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February 22, 2009

Gallery Visit

I visited the Walker Art Center on Sunday, February 21. While I was there, I visited three exhibits and the Sculpture Gardens. I first wandered through the Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton exhibit. I liked her work because I noted a certain continuity in her art, which consisted mostly of people she knew. She tended to sketch brunettes, I also noticed while I was in there. I picked up on this because the majority of her art was of someone named Mark and he was dark-headed. I also noticed she had a flair for the unusual because she had art of him on the beach, and in dresses, and at concerts. She also paid particular attention to detail because she took the time to sketch in his tattoos. There were also pieces of art portraying historical figures. She had a very good resemblance of Michelle Obama and her daughter Sasha at the Democratic Convention that was on display as well as several of Marie Antoinette and other iconic figures. The next exhibit I went to was by far my favorite. It was entitled Mythologies and it was an eclectic semblance of art ranging from videos to sounds to optical illusions. There was a totaled car on display that had been taken apart and coated with fiberglass and pieced back together. The artist, Charles Ray, stated that he wanted to “make something that was so abstract it became real and so real that it became abstract.” I really liked the simplicity and reality of his work, and I appreciated how much of an impact something like that could have, as well as the message that it could portray. Another one in that gallery that I liked was a series of videos showing how this one man made ocean sounds on a sound board. I was fascinated by the ingenuity of his art. It was not traditional and it was highly original. I liked the optical illusion they had in there. It was of an American flag with inverted colors. There was a dot in the center that you stare at and then look at the blank wall and the flag with its real colors shows up. Right outside of the Mythologies exhibit there was a computer keyboard and a picture of a dolphin and you could type in questions and ask things about art and the dolphin was supposed to answer. Unfortunately, it was not working and it never answered our questions. The one I liked the least out of the ones I visited was the Tetsumi Kudo: Garden of Metamorphosis exhibit. This one was from Japan, and it was filled with displays that looked like brains and small children and all sorts of interesting things. I was confused by it and couldn’t appreciate it the way I had hoped. There were large head-like sculptures that were covered in paper of diagrams of electrical circuits, and they were facing each other and making clicking noises. I was not totally sure what it was supposed to represent. There was also a room inside that exhibit that was full of huge, caterpillar-like wall hangings, and they were all over the room. I was under the impression that it was all about the metamorphosis of a butterfly, but it was nothing of the sort. There was another display that I mentioned earlier of jars that were holding small dolls and brains. After I went through the exhibits, my friend and I walked through the sculpture garden. I didn’t get a chance to look around very thoroughly, but from the little that I saw, I preferred the exhibits inside. Overall, I really enjoyed my visit. I had never been to the Walker, and it was a lot of fun.

The Art Shanties

When I first hear about the Art Shanties, I was amazed by how creative this whole idea is. I was even more amazed when I heard that this whole project is on ice. Peter showed us a picture taken from above, showing dice-like boxes that were actually shanties that served people for multiple purposes, such as game room or karaoke room. So several friends and I decided to go on a weekend, since we don't have a car, we called a cab.

We had a little bit difficulty finding the destination but eventually got there safely. I was shocked by the scene, we had been imagining how it would look like, but I still didn't quite expect it to be that large-scale. There were tent-like shanties, cubic shanties and other shanties of all sorts. I had experience of falling into ice lakes, so I had some worries before I stepped on it, but people as well as dogs were running happily on the ice, even cars like jeeps were parking safely on the lake which ensured me that I would be safe.

The first shanty we went in was an arts shanty. The owners were really nice. We were supposed to draw pictures one after another to form a cohesive story, I drew on the paper before I learned the rules clear enough and was more than apologetic when I learned that I was supposed to follow the previous people's picture story. Fortunately, the girl behind me said she could draw after my drawing to make a story. I think this is very important about art too, to be creative as well as being understanding, respectful and tolerant towards others. I really love how the artists are sharing and encouraging each other.

Standing on solid ice and looking down was an unforgettable experience. I looked down and tried to distinguish different layers of ice. They are like magical channels and each one has its own context. Sometimes I saw branches of water plants frozen inside the lake, just like powerful strokes that's carved within the transparent layer. Nature is such a great artist, I couldn't stop myself from taking pictures of ice, from small cracks to layers that contain leaves of plants.

