AAJ Press

Alison Knowles- House of Dust – 26 June – 26 September 2021 – Museum of Wiesbaden

The most important thing to emphasize is the changing nature of the poem…. [It] is about dwellings, types of people and situations that sometimes do and sometimes don’t get together.

—Alison Knowles

A house whose origin is a poem. Alison Knowles‘ “The House of Dust” is among the earliest computerized poems, consisting of the phrase “a house of” followed by a randomized sequence of 1) a material, 2) a site or situation, a light source, and 3) a category of inhabitants taken from four distinct lists. In 1968, the computer-generated poem was translated into a physical structure when Knowles received a Guggenheim fellowship to build a house in Chelsea, New York. This architecture was later destroyed, restored and moved to Cal Arts Burbank, California. 

From 26 June to 26 September, 2021, Alison Knowles’ “House of Dust,” made of clay using 3D printing, will be built on our outdoor site in front of the Museum Wiesbaden. The non-profit organisation tinyBE will host a sculpture exhibition in Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Wiesbaden.

The tinyBE #1 art project invites visitors to try out a visionary and experimental form of living and working, presenting nine temporary habitable sculptures by international artists, where guests can stay there at night and participate in the artistic concept. The temporary habitability of all the tinyBE sculptures by CALEB DUARTE & MIA EVE ROLLOW, ONUR GÖKMEN, CHRISTIAN JANKOWSKI, TERENCE KOH, MY-CO-X, THOMAS SCHÜTTE, STERLING RUBY, LAURE PROUVOST and ALISON KNOWLES facilitates a fusion between art and life. Physical sensations, surprising encounters and new perspectives will provide a unique art experience in an extraordinary ambiance.

In 1968, Alison Knowles won a Guggenheim Fellowship to interpret aline of “The House of Dust” computer poem into a large outdoor sculpture: A House of Plastic / In a Metropolis / Using Natural Light / Inhabited by People from all Walks of Life.

Our goal is to place a habitable sculpture by Alison Knowles, a pioneer of the Fluxus movement, produced via a new 3D printing process, in front of the Museum Wiesbaden, which hosted art performances of the Fluxus movement in 1962. Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s and 1970s who engaged in experimental art performances which emphasized the artistic process over the finished product. For tinyBE, the American artist will present her poetic project “The House of Dust” in a new context: her ground-breaking work, produced in 1967 using a Siemens 4004 computer, is considered to be one of the first computer-generated poems based on a controlled algorithm developed by the artist. She is now translating the poem for the tinyBE exhibition into an architectural form, again addressing the current relationship between humans and machine.

Alison Knowles is a founding member of the Fluxus movement, and in 1967 collaborated with Marcel Duchamp on a project entitled Cœurs Volant with the poet Emmett Williams.

Cornelia Saalfrank founded the tinyBE project in 2017 as a non-profit GmbH, composed of a multi-disciplinary team of about eight employees, and numerous volunteers are contributing to create the tinyBE projectWith tinyBE we aim to facilitate an interdisciplinary dialogue at the interface of the fine arts, architecture, design and science. The temporary habitability of the sculptures offers a new way of looking at art and life. Anyone can stay in the works of art and try out the artistic concepts, even at night. Booking reservations for overnight stays in the sculptures can be made directly via – booking@tinybe.org.

Facebook: @tinybeofficial


Crowd Funder: tinyBE still needs €10,000 to realise “The House of Dust” artwork by Alison Knowles in front of the Museum Wiesbaden. We require an additional €10,000 to reach our second goal – enabling the artist to fully furnish the sculpture as a place to stay – so a total of €20,000.


House of Dust – Further Information


About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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