January 2, 2009

So a big part of the “new” version of this project will be wall-mounted.  I was initially very against this idea, but alas, sometimes compromises must be made.  The general idea behind the “new” non-hanging version of this project is to have a large conglomeration of tiles somewhere near the entrance to indicate a critical mass (but not hanging from the ceiling) and then additionally fill the gallery/theater with hand selected wall mounted pieces that people will be able to read and get intimate with.  They will be scattered guerrilla style throughout the gallery in underutilized bits of wall space like around water fountains, elevators, maybe even in bathrooms etc.  The Center for the Arts is filled with useless bits of space, especially walls around access doors to places that are inaccessible–in terms of adaptive reuse architecture, it’s sort of horrifically designed in that sense.  Anyways, the wall mounted pieces are intended to be “special”, beautiful, exquisite tiles with the content relating to its location in the gallery.  For example, a piece over a sink or water fountain might be related to water quality and human health standards of the site prior to or during remediation.  In some ways, I get to act as archaeologist on a whole other level–that of spatial archaeologist, drawing attention to and highlighting all the forgotten spaces in the building.  Unfortunately, I’ve realized that most of my content doesn’t fill this function very well.  It’s not really specific enough to relate to the types of underutilized spaces in the Center for the Arts, but I do think there are particularly relevant and interesting bits of information that will be nice to make use of.  The general idea is that upon entering the gallery, visitors are struck with this critical mass of tiles, and while it may be intriguing on some level, eventually they move on to the next thing as you usually do in a gallery or museum.  As they move through the rest of the building (3 floors in total), they view other pieces and forget about mine until they happen to run into one of these “special” hand selected pieces in an odd spot.  Maybe they engage with it, maybe not, but as they progress through the entire show, they keep popping up, reminding them of their context within the show, within the gallery and within the greater Arsenal and its history.  When they eventually make their way back to the entrance in order to leave the space, they are again confronted with the critical mass, but now it has new meaning.  Now that they’ve seen what some of the content is like, the mass indicates something about the  mass of history, the mass of toxins, the mass of data, etc.  Now you question what other secrets might be buried in that pile of “papers”.

As of right now, I have no idea what that “pile” of papers is actually going to look like.  Neat stacks?  Messy stacks?  Piles?  Spread fairly evenly?  Still in boxes?  Who knows… that might be a decision I make at the last possible second.  But I do know how the wall mounted pieces will work.  I’ve been touring thrift stores, dredging up as many old and used picture frames as I can find in order to convert them into framing elements for the “special” pieces.  The idea is to elevate the wall mounted tiles but still have them somewhat camouflaged with the gallery–they need to be somewhat subtle in order to be subversive, as if they snuck in and settled unannounced–maybe you pass by the first one because it blends in but they keep cropping up so eventually you have to pay attention.  I’m painting all of the frames white (again, playing the archaeologist and digging up these trashed frames and re-contextualizing them) to match the gallery walls and then mounting the tiles directly to the glass so that you actually see some of the “real” gallery wall through the frame in addition to the tile.

Here’s an example:

This seemed like an appropriate frame to explain this process given its content!

This seemed like an appropriate frame to explain this process given its content

Take the frame apart (usually this is easier said than done!) and thoroughly clean the frame and glass

Take the frame apart (usually this is easier said than done!) and thoroughly clean the frame and glass

This one had some ancient vinyl and paint on it so cleanup was a little more extensive than usual

This one had some ancient vinyl and paint on it so cleanup was a little more extensive than usual

And finally repainting and remounting the glass without any backing

And finally repainting and remounting the glass without any backing

It seemed important (and fun!) to document all the frames before I altered them.  I feel like it’s the least I can do since the art that once lived in these frames will most likely be trashed.  Right now it’s all sitting in my living room because I can’t bring myself to throw it away!  They at least deserve some props for giving their lives (some short, some long) to my whimsy so here’s the first batch of frames, pre-paint-job:

This was actually a Target piece so its probably not that old--just a little dinged up and therefore unacceptable to its previous owner

This was actually a Target piece so it's probably not that old--just a little dinged up and therefore unacceptable to its previous owner

Another Target piece, also probably not that old and seemingly undamaged!

Another Target piece, also probably not that old and seemingly undamaged!

There were lots of flowers...

There were lots of flowers...

this pair came from a thrift store in Blacksburg VA, both by the same artist, printed in Sweden, 1980

This pair (and the previous) came from a thrift store in Blacksburg VA, both by the same artist, printed in Sweden, 1980

And of course my favorite, the sleepy cat.

And of course my favorite, the sleepy cat.