We also went to a Karaoke shanty, people from all ages and all ethnics were singing happily in the warmth. No matter how well you sing, people would cheer and clap for you. There's another shanty that's made up with plastic wraps that can be seen inside envelopes, sunlight shone through them gracefully, and we took some pictures with our hands on them. There was a shanty where several bike-pedals were installed, we stepped on them and it actually moved! There were slide-like shanties that people could sit at and slide, and there were artists who dressed up as polar bears. The lake was like a huge community filled with magical people and creatures, everything was not like what they used to look like before. Art has given them new meanings. I also saw the dice-like shanties that I saw on the pictures on this blog. They were so bright and really stood out in the snow. I saw cars that were decorated with everyday subjects, they were common toys and accessories that we always saw in our lives, and sometimes they may even be considered as junks, but here they were, crowned to a car, attracting attention from everywhere. We visited shanties of bands and theatrical performers, and I really appreciate the people who were so considerate to sell cheap hot dogs and cocoa in such cold weather.

I really learned a lot from the trip. Although we had to walk and wait in the cold wind for a long time for the cab to come, it was totally worth it. We had great photos and excellent experience. I am always amazed by how crazy and original artists can go, I am even more amazed to see how daily, subtle objects can be presented as such huge, glorious performance. I also love the artists' attitude, it was not about competition and price, it was about sharing, giving and exchanging innovative ideas. This whole show was energetic, encouraging and inspiring, I feel lucky that I went to it.

February 20, 2009

ShanTy

The art shanty exhibit I experienced last Saturday really gave me a look into a whole new world. Not only was I walking on a frozen lake (which is something I don’t really do in the desert in New Mexico over winter break) but also the variety in creativity that I was surrounded by really made me appreciate the time all of these artists put into their work. I found myself walking around in an environment that switched from live theater to dancing bodies all the way to silent and holy confessions.
I absolutely loved the idea of the maps shanty because it showed all of the places of bad break ups (with blue pins people had stuck in the area of broken hearts) because it oppositely decorated the feeling and wholesomeness of true love on Valentines Day. Although there were couples seeming to skip to and from a shanty here to a shanty there, the slightly buzzed people half dancing outside their dance shanty were all pretty excited to see all four of us dressed in Minnesota tennis gear. The closer we walked toward this shanty I began to hear the following comment: “Nothing like the entire Gopher tennis team to get a freakin’ Dance PARTY started up in here!”
Feeling slightly embarrassed by our matching apparel, I decided to take part in the fun they were all having, so I took some pictures inside, hoping to get a few good shots of motion. There were three people in there just having the best time. It was so simple, there wasn’t much up inside of there at all, I loved the idea of appreciating the simplicity of a good time. As long as there is a space that is warm and we can’t slip on, why not throw a dance party up in here and our bodies will be the creativity. LOVED IT
On the other hand, the live performance was also something that I really enjoyed last weekend because of two things: 1. This is what I heard when I stepped inside coming from the performers on stage: “Man I love my whiskey and I love my gin, but the way I love my coke is a goddamn sin…” 2. The seats for the audience in the shanty were such a great addition to the feel I got to the theatre shanty.
After a few moments I realized I was basically sitting on an elderly ladies lap and decided to let her enjoy the rest of the performance while I went to visit the church like shanty next.
The confessions that were stuck on the side of this shanty were so unique, emotional, hilarious, sincere, unusual and honest. It was so interesting to see what it was that people thought of writing in that moment, during their visit at this shanty. There was something quite liberating about telling the rest of the future visitors a little something about yourself that you wouldn’t necessarily tell anyone that you personally knew. I felt connected with so many thoughts, concerns, worries, emotions and mistakes that were scribbled on a scratch piece of paper. It made me realize that I am not the only crazy one in the world. Take that as you please.
But, it also made me realize that it is a lot easier to write a confession out rather than verbally project it. Or is it? Say if you know that the person that is going to know this thought that you are confessing in this very moment will be someone that you will never meet or see, could you possibly record yourself confessing something either on a recording or a video? Makes me think of how personal someone’s voice can be even if you have no idea who they are or have the slightest clue as to what interests them or makes them who they are. I don’t think I could… I liked writing it down in silence.
On the other hand, I also got a sense of who the person was through distinct characteristics in their writing, just seemed as though their confession, in some weird way went with their penmanship or jot style of writing. Some people seemed like they live a stressful and rushed life and had more of a scribble that expressed their troubles, rather than a “clean” and neatly written down thought or concern. Seemed as though the people who wished bad things upon other people had an angry style of writing, and I am happy they finally got what they were feeling in that moment off their mind. I feel as though they are more relaxed about the bothersome idea of whatever it was that they jotted down, only because I know I do.
I could not have spent a better Valentines Day on a frozen lake; connecting with other crazily enraged and stressed people. I feel better about the way my mind works.

