Stratton Coffman

Artists-in-Residence, 2023

Aaron Powers and Stratton Coffman


May 13-19, 2023
Goethe-Institut Boston

Inspired by the new street uses that emerged during the pandemic, Poly Pockets is a public art installation in the form of a series of reconfigurable tent structures.

During the pandemic, buildings turned inside out. Things that used to happen inside moved into the street. The tent became the enclosure of choice for this new zone, but it has been used almost exclusively for dining. Poly Pockets is a set of modifications made to generic tent materials to expand what the street tent can host and what is legally permitted and culturally desired within the street. A roll of poly sheeting is subdivided and sewn into pockets that take on versatile roles when stuffed with whatever is on hand. Sand or crushed aggregate to make weighted pockets. Insulation to make thermal mass bodies. Soft stuffing to make comfy pads for resting. Sheet material to make rigid planes. Or mostly anything else. Through cutting, stitching, attaching, and filling, the building enclosure is deconstructed into pockets with special talents that can be recombined and linked together into different formats, from piles to lean-to’s to columns to [ ].

poly won't you won't you
Displayed alongside these assemblages will be a new video piece starring the pockets, by the performer, digital artist, and clown Carlos Sanchez. Performed through the lens of the eponymous Polly Pockets, "poly won't you won't you" is an absurdist clown short that tests the limits of the pocket's immaterial capacity.

Strat Coffman uses the multi-facing tools of architecture to explore how capital, institutions, and design discourses conspire to produce material, social, and epistemic bodies. They are an Architecture Fellow at University of Michigan and co-instigator of the architecture research and design working group Proof of Concept with Isadora Dannin. They hold a BA from Wesleyan University and M.Arch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where they received the Imre Halasz Thesis Prize and the AIA Henry Adams Medal. Their work has appeared in Log, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, and the Multimedia Anthropology Lab at University College London. They were previously an editor of Thresholds 48: Kin and a fellow at the MIT Transmedia Storytelling Initiative and are currently a 2023 artist-in-residence at the Goethe Institut.

Aaron Powers is a designer based in Los Angeles where he is currently working with creative director Willo Perron. He has worked internationally at design firms such as BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group and Buro Ole Scheeren, where he has been involved in prominent projects including the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion at the Serpentine Galleries in London and the Guardian Art Center in Beijing. Aaron has been a lecturer at the Ohio State University where he taught undergraduate and graduate design studios. He holds a master’s degree from MIT.

Aaron Powers
Strat Coffman
Ellie Ervin (fabrication)
Sabrina Ramsay (fabrication)

Cover photo credit: Stratton/Coffman