Opening Part 1

March 28, 2007

Before Anyone Else has Touched it Taken around sunset Before the Chaos  Finally the moment you’ve all been waiting for.  Photos of the actual piece and of the opening party/reception at the museum.  I know these are a month late so I apologize but there’s lots of them!  Consider this part 1 of the documentation of the piece and the party.  This first set of photos was taken the moment I finished installing everything on February 22nd before anyone else had touched a single piece of paper or walked through the room.  They were taken right around sunset so there’s beautiful cool light coming in from outside in contrast to the warm flourescents.  There are more of these photos–I’m just showing a few to entice you into checking back later.

Close Up Close Up 2 Close Up 6                       Close Up 3 Close Up 4 Close Up 5  All of these are close ups taken during the actual opening by my lovely friend Ashley who came the furthest distance of all–all the way from North Carolina just to see my show and hang out for the weekend.

Christopher Robbins’ Plywood Tree Line to get into Jungle Liz, Julia and Kacper About to enter Jungle                                             Miscellaneous People in Jungle Dad in Jungle Simon and Zehra exiting Jungle  This first one is of the other Sitings piece, Christopher Robbins’ Plywood Tree, and the next is the line up the stairs of people waiting to enter my Paper Jungle.  The rest are of people interacting with the space.

The Party Agus’ Basement Blues, Agus, Matt and Mark Parents The Sitings Winners (Christopher Robbins and I) Chatting with Chrissi Upstairs Housemates Leon and Roger Greg and Leila Architecture Friends, Shana, Jen, Kacper–all the way from Boston and NYC Brown Orchestra kids, Sarah, Jonathan, Ho and Lisa  And of course all the fun photos of everyone hanging out in the main gallery, eating Kabob & Curry and listening to Agus’ Basement Blues (live rock band!) amidst the museum’s awesome collection of Modern Art.  My favorite is the photo of the band in front of a Rothko with a sign above them questioning “What Happened to Art?”–it really doesn’t get much better than this…  Thank you so much to everyone for coming out!  Especially those of you who came from long distances including North Carolina, Virginia, New York and Boston.  You guys are amazing.

There are many more photos of the opening and the disaster that was my piece afterwards!  So keep checking back and perhaps next time I’ll actually organize them into a slideshow since I know clicking on each photo individually is a huge pain…

Installation Time!

March 20, 2007

Brochure Oustide Brochure Inside Inside Bios  Alright, so now we’re getting close to the real thing.  But first, these are the brochures printed by the museum about the Sitings projects. I didn’t really scan these correctly, but whatever, you get the idea.  Nice map of museum front and back.  Tri-fold thingie with both of our artist statements on the inside plus our bios plus a blurb from the museum director about why Sitings is so awesome.  Not sure how legible these will actually be when you look at them so if you want to know what they actually say, let me know and I’ll post the text alone in the next entry.  A grad student in graphic design who works for the museum on their special events advertising also made a set of invitations and posters for us for the opening reception.  I’ll get some photographs of those soon and post them in the next entry as well–they were beautiful and a pain in the ass to make happen due to museum negotiating…

Matt Helping around 2am More Bags Bags Pretty Bags  So here’s how the transporting and installing happened.  I bought a bunch of giant black garbage bags and string and basically bagged the bottom half of each frame.  Sadly, I don’t really have any good photos of what the room looked like in its bagged state, but lets just say it was creepy and leave it at that.  Matt came over to help because this was a process that just wasn’t possible by myself (you know I would have done it alone if I could’ve!), and he happened to be ready and willing that night.   We worked until about 4am on the first day of the spring semesterd, also the night before installation day, carefully shoving paper plants into these garbage bags and pulling them up as high as they’d go before the plants started getting destroyed.  It took hours and hours of fenagling…  But the result was beautiful and unexpected.  The lighting in the room just happened to work out so that a lot of the bags were illuminated from the inside out.  You’d get these amazing shadows of the plants pressed up against the sides of the bag combined with the transparency of the bags themselves and the effect was amazing.  See for yourself.  Gave me lots of ideas for a future installation project, purely by accident!

Pre-Installation Passageway  Anyways, here’s a big ugly panoramic of what the space in the museum itself looks like.  I meant to post some of these way back at the beginning of the project but never got around to it.  This is the glass passageway leading to the Pendleton House and the Radeke Sculpture Garden.  The door directly in front leads to the Pendleton House, which is actually just full of offices on this floor so visitors aren’t actually allowed in it.  The door to the left leads to a really tiny outdoor area with a table and chairs (not really sure what purpose they serve) and the door to the right leads to the outdoor sculpture garden.  This view is approximately what you see upon entering the space from the main part of the museum.  As you can see, it’s really tiny–only about 12′ X 11′ with 8′ ceilings.    I loved this spot because it was so obviously a threshold between outside and in.  Whoever built this little addition (and it was obviously an addition after both bulidings had been built since all the walls are exterior walls of brick and stone) was really thinking about what it would be like to slowly transition from cut and dry museum, to this odd little room and then out into the garden itself.  There’s very little lighting in here, minimal climate control, and as I said before, the walls and floors are all based on what was there originally–the outside.  Stone floors, stone and brick walls, and then just the addition of a ceiling and 2 glass walls on either side.  Pretty minimal.  This is the room that inspired the project that is to come…