February 17, 2009

Art Shanty

And really, in no other place in the world would someone have thought to put up art shanties on a frozen lake. Gotta love Minnesota.

I have been hearing about the Art Shanties for years now and have friends and acquaintances that have been a part of them, but this year was my first time out there. I went on Saturday the 7th and had a great time. We had a really hard time getting there, I don’t know the suburbs at all and ended up getting lost- but finding National Camera- so I hit two birds with one long drive.

The Shanties were in full swing by the time that I got there and there were a lot of people. Almost too many people, because it was almost impossible to get inside of any of the shanties (unless you really like small spaces with lots of people). So, after waiting our turn, we got to go inside of a few of them. The confessional was great, the 3-story shanty was pretty cool, and I loved the refrigerator shanty and gotta love the dance shanty.

We were also around for one of the qualifying races for the big bicycle races and saw some old friends who were participating in the races, which was fun. It really made me want to get on my bike again, but I’m scared of ice, or really, I’m scared of falling on ice.

Also, I think that we were there on the “art car day” which was fun. Its not often that you get to see all the art cars together, outside of the art car parade, usually just one every once in a while out on the roads. I’m not going to lie, I will admit that having all the cars on the ice really freaked me out, so I tried to steer clear of that area.

Being out on the ice in the middle of winter was especially funny for me when you looked over at the real ice fishers in their real ice shanties and thought about what they must think of us. They must have thought that all of us were totally insane. That made me appreciate the fact that there are people that get so excited to do this every year. It must take a lot of work to set this up, from an idea to really happening and getting people really excited about it.

The dance shanty was one of my favorites because when you walked up, there didn’t seem to be anything going on. Then you open up the door and “whoa, uh, sorry” and close the door back up again. It took me a little while to actually go in and get my dance on. 


All in all, I wish that I had dressed more appropriately and had been able to stay longer. The ice was so slippery that my sneakers were not cutting it and I had forgotten to bring a hat and gloves. It was really cold and windy out there.

Wouldn’t it be cool if this went on in the city instead of out in Plymouth? I think that there would be more participation from a larger community and you wouldn’t have to drive out there. I’m also hoping that someone will do a summertime shanty. I’m not sure what would be in there, but I know it could be cool.

February 16, 2009

Art Shanty Visit

Meghan Timm
Photo 1701

While visiting the Art Shanty Project on Medicine Lake in Plymouth MN this past weekend, I found the experience, a little cold yet an interesting demonstration of creative expression. I found the stories amazing of the people in their Arctic Expedition shanty; for they had been living sleeping there shanty and shared their experiences, one of which was waking up to ice on their bedding. Although there was not a whole lot to actually do in the submarine shanty I found the fact that they used “Sorry? board game pieces for buttons a creative and useful idea. There was also the knitting shanty, which was by far the warmest of the day, and perhaps the most educational of the shanties I had visited. Not only did I learn how to knit but I also, learned about the knitting squares that were being donated to be made into blankets that were going to be donated to a local organization, I found the thought of this act of kindness quite intriguing and a good way to make a connection to the local community. I also found the confession shanty an interesting concept, something I would never have thought of. I found myself finding constantly reading people’s written confessions posted to the outside of the shanty, until I could not take the cold anymore, in which I made my way inside to contribute my own. Throughout the different shanties that I visited, for not all were opened, I found the theatre or black box shanty to be very clever and probably my favorite. The separation of stage from the audience made this shanty one of the larger ones that I had seen. Although it seemed spacious, it quickly filled up when the performance I watched was about to begin on the last day of the exhibition. The performers all bundled up, sang with beautiful harmony and as one of the man stated, they are a local group from the Minneapolis area and tend to sing “whatever they feel like,? as the comment was followed by chuckles from the audience. Most of their songs were folk songs and ballads, again the harmonizing was remarkable, and everything was acapella making the performance all the more impressive. The songs were also in a variety of languages ranging from English to French. The performance was in a very relaxed setting as both the audience members and singers were bundled up, some singers standing, some sitting, and one even bouncing a baby on her knee-almost the perfect storybook setting. The group of about seven looked different in many ways yet all seemed to come together to sing, and the audience, including myself, seemed almost captive to their performance. This group was very easy to become completely engaged in their performance- I almost forgot I was in an ice house on the middle of Medicine Lake. Overall the experience was a positive one and I enjoyed myself more than I expected. Visiting this exhibition definitely had an impact on me for the rest of the day, with the brainstorming of ideas of possible art shanties for the 2010 Art Shanty Project that continued in my head for the rest of the afternoon.