To be Continued…

I’ll show the rest tomorrow along with a test tile mount.

And I have heat and hot water again!  Woohoo!

New Statement

December 22, 2008

I forgot!  I meant to post my New Title and Artist Statement last week and kept forgetting about it! 

After speaking with Dan about all the revisions to the installation of my piece (just to dash everyone’s hopes right from the start–I’m not hanging ANYTHING from the ceiling anymore…), I felt the need to re-write my artist’s statement.  I did this for two reasons.  Initially, I wrote it as a proposal just to get into the show, not thinking it would be shared beyond that context (on the form, there was no space for a “proposal” so the only place I could enter it was under “artists statement”).  Apparently some sort of book will be published including all the pieces in the show (hopefully sans photography because the photo I submitted is terrible and not descriptive of the piece itself at all) plus basic information about each artist.  I guess this includes the artist statement we each submitted and seeing as my piece has changed pretty drastically from my original vision (and it was not written as an “artists statement” to begin with), it just doesn’t fit anymore.  Not to mention the fact that I really don’t need my BS proposal writing published for all to see…  So I re-wrote it!  In a brief and even more BS-ish format.  At the recommendation of my favorite contemporary poet, I tried out the renga form, which is an ancient Japanese cooperative form, the first stanza of which eventually became the much shorter haiku.  I liked this idea for a couple of reasons: first, I felt like it allowed me to remain sufficiently vague and abstract, the complete opposite of writing the proposal, second, I liked the concept of it being cooperative.  While I didn’t write it with another person as the form requires, I did steal words and phrases out of my conversation with Dan, so in some ways it was a cooperative poem written with him, he just doesn’t know it yet.  And whether he (or I) likes it, he has had a pretty huge influence on how the piece will show so it seems appropriate.  Other than that, the form is utterly unrelated to the piece itself.  Let’s be honest, it saved me a lot of time…

Also a bit about the title;  Post-Processualism.  Actually, I don’t really feel like explaining it–google or wiki it if you want to know more!  It is an archaeological theory related to post-modernism.  Look it up on your own to find out why it is (or isn’t) appropriate in this context.

Disaster Averted

December 10, 2008

Wow.  Today has been crraaazzyyy.  At all… 4 of my jobs…  An unpleasant day in the office playing clean-up after others, paired with the fear of losing this installation (or giving up important parts of it) and a great lunch date with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, followed by the opening of the Harvard Ceramics Show and Sale, which was shockingly lovely and required the bleeding of cash, followed by surprise dinner out, interrupted by FABULOUS conversation with Dan Borelli, who is in charge of designing the Arsenal show and ensuing excitement over new ideas, now to be followed by more office work since I wasn’t willing to stay late to finish my renderings, to be followed by some window work (assuming I’m still alive by then). 

Longest day ever.

Maybe Disaster

December 10, 2008

So I just received an e-mail from some of the people at the gallery, in response to my endless nagging about finding a time to meet to discuss the installation, saying they had no idea I intended to hang the piece from the ceiling and they’re not sure it’s even possible.  I was floored by this response…  We’ve been sending e-mails back and forth discussing the location of the piece, and I thought we were all on the same page but apparently we are very far off…  Whenever anyone said “hang,” I assumed they meant hang from the ceiling, and they assumed I meant hang on the wall…  Wow.

I’ve responded clarifying that I need to hang these from the ceiling so I guess I just have to wait and see what they say.  Hopefully we can work something out…  Wow.  Did anyone out there think I was going to wall-mount these?  I mean, I know I left all the technical information about HOW I wanted to install the piece out of the proposal so that certainly didn’t help, but I didn’t realize I was this unclear…  Thoughts anyone? 

Slightly freaked out…  Trying to keep the panic under control…

A few unprinted tiles, hanging in my apartment

A few unprinted tiles, hanging in my apartment


Jumping ahead in terms of the sequence of the project, but seems appropriate to show in light of today’s events…


November 20, 2008

So, a little over a year since my last post, I think I am resurrecting this blog!  Initially I began this little bit of self-indulgent internet-ness in order to track the progress of what eventually became the Paper Jungle, an art installation at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (they recently changed their name).  From start to finish, the whole process took nearly a year of brainstorming, writing, interviewing, preparing, creating, building, installing, opening, showing, closing, and de-installing.  This week, I just found out I have been given the opportunity to do it all again!  I spent a good portion of October researching, brainstorming and writing a new proposal for an installation at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA.  The primary motivator was a RISD Alum show to be held there in January, but the more I got into the research of the site, the more I realized I HAD to do an installation there whether or not it was a part of the RISD show.  Before submitting the proposal, I convinced myself that regardless of the RISD curators (Dina Deitsch and Steve Whitten), I would approach the Arsenal on my own if necessary to convince them to let me do the piece on site.  The proposal was due on Halloween so after using Cafe to submit all the materials, I headed out to celebrate Halloween in a My Little Pony costume.

