a+u 2020:11 SO–IL – Unfinished Business
This is our first monograph featuring the work of NYC-based SO–IL. SO–IL spend a lot of their time thinking about boundaries in the built environment, the interfaces between them, and where our bodies fit in. Much like bodies, SO–IL’s work can sag, be pulled taut, and occasionally moves and “breathes.” It’s built in urban situations with confounding levels of structural complexity – socially, economically, politically, materially – and integrates into them, encouraging touch and consideration, instead of untangling from them. As described by Mohamed Sharif in the monograph’s opening essay, the family of work can put us at ease but also inspire a certain agency that comes from being social in it – the result of pulling back a chainmail mesh for another person, or lying on agricultural netting intended to offer respite to migrating birds.
Our editorial focus is on SO–IL’s experiments in sense engagement, which are explored through the material qualities of their work. As such, the monograph is loosely structured as a gradient from “soft and flimsy” to “hard and thick,” from skin and membrane to surface and mass. The body stays central in our reading.