Art Huts

I don't have a license, and medicine lake is a long way from where I live. So I called up my Mom and we had a Valentines Day adventure.

I would have to say that the Art Shanties are just about the cutest, most adorable thing ever dreamed up. I was surprised by how many shanties were out on the lake, and then the "real" ice houses too! I wonder what the fisher-people thought about the art shanties. If there was animosity, friendship, or just some kind of mutual respect.

The installation was pretty poetic, compartmentalized vignettes– each with a distinct and succinct story. The interactive ones were the best– actually, they might have all been interactive. Inviting people to send letters, play board games, generate electricity, confess, and make books together. These simple activities were really great ice breakers (ha ha ha!). It was thrilling to see art function as a way to bring people together in a friendly and social way. Especially since the fine arts can be really alienating and intimidating things sometimes. The symphony is long, the ballet is boring, modern art is confusing– experiencing art can often feel passive. The art shanties made art an active experience– they were also short and to the point. They were easy to understand, which I think is a great way to introduce people who may be unfamiliar with the experience of going to a gallery or a theatre to start experiencing art. I think what I'm trying to say is that the shanties were effective because they weren't trying to be a high brow experience– but they certainly weren't crude like television or popular music (commodified and mass marketed).

I really enjoyed the book, confession, and snapshot shanties the most. Primarily because I would be documented in some way– probably on a blog. I think that is really neat, that something so local will be accessible around the world. The snapshot shanty was also very warm, which was a huge plus on a chilly day (the shanty with coffee was also a favorite– hot drinks for cold hands). I was really glad that most of the shanties were heated, by either wood or propane. I was definitely worried riding out to the lake that I would be very, very cold. The wood stoves smelled the nicest. I confessed that I secretly like going to ballet class, even though I always complain about it. I complain about it a lot.

We brought our dogs, so did lots of other people. There was one dog, Belle, who was beautiful. Her coat was different colors from different angles, it was really cool. Most of the shanties had treats for dogs.

Next year, I think, I am going to be a part of a shanty team.

Art Shanty

I really enjoyed this visit because it was so unlike anything else I had ever seen. The creativity of the different shanties really blew me away, and I found quite a few that were my favorites. I loved the live performance shanty, it felt just like a theater in there. The costumes that the performers were wearing fit the feel of the idea for the shanty. I also loved the shanty that promoted the idea of forgiven confessions because I found myself laughing for about an hour while I read all of the confessions that were stuck on the outside of the shanty. It was unfortunate that the radio shanty had lost battery power and so I didn't get to truly experience everything that that specific shanty was about. I got some great pictures of movement because there were numerous people skating on the lake. It was a great time and I hope to do something similar to this again!

February 15, 2009

John Chan, Gallery Visit

John Chan

Art Shanty Visit

The first thing I noticed as I went though the shanties was how friendly and approachable everyone was. Some, like the Quebec Sovereignty Movement / News Stand and Map Shanties were happy to elaborate on the theme of their projects, while others, like Kooosh Chillyart Shanty, didn’t have so much of a theme other than just being a comfortable respite from the cold. But everyone was exited to share their work with the visitors and they seemed to belong to a pretty close knit community.

Shortly after arriving and having given up on trying to keep walking, I slid over to the Confessional to read people’s secrets. My favorite was one guy’s confession about lying to his girlfriend about walking the dog because when it was too cold, because I do the exact same thing. I have to admit though, as I read them I was hoping to find a really good one, someone who was really just a train wreck, but nothing caught my eye. Perhaps I was out too early and the real debauchery was still to be put up. Nevertheless, I put in my own two cents and it felt pretty cathartic.

Over in the Map Shanty, there was a large grid map of the Minnesota where the theme for Valentines Day weekend was to put push-pins at the location of a good date, bad date, first kiss, or break up. There seemed to be a trend that, in the metro, towards the North West there were more first kisses and good dates, and as one went South East there was a slight gradient going towards bad dates and breakups. I would have been interested to see if, at the end of the weekend, the trend held and if there were any particularly good or bad places that had a lot of pins clustered around them, like common locations where people dumped their significant other.

