Joseph Zeal-Henry and Deborah Garcia’s SUPA System is a 'manifesto made physical'

Joseph Zeal-Henry and Deborah Garcia unveil their SUPA System installation at Harvard University; an exploration of the relationship of music and architecture, space and sound

joseph zeal-henry's supa system at harvard
(Image credit: Malakhai Pearson)

Joseph Zeal-Henry and Deborah Garcia have completed a new installation, which has just been unveiled on display at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA - SUPA System is an exploration of the relationship of space and sound, architecture and music. This is a 'manifesto made physical,' writes Zeal-Henry, who was part of the team representing the United Kingdom with the British Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, winning a Special Mention. 

'SUPA System cites far-ranging influences to imagine how the vernacular of infrastructure could create new ways of living,' the authors explain. 

view of joseph zeal-henry's supa system

(Image credit: Malakhai Pearson)

Explore Joseph Zeal-Henry and Deborah Garcia's SUPA System

The piece is simple and utilitarian, made of the same aluminium frame used in commercial billboards. Drawing on the modularity of this frame's construction method, SUPA System is flexible and appears temporary. Yet, its lightweight and open-ended nature becomes the perfect ground for fostering collaboration, as it repurposes commercial infrastructure for an open-source display. 

joseph zeal-henry's supa system the architect seen inside it with his collaborator deborah garcia

Joseph Zeal-Henry and Deborah Garcia

(Image credit: Malakhai Pearson)

The structure's flexibility can be exhibited through its numerous adaptations and uses, even within the confines of its simple gallery context. It can be fitted with speakers and act as a sound system installation, or, by fixing on it a semi-transparent gauze and video projectors, it can be the site of film screenings. Additionally, Zeal-Henry (who was also named among this year's Loeb/ArtLab Fellows) writes: 'Set on hinges, the various walls of the structure can be opened and closed, allowing the shape to adapt to the space it is set within.'

joseph zeal-henry's supa system installation

(Image credit: Malakhai Pearson)

The SUPA System installation features sound design by White Rabbit Audio and visual identity by Lauren Harewood and SOAKE. The aluminium elements were fabricated by URSA Concepts.

SUPA System will be on show at Harvard until 19 September 2024

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).