BAR Magazine

Issue 02

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A connected community

by Jameson Johnson

8 November 2017

Seattle Central Library, (2004) Rem Koolhaus.

“If space-junk is the human debris that litters the universe junk-space is the residue mankind leaves on the planet. The built (more about that later) product of modernization is not modern architecture but junkspace. Junkspace is what remains after modernization has run its course or, more precisely what coagulates while modernization is in progress, its fall-out.”
– Rem Koolhaus, Junkspace, 2001

You can identify any disenfranchised architecture student by whether the reference Rem Koolhaus’ 2001 essay, Junkspace or not. Reading Junkspace is comparable to reading a really mortifying diagnosis delivered by a doctor on LSD. It rambles, lingers, fails to end sentences, and is witty beyond measure. In his essay, Koolhaus attempts to illuminate the dangers of mundane corporatism, which is often packaged and disguised within a novel structure. He warns us against the “Generic City,” within which sterility and consumerism go hand in hand. Junkspace, says Koolhaus, is the collateral product of everything we’ve ever created and thrown away, repurposed as a formless, meaningless structure that, abandoned to accumulate, has slowly entrapped humanity.

At Fort5, a new gallery space in the living room of Boston artists Patrick Dawson and Julia Kokernak, artists recently gathered in opposition of and conversation with Junkspace.

Those in attendance were asked to engage with Koolhaus’ essay and formulate an artistic response. For their inaugural show, For Five exhibited 15 local artists, whose pieces ranged from film and photography to architecture and sculpture.

“I’m afraid that we are not deliberate in the way we create or walk through life,” says Dawson. This exhibition was specifically designed to connect artists from several disciplines and engage viewers in conversations that might feel abnormal, uncomfortable, or new, in an effort to foster new creativity.

In the lower level of the gallery space, Moche Porter’s Drawing Machine constantly attracted a crowd. Powered by Electric Currents, red and black ink spun from robotic arms across a piece of found plywood. Utilizing found materials and repurposing them to carry out a deliberate action, Porter’s piece played with the concept of Junkspace in an engaging, provocative manner.

Perhaps even more spectacular than the art were the conversations held at For Five. The space came as a much needed haven for Boston artists, especially on Mission Hill—an area generally criticized for its crime, student housing, and inaccessibility.

The exhibition proved to be a valuable moment for the budding space, providing a much needed conversation about how local artists engage with each other and draw connections across platforms.

Fort5 will be hosting their next exhibition, Of Motion, on November 17th. For more information or to submit artwork, visit