The Quebec Sovereignty Movement was probably the oddest of the shanties, even if it was only half of one. I wasn’t sure if the guy behind the desk was serious about running a proxy stand for a resistance cell, or if that was just the theme he thought up for the shanty. I questioned him about the silhouettes targets peppered with 5.56 rounds (in poor shot groupings) that were proudly displayed, and he said he had others for aiming mines at knees. It all seemed very un-Canadian, which I suppose was their point. But really, who dislikes Canada that much? It seemed to be a pretty trivial cause compared to say, the conflict raging in Palestine, were plenty of suffering people would likely jump at the chance to live in a nice place like Montreal. However, given how nice everyone had been all day, it seemed against the spirit of the event to get into a discussion like that, so I got some newspapers and moved on.

Before I left I made what ended up being my favorite stop of the day, at the Koooshh Chillyart Shanty, on the periphery away from the rest of the shanties. There wasn’t a clear theme, which perhaps explains why Ephraim and his wife didn’t get their grant approved. That was disappointing hear, because I felt they executed what they were going for quite well; their place wasn’t busy and didn’t try too hard, it was just relaxing and warm and comfortable. They were very hospitable people, and it was a nice change from shuffling and climbing around in the cold.

I probably would not have made this visit on my own if it hadn’t been for the assignment, but I ended up really enjoying meeting all of the different shanty owners and seeing how exited they were to make their projects involve the people who were visiting. I look forward to seeing what is out next next year.

Art Shanty Visit

It took me two trips out to Medicine lake to actually see the shanties. The first time it was freezing cold weather and I just looked at the shanties from far away. They almost seemed to be the community of their own. Almost like a fort out in the wilderness, surrounded by emptiness of the ice lake. The second time when I went out to the lake, I actually made it out. The weather helped, it was much warmer this time. I took my mom with me, because it was truly interesting to me to see what she would like and to see her reaction to this project. She enjoys everything odd and extra ordinary.
When we gotten out on the lake, down to the shanties, it reminded me of the game my sister and I used to play when we were little. We used to build made up towns out of found objects and place little figurines to be the citizens of the our created settlements. When my mom and I entered the Art Shanties, it felt like we were transformed into the made up towns where the houses were built of non ordinary objects and the citizens of that town were the artists. These citizens seemed to be very organic with their “houses? that they lived in. Each one of them carried the personality or the issue, or the theme that the “house? carried. The shanties that stuck with us most had actually the artists be more like their idea. For example, Imperial TransAntarctic Expedition with Molly Goldberg, Mary Rothlisberger, and Amber Phelps Bondaroff. The shanty was with the theme of the expedition of Shackleton that was stranded with the crew on the South Pole. The artist themselves really took on the part of the crew. Partly they really did look like the stranded crew at the South Pole due to a natural setting of the ice, the lake and the cold air. Another part of it was that they were all dressed in the retro clothes that gave the whole atmosphere a real feel, like you really did stumble into the living quarters. They talked about the expedition and their lived on the upside down sheep like they really did live there.
Another shanty that made the impression on us and especially my mom was The Third Level Shanty with Peter Sowinski, Lucas Koski, and Sam Koenigsberg. When we entered the shanty it did not seem much. However, when we entered it seemed like you enter into a world of its own. That feeling was mostly given by the atmosphere of the air and the light coming through the walls and the third level. However, mostly it was one of the artists himself. I believe it was Lucas. He was dressed all in white with fancy eyewear and most extravagant white boots. He gave an aura of serenity while he was sitting there with a cup of coffee, all in white, and lazily talking to the visitors.
The art shanties that we visited and the artists who represented their projects created a sort of magical unity, the world of their own. I felt like I went to visit this far away land where everyone had their own magical powers.

