Speaker Reviews

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Marc Swackhamer

As a 3-dimensional designer, I'm intrigued by the intense research and development that each HouMinn project seems to endure. Professional architectural practice typically focuses on programming and documenting a design, and very few resources are devoted to prototyping, modeling, and larger-scale mock-ups. The mechanical precision and craftsmanship required by Marc's modular work necessitates hands-on work by him and his various collaborators. Their experimentation with uncommon industrial materials and processes within the context of thoughtful small-scale design projects is an approach that they share with some innovative art practices that interest me. I'm also inspired by the graphic design and overall clarity of his presentation, which is such a vital part of success in the public art and architecture world.


Sam Gould

Though I don't imagine my practice ever incorporating overt political tones or performance, I'm still contemplating Sam's assertion that all art is fundamentally political. He believes that the act of creation is effectively the artist's statement that his/her work 's existence is valid. Unlike most other media, art and design within the built environment is both a commercial endeavor and has a physical endurance that must be carefully considered. In my experience, this frequently results in a tendency to water down public work to meet a community's level of comfort. The work of Red76 takes complete ownership of its political and aesthetic position and boldly inserts it into the community, which is an attitude I believe would both complicate the public art process and improve its results. I also appreciated Sam's careful critique of our ephemeral transformation projects.


Michael Sommers

The exercises that Michael put us through were socially uncomfortable, but I find that they have adjusted my outlook on the experience of performance and public work. For me, the most compelling work in the public realm incorporate some form of 'aliveness,' or responsiveness. Taking inanimate objects and creating physical interactions and narratives with Michael has made me aware of the power that is generated when an ordinary thing becomes a character, and is imbued with a personality. It made me consider how characters can be created on a larger spatial scale and over an infinite time range, and how static objects in space can be overlaid with subtle human traits that create emotional connections. The exercise that involved reimagining our own movements through space also reinforced the power of imagination in the perception of our surroundings.

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Do you remember the artist's name Michael mentioned few times. I could not find anyone named Nina Watson online.

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