Blah blah blah, so I came in on Tuesday (Day 1) and spent the ENTIRE day just installing the ceiling grid and bringing in the frames.  What a debacle that was.  So the plan was, I would make these column collars which wrapped around each column in the corners of the room so that they could be tightened down on the colmn and then angle aluminum fastened to each one.  The aluminum in turn would hold up the galvanized steel slotted ceiling in a 3′ grid formation and the wood frames would each be 3′ square so they could just be dropped in place with all the plants already hanging on them.  It sounds kind of complicated, but it’s actually really simple.  In the end, I decided to outsource the work for the column collars just because I didn’t have the time to make them nicely and wanted to be able to just concentrate on the paper and the other parts of the ceiling.  I outsourced it to a friend, who the next day told me he couldn’t do it after all and had handed off to someone else.  Just for the record, that’s really not cool.  Especially when I’m paying for the work.  You don’t just hand it off to someone else without asking me first–or hand it off and don’t tell me about it!  I didn’t appreciate the going-behind-the-back-ness of that particular move.  So the second guy down makes the parts for me and they seem fine so I pay him for the work without testing any of it myself first.  BAD IDEA.  I went to the museum on installation morning with all my parts and materials in hand and the first thing I had to do was put the column collars on before I could do anything else.  ALL of the ceiling parts relied upon the column collars, and I certainly couldn’t get any paper in there until the ceiling was up.  Well, the column collars he made didn’t work at all.  Like, not even a little.  It was a big problem.  I couldn’t fasten them to the columns correctly, then I couldn’t tighten them down at all so they would slide down, and then when I put up the angle aluminum, it didn’t fit because the collars were no longer at a right angle.  It was bad.  After lots of panicking and running around trying to buy some new fasteners and parts to make them work, I finally just bought a bunch of tiny C-clamps and clamped the whole thing together… Sketchy.  Thanks so much to Julia and Kent who worked with me all day that day and dealt with my panic attacks when things kept failing right and left.  When we finally got the collars to work, putting the rest of the ceiling up went really quickly-maybe 10 minutes to fasten the rest of the parts together?  But of course by then, it was already lunch time because the collars had been such a disaster.  So the afternoon was spent transporting all the frames to the museum.  We cut each frame down from the ceiling in the studio and carried them one at a time to the freight elevator and then out to the museum’s box truck.  We could only fit 4 or 5 frames in the truck at a time so it took a couple trips to get everything over to the museum.  Once we were in the museum, we once again had to carry each frame one at a time into their freight elevator, up the spiral stairs and into the space.  Each frame was dropped into its appropriate spot on the ceiling frame and installation was done for the day!  Don’t let me downplay it too much though.  Just carrying the frames around and loading them into the truck, driving them over and dropping them into place took the rest of the day.  We got the last frame in place right as the clock hit 5 and that was the end of the first day.  It was crazy.  Thanks again Julia and Kent–you guys are lifesavers.  I never would’ve gotten it done that day without you.

Installation in Progress! Day 2: Since all of Tuesday was spent just getting everything into the museum, that left all day Wednesday to de-bag the paper/plants and start arranging it all!  The way I set up the frames in studio was as dense as I could possible manage.  I didn’t cut or drape any paths of any kind–just left it all equally dense everywhere with the plan of waiting until I was actually in the room to “cut” a path and make room for people to walk through and open doors and get in and out.  Wednesday was much more calm and stress free.  Just me and a pair of headphones from 9-5 ditching trash bags and draping a path.  Note the Installation in Progress sign!  These photos are when I was halfway through the de-bagging process.  The morning light in the room was beautiful so I had to take a break to take a few photos…

Passageway Entrance Sun and Bags Garden View Panoramic Photo 1:  The door to the room–glass door with text printed that says “Radeke Garden” (kind of perfect).  You can see that I’ve taken the bags off the paper on the left half of the room and still have the right half to go.  Photo 2:  Sunlight striking the bags filled with paper on the right side of the room.  Note the trees outside in the background…  Photo 3:  A little panoramic of the view out the glass on the right out to the sculpture garden.

Aftermath  And of course a photo of my studio back in the ID building after all the frames had been removed.  Total empty wasteland…  It has since been cleaned up and re-organized for classes, but wow was it gross in there immediately after everything had been moved into the museum…

Next post:  Finished Installation Photos!  Opening Reception! (If someone sends me photos by then…)  Posters and Invitations!


