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After conferring with Serpentine Gallery, the architect’s journal first broke the news this morning. Reportedly it is too early to release on what what Gates’s installation will entail, there are likely some clues to be found in his canon.

Currently a professor at the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago, Gates is an urban planner by training but frequently integrates sound, motion and black history, and architectural features in his work. The initiative that he is known for the world over, the ongoing Dorchester Projects, had started in the year 2008 as an effort to help rehabilitate rundown project on the South side of Chicago. This was implemented, by buying and repurposing the art within, derelict buildings, along with funnelling the money earned into the development of the neighbourhood.

Although Gates might not be an accredited what’s so ever, Gates’s work extended into more formal built projects. In the year 2019, the work on the University of Chicago’s transformation of the Edward Durell stoe designed Keller Center was overseen by him. The same year again, he made it to the headlines with the Chicago Architecture Biennal, and of-course the Manhattan New Museum where Gates’s 2014 video installation is still on display.

Gates coordinated the performance piece inside of the South Side’s abandoned Roman Catholic Church of St. Laurence, now demolished, where the rhythmic picking up and slamming of heavy wooden doors combines “the musical traditions of the Black South and the asceticism of Eastern monasticism.”

The annual Serpentine Pavilion commission, raised on the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, was delayed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is currently being installed for a June 11 debut. The 2020 winners, the Johannesburg, South Africa-based Counterspace, are working with global architecture and engineering giant AECOM to realize the installation. Once complete, Counterspace’s structure, made from materials like cork, unfired brick, and construction waste, will create a collection of seating and gathering spaces organised under a flat disk.

The Serpentine Gallery is currently closed due to the pandemic but will reopen to the public tomorrow, May 19.

Krishnaprio Dey