Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave., 256-0809, www.suyamapetersondeguchi.com/art. Free. 9 a.m.--5 p.m., Mon.--Fri. Ends April 13.
Stepping into Suyama Space, the first thing that hits you about Alex Schweder's A Sac of Rooms Three Times a Day is the overwhelming scent of plastic, like that of a beach ball. Schweder's transparent bungalow-size inflatable contains several inflatable rooms sized for a larger house, tucked into an airtight plastic skin. With the sound of blowers turning on, each room swells one at a time, sliding into and pressing against one another, with the interior windows sometimes smearing sideways against the outer skin. Sited inside the architectural offices of Suyama Peterson Deguchi, stylish architects will wander past you to refill their coffee. They might stop to tell you, "I haven't been able to actually follow it; it's like a different thing every time." Puffing up or sinking in deflation, the smaller rooms are crammed between the larger ones, evoking the shape of a tiny orange-juice sac, squeezed into shape by it neighbors. "An architectural space results with deformities," Schweder explains, "writhing and contorting as the rooms inflate and adjust to their volatile adjacencies." In motion, the piece has the feel of a great beast shifting its weight. A Sac of Rooms nods to the architectural models on view in the office space, and the forever-changing landscape of our own city: an entire block is flattened, an enormous hole appears, and (after we get to see the sky again for awhile) a new building rises. As Schweder, who trained as an architect, says, "The work understands buildings as very slow performances."