March 14, 2007

Ceiling Grid  So after assembling all of the wood frames and cutting all the aluminum and steel to size, I temporarily wired the wood frames to the ceiling in my studio so I could start the arduous task of transferring all my cuttings to the frames that would eventually end up in the museum.  It would have been way smarter to do this at the beginning of the project so I could hang each sheet as I cut it, but I was so not into building the ceiling that I just couldn’t make myself do it until the last second.  In the end it may have actually worked out for the better.  Since I already had a lot of cuttings to work with, I could arrange patterns next to each other that I thought were complimentary and sort of set up a progression of how plant forms changed as you moved from one section of the room to another.  As I added the flower forms to the larger sheets, I could do the same–select which flowers went on which patterns to get the best effect and locate families of flowers near each other so they sort of grew in groves.

Covered Balcony As I transferred sheets onto frames, lots of strands were destroyed or torn off here and there, and I also had to collect and sort through a lot of the negatives that I had kept.  Here they are taking over the hallway/balcony outside of my studio as I untangled them all and selected which negatives would go where in the mix of already hung patterns.  These only stayed in the hallway for one night, which was good since public safety had already given me a hard time in the past when I left a few ceiling parts in the hallway for a couple hours.

Welcome! Welcome Part 2! Out of Space!  Welcome to my studio pre-installation!  These photos were all taken in the last few days before I had to transport everything into the museum itself.  Installation happened February 21st and 22nd, which of course was the first week of the spring semester.  This meant that I spent my week of break between wintersession and spring here in my studio, slaving away trying to get everything perfect before the big move.  If you recall, there are two doors into my studio, so the first two photos show the view in from both doors.  It was a little crazy.  At one end of the room I managed to space the frames out so that there was actually some room to work in so you can clearly see how each frame is super-densely hung but with a pathway inbetween.  During installation, all the frames were butted right up against each other so that the effect was a super dense paper jungle.  The 2nd photo gives you more of an idea of what that looks like because that set of frames were hung really close to one another.  Incredibly hard to work with, but closer to what the real thing was actually like.  I took a video of what it was like during this time trying to walk around in the room–basically impossible.   People who came to visit would be afraid to try and walk around, and a lot of the time they voluntarily crawled around on the floor rather than try and disturb any of the hangings!  Pretty funny.  The video is a little long, so if I figure out how to edit it down a little, I’ll post it, or maybe I’ll just post it without editing it.  Either way, keep an eye out for it in future postings.  Since my studio was only a little bigger than the actual room in the museum, it was pretty packed in there once I had everything hanging from the frames so I had to do some major re-arranging in order to keep doing new cuttings.  The 3rd photo shows the new arrangement, with table and projector and cutting mats all crammed into one corner cause that was the only strip of space left!  Not that I can complain, it was certainly beneficial that the room was bigger than the museum space–it meant when I was arranging the sheets on the frames, I could get a really clear idea of exactly what it would be like once I moved to the museum…

Last Pizza and Paper Party Ever Results of Last Paper and Pizza Party And photos of my last ever paper and pizza party.  Much smaller and less eventful than past parties, mainly because everyone was away on break.  Thanks to those of you who came and helped even while on break!  You guys rock my world.  Extra props to Jesse and Haesung for being the only two with perfect attendance–I still owe you guys something special…  We managed to finish all the kits that Rachel, Matt and I had organized for the 2nd party, so it worked out perfectly!  No drinks or partying afterwards because I stayed in studio and continued to work after everyone left, but look at how much we got done without extra distractions!  And there was pizza leftover which came in handy at 2am…

So Dense! Prettyyy… Looking Up in Studio And finally some eye candy to end this post with.  Like I said, photos taken in the last few days before the installation/transportation nightmare.  It’s so beautiful and calm and peaceful now… The first photos is the jungle without any flowers attached yet–just larger sheet/patterns hung from the ceiling frames.  The last two show what the patterns look like once flowers have been added…

Still to come!:  Bagging the plants for transportation, the drama that was the first day of installation, the drama that was the 2nd day of installation, miscellaneous headaches like brochures, invitations, posters and hateful museum bureaucracy…  But in the end, it opened and was great and so much fun!  And it’s still there… living and breathing every day…


March 13, 2007

2/3 Ceiling Layout  I’m finally sitting down to actually write a new post–woohoo!  So the exhibit is officially open!  You can go to the RISD Museum anytime between now and June 3rd to check out the insanity.  It’s now been a little over a week since the opening reception and I think I’m finally starting to move on from everything that was this project.  Finishing something of this magnitude was kind of like going through what I imagine post-partum depression to be like.  I didn’t want to have anything to do with it for at least a couple weeks and having lots of people tell me how wonderful it was didn’t really mean anything.  I mean, I appreciated it, but somehow it all felt a little meaningless.  The thing was done, installed, available for everyone to see and touch but completely out of my hands.  Once it’s in the museum, it’s no longer mine.  It may suddenly be hands on for everyone else, but it’s basically hands off for me!  And that’s a very weird feeling when you’ve dedicated every free moment of your time for a month and a half to a project.  Weird.  (Photo is of the ceiling grid as I was laying it out in the hallway to make sure all the parts fit together correctly before starting to hang paper on them)