By Maia Pavitova

Art Shanty Projects

I visited the Art Shanties on the last day they were open, so I expected there to be a lot of people checking them out. What I didn’t expect was for almost every shanty to be completely packed! I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the shanties. There were so many strangers who were packing themselves into these tiny shanties just to experience art. That in itself was really cool. I wasn’t able to experience every shanty because of how busy they were, but the ones that I was able to check out were really cool. I loved the Confessions Shanty, the fact that it was made to look like a church absolutely delighted me. I kneeled at the “altar? and wrote out my confession, which I will now admit… I read perezhilton.com at least four times a day. After confessing, I walked around the church and read some of the other confessions, which were great. There were some hysterical ones, which I won’t repeat here!
Next I checked out the little dice shanties, where my boyfriend and I played Don’t Break the Ice (a very clever game to be playing while sitting on the middle of a lake!) As we were playing a few little kids opened the door and asked if they could watch us play, they were delighted when I beat my boyfriend and immediately hopped onto the benches so they could have a turn. It was really cool to see the kids out there really enjoying themselves. We attempted to check out some of the other shanties, but found it too difficult to try and squeeze ourselves into the tiny shacks, so instead we just walked around and checked out the exterior architecture.
I thought the submarine shanty was really clever, and the decorated cars were also very fun to see. I really wanted to check out the Snapshot Shanty, but it was closed. As we made our way off the lake we saw one of the movable shanties being pedaled around the lake, which was hysterical, especially when they got bumped off the track and had to all jump out to get it going again. My boyfriend is set on building his next fish house with pedals in it, so he can move it from spot to spot on the lake without his truck. I’m really glad I got to experience the shanties; it was a great, inexpensive way to spend Valentine’s Day. I wish there were more opportunities like this, especially with today’s economic situation. I’ll definitely be going back next year, and hopefully on a day when it’s not so busy!

-Mary Thoemke

February 14, 2009

My Gallery Visit

I found my visit to the art shanty project to be fun and exciting because there is so much there to explore. Medicine Lake is literally a few blocks from my house, so I took a trip home and headed out to the lake. I arrived to see what, to me, seemed like a tiny eccentric neighborhood sitting out on the ice. I was excited as I approached seeing kids flying kites and an entire shanty being steered around the ice and powered by several people pedaling. The first shanty that caught my eye was the mini fridge shanty which people where crowding into to enjoy the surprising warmth inside. The pattern the black fridges made on the outside of the shanty looked pretty awesome, and I got to meet the artist's dog inside as well. I left to find many artistically designed and altered cars, one with squares of colored tape covering the surface to make a bird and sky pattern, to another covered in household knick knacks which were glued to its surface and protruding in all directions.
From there I enjoyed playing a quick game of boggle in one of the dice houses (which I quickly lost) with another person enjoying life out on the ice. They were small and comfy nonetheless and deeply enjoyable.
Continuing on I passed by the surfacing U.S.S Walter Mondale, on my way to what turned out to be one of my favorite visual shanties I was to visit, the paper shanty. I walked in to find several people hard at work on what appeared to be paper cranes and other assorted paper animals, and a couple of the designers of the shanty, who struck me as nice paper loving hippies. I loved the way the light slanted in through the slats of the construction, which went down both sides, in conjunction with the assortment of paper cranes hanging from the ceiling. Although I would have stayed, there was very little room left for me to attempt to make a paper something, so I slipped out and moved on.
The next shanty I visited was the art post shanty, marketed as the world’s only post office on ice (I think that’s a little debatable considering Iceland must have post offices somewhere). I spent some time creating a post card out of stamps, attempting to make a screaming man look like he was swallowing a frog with limited success. Upon completing my post card masterpiece, which I then kept, I wondered around on the ice spying out the most interesting looking shanty to visit next.
I stepped into what looked like a bare shack with a couple guys in it I assumed to be the artist’s. I quickly realized I had found the dancing shanty, unfortunately when it was completely devoid of other people, found myself feeling very awkward and tried to back out the door as unnoticeably as possible.
I made stops in several other shanties including the snapshot shanty where I had my picture taken and the photographer loved that I was wearing purple gloves, and the Ped Pex Power Pod where I observed others laboring on stationary bikes and creating the power used to boil water and make tea in the pod. I also took a button, and then left. I was disappointed that when I was there K-ICE studios was not up and running because I had been hoping to sit on and maybe participate in some on ice radio interviews, something I had heard about from others who had visited the shanty.
By this time, however, I realized that I couldn’t stay any longer and even though I had visited many of the different shanties and had a lot of fun exploring the artists’ vision I knew that there was even more that I had missed. There are a great many things to do at the Art Shanty projects and hope they continue so I can visit again next year.