According to Cafe, entrants would be notified two weeks later on November 14th.  All day Friday I anxiously awaited the e-mail–I wanted this project soooo bad!!  Nothing came… and still nothing… maybe they would send something by midnight?  Saturday morning came and went.  By then I assumed that they only contacted those who DID get in, and I must not have since there was still no word.  After spending the whole weekend justifying why I didn’t get in and what my proposal was missing, I called RISD just to confirm that all e-mails had already been sent.  To my surprise, nothing had been sent yet!  The curator had requsted an extra weekend to make final decisions so e-mails would be sent on Tuesday instead.  Lo and behold, I got into the show.

So now begins the process of preparing, creating, building, etc. all over again!  I will again try to write a new post every now and then as the piece progresses, both for those who are afar and interested in keeping track, and as a part of my own process of keeping track of how things evolve and change over time.  To begin with, attached is my Proposal.

Sitings Proposal

January 15, 2007

So since I’m still working on getting this blog up and going, I thought I’d take the easy route and just start out by posting exactly what my proposal for this project is.  Firstly, Sitings is an installtion competition that the RISD Museum does every year open to any current student at RISD.  It’s kind of a big deal simply because the museum NEVER shows student work under any circumstances.  There is an anual show of grad student theses at the end of every year, and various faculty and staff shows (even those are only on a biennial basis), but never a context where undergraduate student work is shown, not even for a day.  Perhaps to make up for this, they offer an annual competition where students can propose an installation in one of the museum’s many non-gallery spaces to “celebrate and exploit the architectural idiosyncracies of the Museum’s four-building complex,” as the museum itself likes to describe it.  Anyways, I’d never actually submitted a proposal before, but thinking that it was an amazing opportunity and my last chance to take advantage of such opportunities, I thought, what the heck, why not try!  I spent a week doing nothing but putting the proposal together (lost lots of sleep, skipped a day of class) and several weeks later found out I was one of six finalists!  This meant I got to have a one-on-one interview with the juror, Xander Marro, an artist who lives and works here in Providence, to defend my proposal and try and convince her to pick me.  In the end, I was one of two people chosen to have my work installed in the museum and I am so completely psyched about it, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown the day she called to tell me I’d won!  I have a 1000 dollar budget thanks to the museum, plus a 300 dollar prize once the thing is actually installed and a month and a half to build everything.  I have two working days to install everything (February 20 and 21) with help from the museum’s installation staff, then the show technically opens on the 23rd.  There will be a big opening reception/party on March 2nd and then the show will be up for 3 months, until June 3rd!  After June 3rd, I have a day to take it all down (basically the day after graduation) and that’s that.  So exciting!  If I actually think about it, I’m still in shock that my work is going to be in the museum for 3 months… unbelievable…

So, while I’m still getting everything organized, here’s a copy of my proposal to give you some idea of what this installation is about.  There are a lot of things that have changed already, or aren’t in the proposal that I’ll post in the future, but for now it seems like a pretty good place to start!  Feel free to post questions and I’ll try to answer them in future entries.


Also, a link to the museum’s website in case you’re interested.

Hello world!

January 12, 2007

So, first blog ever… Bear with me as I figure out how all of this stuff works.  I’ll get it eventually!  In the meantime, I already have a  couple things to post so I’ll go ahead and do that and perhaps come back and edit them later.  Basically this blog exists so I can share with all of my favorite people (who tend to be scattered around the world) what I’m working on at the moment.  Current projects, thoughts for new projects, etc.   Just a way of keeping people up to date on what I’m up to these days.  Right now the big focus is my Sitings project for the RISD Musuem.  I will be installing my project in the museum on February 20th–in the meantime I have TONS of work to do on it!  I’ll explain more about the project itself at a later date, but right now I need feedback/input on my artist bio and statement.  I have to turn these in to the museum ASAP for publication purposes–scary!  Let me know what you think… I have a few days to edit and change things:

Bio and Artist Statement

So, the length for both of these is about what it needs to be–meaning I don’t have much wiggle room, but any thoughts?  I know its kind of hard to comment if you don’t know more about the project, but any thoughts would be helpful!  And titles?  Mine are all really cheesy… I’ve never been good at titling my work…

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