Ceiling Frames Anyways, I know everyone who wasn’t here for the opening is dying for photos, but I’m going to have to make you wait a little longer.  I want to go back to the couple of weeks before the opening and post all of those process photos first.  And also post photos of the insane process that was installing itself.  So it may still be another week or two before I’ll get caught up enough to show photos of the opening reception.  But they’ll be here soon.  Plus I’m waiting for certain people *ahem ahem* to mail me a DVD/CD with all their photos from the weekend of the opening so… (photo: pine ceiling frames with wire strung across them.  9 of these were hung with paper and arranged in an aluminum/galvaznized steel ceiling grid for ease of installation)

New Panoramic  So you may recall that panoramic I made way back when of my studio when I first started working in it.  It was basically empty except the first few experimental cuttings I had made and the projector/cutting mat set up.  This panoramic was made 2 weeks before installation, so basically after a month worth of cutting paper.  Significantly different.  It’s kind of sad that I couldn’t get my act together enough to post these when I first took them, because now that I’m writing in retrospect, I can tell you that it only got crazier!  There now exist panoramics of the night before installation as well as the day after when the room was completely trashed but basically empty…  Those will come soon…

 Kent and Elyse at Paper Party Part 3 Look at all that paper! Mmm… Paper That panoramic was taken right before the 2nd to last pizza and paper party, represented in this set of photos.  Definitely another successful event with all of my favorite paper cutting buddies. 

Flip Cup Team 1 Flip Cup Team 2 Flippy Cup Round 2 And of course this evening ended in the 2nd round of Flip Cup playing, which was even more epic than the first round.  This time we were prepared with 2 30 packs instead of just one and couldn’t finish them all!  So we all loaded into a safe ride (I think there were 12 or 15 of us in it… shh… don’t tell…), 30 pack and all and continued the party at the boys’ house.

Color!! Grey That week I also went back to the recycling center to buy some colored paper.  Back when I was first accepted and had to meet with the installation staff, I had to promise to re-install new cuttings whenever the place got completely trashed.  I decided at that time to do each new installation in a different color of paper so that people visiting would be able to mark the (d)evolution of the entire piece.  Color would make clear which elements were new and which were old, where people were taking things, what was falling down the most, how I, as the installer, was changing the shape of the installation, etc. etc.  I figured I’d have to re-install at least a few times, so I went ahead and bought three rolls of colored paper.  Initially I really wanted to tint the paper myself so I could control the colors and perhaps create a gradient of color instead of having to introduce a starkly different color all of a sudden.  After doing a few experiments, it became clear really quickly that tinting paper myself was just completely unrealistic.  Not only would it be expensive, but it would also be far too time consuming to be worth the effort.  So I tried to get a gradient of paper colors.  They happened to have these 3 shades of blue (among a few other random colors), so I decided I’d at least start with these and create a gradient from white to light blue to medium blue and so on.  When I first purchased the white rolls of paper from the recycling center, I purchased a grey backed roll thinking this might be a good way to start introducting color.  I cut one sheet of it while doing my regular white cuttings just to see what it would look like and ended up deciding not to use it.  I liked the idea of one side being white and the other grey, kind of like how a lot of plant leaves are in the natural world, but in the end it seemed a little too subtle.  The paper was also super thick so cutting it would take twice as long as the white.  And things taking twice as long is a big problem right now since the school year has started and I now have class work to juggle along with this never-ending project and work at Wooding and dealing with my upcoming graduation.  So brightly colored craft paper it is.

Well, that’s all you get for now.  Another catch up post will come soon–maybe even later tonight depending on how quickly my other work goes so check back soon.

Way Behind

March 1, 2007

So I’m well aware that I’m incredibly behind right now in updating this thing!!  My opening is tomorrow night and I haven’t updated in nearly a month!  It’s pretty exciting though, I can’t wait for everyone to come up and see what I’ve been spending the last 2 months working on.  Not to mention the opening itself is going to be a total blast!  Matt’s band will be playing, there will be catering by Kabob & Curry and hopefully all my friends and trusted faculty will be able to make it.  So excited!!  Just wanted to post the gorgeous B&W Invites Chrissi designed for us and promise that updates about the last couple pizza parties and the actual installation process will come soon.  Thanks Chrissi for working so hard on our posters and invitations, I know it was kind of a nightmare…

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