Scott Luisi

February 10, 2009

Katelyn Whitehead

The shanty exhibit was a lot of fun to explore since the range of art taking place was so vast. The outside structures were interesting in themselves however, once you went in to each shanty there would be even more creative attractions inside. The people viewing the shanties also provided entertainment by participating in various activities. The result was a fascinating sensory overload that was like one huge, remarkable piece of artwork.
The outside of the shanties varied from basic to extravagant. Some artists spent a lot of time designing the outside of their shanty into structures such as an emerging submarine and multiple dice. One particular shanty resembled a small church. I thought this one had the best look from the outside – and they went a step further by decorating the walls with confessions written down by visitors on the outside. It was a clever idea and very popular, many people were reading the confessions. Others focused on using imaginative items to build their shanty, such as huge cardboard rolls or old electrical appliances. It was amazing to see so many diverse ideas, each enjoyable in their own way.
Inside the shanties various projects would be held, such as theatre performances, karaoke, and knitting. There were also shanties that featured things such as a post office, radio station, and photo booth. My favorite of all the shanties showed how to make paper origami. I enjoyed this one the most, because I thought they did the best job of exhibiting both a creatively built shanty and a charming activity, which was related to their overall theme. The shanty itself was built out of large paper rolls, positioned into a sort of triangle - almost like a teepee. The outside was covered in some sort of thick paper and on the inside there were layers upon layers of cardboard, most likely for installation. When you walked inside there was light pouring in from a window toward the top of the shanty and if you looked up you could see many colorful origami hanging from the ceiling. Although I enjoyed looking at all the shanties, this one particularly struck me as a creative work of art.
The shanty exhibit was quite popular when I visited, which I was glad to see. Many people were taking pictures or participating in some other provided activity. Even more people brought their dogs. It was nice to experience artwork outside for a change. (I think the dogs enjoyed it, too.) There were also numerous cars decorated and being shown off. One was covered in fur and resembled a polar bear and another seemed to have millions of knick-knacks from various garage sales glued to it. Everywhere you went there was definitely plenty to look at. I thought this shanty exhibit was a clever idea to get people outside, on the ice and involved in art – an interesting combination. It’s too bad this could probably only work in Minnesota – where people will brave the cold – because it is a very pleasant exhibit.

Fully Flared

ok, so here it is, if you want to check it out again


February 9, 2009

Art Shanty Project

For some reason I had been harboring the impression that the art shanty project was going to be overly media/press saturated and that too much focus would be put on the idea of it being "Art" rather than a sort of created community interaction free of corporate sponsorship (if that makes sense?).
However, I was delighted to find my fears alleviated. I really enjoyed it.
I was suprised to see that so many friends of mine had built shanties for the project and I was completely unaware.
My favorite shanty was the Imperial TransAntartic Expedition shanty. My friends and I sat around wearing fake beards on our faces, making finger puppets and listening to songs on the ukelele. I really appreciated the aspect of storytelling incorporated into this shanty. Every detail added to it, from the worn blue kettle on the woodstove to the old hardcover copies of Moby Dick on the shelf. Through objects they created this other fantasy world, and since I have a penchant for stories of navigation, exploration, haggard fishermen, beards, wood shacks and suspenders; I was thoroughly enchanted. What made it the most successful was its complete lack of pretension and sense of laid back ease. You could just come and partake in this ongoing humorous adventure story.
We tried to watch a puppet show in the theater shanty but it was always too crowded to get in. I really loved the architectural design of the sauna shanty; again my love for simple shacks made of junk and discarded material had me swooning.
Overall I just enjoyed the sense of lightheartedness and frivolity. A lot of it for me was just about being silly, having fun and being able to escape the depressions of modern city life. There was a bicycle structure I've seen around the city that I think can hold 10 cyclists that sit in a circle pedaling and around it they had constructed a metal shack. The shack was being pedaled all around this ice track and the people inside looked so ecstatically happy; kids were grabbing onto the sides and being pulled. There was a four post bed that had been turned into a sled and we got pulled around on it by an old red motorcycle with a side cart. Another favorite shanty of mine was the dance shanty in which was held a non-stop booty dance party. Middle aged Minnesotans would walk in at first terrified at the sight of the dancers but would then join in- partaking in some rather scandalous dance moves.
It was just wonderful to see people letting loose and just being creatively ridiculous and going wild. It was very refreshing to see.
It reminded me of other events i have attended across the United States that are usually about a bunch of people that built some strange contraptions and meeting in a strange location to just have unauthorized fun.
The one part that made the art shanty project kind of annoying was that everything became such a spectacle.
When being pulled on the sleigh bed we were simultaneously being photographed and filmed by at least 50 people.
It was like everything had to be turned into a statement or be documented; as though there couldn't be a full release of convention and socialized conduct. What was really just about the ridiculous had to become some documented 'Artistic' event. As though only this could be created by certified makers of Art and not by human beings.
Otherwise it was great.
-Claire Urbanski

