An installation by Gilly Booth created as part of an artist in residency at H.Q. im Loop, Zurich, 2020 curated by Iona Ruegg and Jiajia Zhang, supported by Pool Architects.
Moving images and sound collide across two photographic developing trays containing molasses – a ‘conversation’ of footage from Bini’s abandoned test facility, Mushroom Field site experiments of the mid-1960s, to scenes of present-day Tokyo and Hakodate. The split-screen image is collaged together with a double-layered soundtrack, the sound and image often reversed or turned upside down. The Binishell’s architectural radars listen to the sounds (artificial and real) from images of travel, barriers and technology in Japan, at the same time amplifying environmental sound. Abandoned and reclaimed by nature, they remain as monuments to ‘Unfinished Architecture’.
The architect Dante Bini exhibited his ‘Binishells’ in Expo 1970 in Osaka, Japan. At the same time he designed ‘La Cupola’ for Michelangelo Antonioni and Monica Vitti within Costa Paradiso, a tourist destination in Sardinia. The ‘Mushroom Field’ site, a 1970s utopian vision set against a backdrop of the first moon landing, widespread anti-war protests, and environmentalism. It was a time when architects experimented with radical designs as an instrument of political, social and cultural critique. Bini in particular was interested in building structures on the moon (‘Early Lunar Bases’), and creating levitating cities: the TRY megastructure concept, an unrealised project commissioned by Shimizu Corporation for Tokyo Bay.