Enjoy Your Deck :)
Inscribed with a uniquely domestic focus, how-to home improvement videos activate the residential backyard as a space of public and private display. It is here that aspiration, leisure, and performance are engaged through simultaneously productive and recreative tasks such as chores, projects, pastimes, and parties. Requiring little more than basic building materials, some power tools, and a weekend, the construction of a back- yard deck exemplifies the genre of online how-to videos. Besler & Sons reframe online video sharing platforms as a category of media that circulates architectural imagery, while simultaneously generating an attendant set of language, media, data, and associations. This is the language of comment sections, view count statistics, recommendations for related viewing, popup advertisements for local lumber yards, closed captions, and various options for sharing with friends and across social media. The decks in these videos are surprisingly versatile forms. Their complexity, size, and architectural style are made to fit the site: they often stick to a simple plan. The online instructional video provides an opportunity to rethink the differentiations between expert and amateur practices in architecture, building, and design as well as the increasing inadequacy in models of production.
Erin Besler and Ian Besler are co-founders of Besler & Sons, LLC, a Los Angeles-based practice that works to expand the definition of architecture through active participation with amateur creators, construction trades, and design software. They work to create new audiences and opportunities for social engagement. Their work has been published in Log, Pidgin, FutureAnterior, Project, San Rocco, and Perspecta. Their work has been exhibited internationally. They were finalists for MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program. They participated in the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Architecture/Urbanism.