February 8, 2009

Art Shanty Assignment

The art shanty project was really interesting and I’m glad I got to experience it. I loved that it was a collaboration of random ideas, functional spaces, and quirky architecture. The radio station, post office, and theatre ones were especially cool because the creators took something that we use or see every day, and transformed it into a piece of usable art. The post office shanty was my favorite of the ones I got to visit. I made a post card and sent it to my family. I tried explaining the concept of the Art Shanties in the small space on the post card but it was hard to sum up such a crazy idea in a few sentences. I also liked that it felt like a small town, out on the ice in an array of unconventional buildings. They should have a grocery store next year. Another awesome shanty was the confession one. I found it ironic because it looked kind of like a church, but some of the confessions stated things such as “I do not like going to church?. (in a young child’s handwriting). It’s not every day that you come across a shanty covered in secrets for all to read. I also found out that the director of the art shanty project actually sleeps in the top of the radio station one sometimes. It was cool to find out what the function of each shanty is, but I simply liked looking at the architecture of each shanty. The submarine shanty was interesting because it interacted with the ice below it. I regret that I did not get the chance to ride in the shanty that was looping around all the others on the ice track. I went with two of my younger cousins, ages 5 and 7. So not only did I see the art shanty project through my eyes, but I got to see how kids reacted. They would grab my hand and pull me into shanty with no hesitation. They really liked the interactive shanties such as the post office or moving ones. I think my favorite thing about the art shanty project was the atmosphere it gave off; you look one way and there’s a giant sled being pushed around with a person hula hoping on it, then there’s a car covered in trinkets, and a multitude of oddly shaped shanties. It’s a place with no rules where creativity takes over and nothing is wrong or right. The art shanties were a very dynamic place, and I think that anyone with an open mind would enjoy visiting. It was like a big playground for adults and kids alike, where not everything had to be conventional or straightforward. - Kayla Petrich

February 3, 2009

Shanty Art Proj.

ShantyArt Project

Visiting the Shanty Art project was a very unique and enjoyable experience. Though the project was intended to display the creativity in what they could be used for, I think the more interesting aspect of the project was how each shanty was built. The most interesting one to me was the shanty which looked like an overturned ship. I thought it had a good story behind it compared to the other shanties. The people inside the shanty had some lame acting to play the role of the stranded people but it was still made it interesting. The guitar playing at the shanty entry wasn’t that great either but made for an enjoyable atmosphere.
The other unique shanty was the one made of mini refrigerators. I wouldn’t be able to begin to imagine how they would have sealed that shanty or how anyone would get the idea to build one out of minifridges. The shanty that looked like a submarine was nice too. They also played some very different music with interesting sound effects. There was a shanty also being used to broadcast radio. There were a few guys in there with a microphone who were doing very brief interviews with people which I thought was nice though I didn’t know where they were broadcasting to. The theater shanty was also neat because the inside almost looked like a living room you would find in a lodge house in the wilderness. It was also the only shanty that had an actual fishing hole which was nice to see since I’ve never been inside a real shanty before. For most interactive, I’d say the book shanty was great. They were giving away books that were donated to them which were a range of books such as King Arthur to the Communist Manifesto. They also had a Scrabble like word spelling competition going on.
The series of game shanties were also fun to visit. They were shaped into boxes which were supposed to look like dice. There were four or five of them and each had a few scrabble games, a deck of cards, some drawing materials and a few other small activities to do. It was funny being in there because people kept staring at us from outside like we were part of the act.
The last shanty we visited was the coloring one. There was a coloring competition going on which I didn’t get full details about but the lady in charge was from Wisconsin and she was planning to take all the pictures back to rate then announce the winner or whatnot. I did my coloring but opted to keep my picture.
As a whole I think it was a very good idea to hold an event like that since we all live in Minnesota where ice fishing and fishing itself is huge. I think they could have made the event even better by inviting more people to express their ideas in different shanties as the possibilities are apparently limitless. And maybe they could have advertised it more too to get more people out there as I never heard of anything like this until now.

February 2, 2009

Assignment 1

Here is the pdf of Assignment 1Download file