School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The COM(M)A Studio is the most recent in a sequence of multi-disciplinary studios organized by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. These studios, entitled “GFRY” are made possible by an ongoing partnership between SAIC and the Motorola Foundation. COM(M)A was conceived in the devastating wake of the two consecutive earthquakes in Chile & Haiti in 2010 by SAIC Faculty members Paul Tebben and Odile Compagnon.

The focus of the studio rests in the temporary aftermath of disaster, at a moment where each decision and each action is critical to the continuity of a culture and to the communities who cultivate it. Made up of students from a broad range of disciplines, COM(M)A looks at the disaster scenario ofTalca,Chile- a small historical agricultural town 300km south ofSantiago- from a array of perspectives.

The studio has partnered with the Santiago-based & Architect-led NGO, Reconstruye as well as the local NGO inTalca, Surmaule, founded by a group of forward-thinking Sociologists, Anthropologists and Social Workers. Together with these inspiring groups and the International Universities with which they affiliate, Com(m)a is committed to strengthen the participative force that allows neighborhood groups to design their own future in response to the Chilean central government’s desire to move them away from the historical town center.

This participation in art projects and the design process is empowering people who have lost their homes to hold on to the identity of their neighborhoods by providing strategic roadmaps for densification and local reconstruction. In the short-term, Comma is assisting the people of Paso Moya by rethinking and renovating their existing Community Center. Com(m)a’s desire to make big, long term plans, but to start quickly with small projects, will best take its course once it engages in the next three-week on-site implementation, in June and July 2011.

Submitted By Paul Tebben, Odile Compagnon

The COM(M)A Studio