Recently in artists Category

I remember hearing this joke frequently, and I'm aware of the baggage that a lot of very large, metal sculpture carries as far as being big instead of good, but I like big, steel things. My favorites at the Walker's sculpture garden are Serra's Five Plates, Two Poles or Calder's The Spinner

I know you've all seen those, so I apologize for wasting the space to post yet another picture.

What I like about these is the way that the scale and material can surround you. The size of these creates an interaction that is not always available with smaller works. The tactility of the steel, and the heat it puts off even into the evening is a different type of interaction than most objects I encounter. I do touch everything as I walk around all day, and quite a bit of manufactured or built objects seem to fail to absorb and slowly release the evidence of existence around them. The self healing nature of the steel also means that even the marks from children's feet or chalk or graffiti are absorbed, but also slowly released over time.

One of the artists I mentioned, Anthony Caro is yet another artist that dealt with steel as a material. From what I've read, it seems that his work, at least for the last half century has been commissioned work, rather than self initiated, but I assume he has the luxury of choosing what to be commissioned to do. One interesting thing I learned from the website, was that he collaborated on London's Millenium Bridge, the walking bridge over the Thames. The way I think this ties into our discussion is that Caro is among those credited (by his own website anyway) with placing large, brightly painted sculptures directly on the ground so that they engage the viewer on a one-to-one basis. I think that while there are now many more interactive ways to engage a viewer besides placing art in the same plane they are standing in, I have to imagine that at the time this was a big deal.

Making meaning from speakers

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To begin, I think that we can all take something from each of the speakers, regardless of our background or interest area, but as I need to choose 3, and talk about their direct influence on my work, I think Sam Gould, Micheal Sommers and Janaki Ranpuri are currently among those that I have used quotes or concepts from this semester.

Sam Goulds characterization of public art as a space for communication has really helped me to move outside of my previous understanding of public art. I think that definition alone has been popping up in my daily conversation at least twice a week, since this talk. Part of the reason would be my involvement in a project to help discuss and facilitate community identity for a new suburban development. We are looking at art as a way to have the types of conversations that the developers are looking to have, in order to allow community members to influence and feel belonging to the community, rather than using brand messaging to tell them what the identity is, and force them to participate or not.

Additionally, Sam's comments during the discussion of our work in the atrium regarding the use of a recognizable framework to allow people to access the work, not only reinforces a lot of the theory I discussed last semester in a game design theory class, but helped me to extend those theories outside of that realm. Though I had talked about dealing with what I was calling composite spaces, I found that having that discussion would require much more infrastructure than I could consider ephemeral. Sam's comments helped me to identify some ideas that participants would understand with little instruction or infrastructure, for a piece that would exist only temporarily. I think I was looking for something with a much lighter footprint, both physically and cognitively, and Sam's discussion helped me to re-frame what I understood as public art and execute something that would be accessible.

Micheal Sommer's talk was not only energetic, but presented some new ideas on anthropomorphizing objects, which is an interest area of mine. I think that when you can identify the personality an object has, that can help inform the design of the object or experience, and Micheal's discussion of giving objects life was right in that vein. Even in the week since that talk, I have found myself discussing anthropomorphism with my students in one of the classes I assist in teaching, who have been having trouble creating original facial and body feature for toy monsters they are designing. I had been telling them all spring semester to think about what attitude their toy would have and how that ornery-ness or shyness could influence the types of features it possesses and the way that it moves or operates. Micheal's exercises have given me a whole new way to talk about that process and show people how to think about giving objects life.

Similiarly, I also take some new ideas about anthropomorphism from Janaki's discussion and the stop motion video of the tea cup and assorted items that climbed into it. I think examining the way puppeteers and animators not only make the objects move, but the way they give them personality is very connected designing user experiences. I don't think we can continue to have object and experiences driven by the raw technology, and endowing these objects with personalities and attitudes might be one way to allow humans to connect with the objects that populate our daily life.

3 guest artists/speakers

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I found myself remembering what was said by Janaki Ranpuri, Michael Sommers, and Jack Becker the most, because they were all very inspiring.

Janaki Ranpuri--Her interaction-based lecture was compelling, and I enjoyed her enthusiasm with her own work. The tea cup and mini theater animations were fun to do and really got me thinking of how objects can be brought to life with simple movements. I also liked how she mixed technology with social interactions from the public, in reference to her most current project with the egg/sperm bicycle thing.

Michael Sommers--It was fun to get up and move around during his discussion with us, which helped us relate our movements to the objects we manipulated afterwards. Although it was hard to get into the newspaper exercise, I understood and appreciated the concept. The random objects that he brought turned out to be interesting when we had them perform for a little bit. I took a lot of his instructions for the class into my own work. I'm in one of his classes and his discussion with us helped me figure out some things with my sand painting. Giving random objects life can be a hard task, but usually having fun with them is the best way to go about it. Sommers kept saying to "let the objects speak for themselves" which has always remained true. Usually objects keep a certain persona if they are being used in an interesting or 'correct' way, if its too forced it will not be received well by the audience.

Jack Becker--His discussion helped me think of the future, specifically for when I graduate. His discussion was motivating, because I have never thought of artists as free agents before, that could apply for grants to make the art that they want to make. Our society is so money based that commissioned work seems like the only thing that is made anymore, which doesn't sound fun for the artists. Making art strictly for the artist is more or less a way of "self-indulging," which is a rare thing to do in the workforce nowadays. Having fun and working are rarely correlated in today's economy, but Becker's lecture made it seem possible for the artist. Of course a lot of people are competing for the grants, but the option is out there through his company.

The information that all three of these speakers gave us was helpful, and the variety of their experiences and artwork was equally entertaining to see, interact with, and motivating to hear.


speaker 1, speaker 2, speaker 3 (surround sound)

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The three speakers that were the most inspiring to me and my art practice were Sam Gould, Janaki, and the guy from Transmaterial (oops, forgot his name).

Sam Gould: The Friday before class I also saw him talk, but he still added new things for our class. I really liked how he explained his art practice and gave me a lot to think about when it comes to social practice as art. His insights were helpful for the Regis Transformation, and I thought he had much to say. He brought up some really good things to think about when framing art and also interacting with the public.

Janaki: Though I have known her from being a volunteer helping on the Mayday parade the past two years (this will be my third), she still offered new things to say. I didn't know about her egg and sperm ride, but it is exciting that she is adding technology to her work. I have done puppetry and stop motion before, but never live stop motion :). It was fun, but I also got a lot out of her talking about her own work and passions. Janaki always has something interesting to say, and this was no exception.

Transmaterial person (I can't believe I forgot his name...): I loved all of the slides he showed about new materials and how they are being used in architecture, design, and other uses. I am a fan of felt, so the molding of industrial felt was fascinating for me. My parents both work in the Field of Architecture, so I grew up with two people with strong ideas about design. Architecture and design still have a place in my mind. His lecture was heightened when I visited the "New Materials" room at CCA over spring break. I got to see some of the things he was talking about...

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.

artworks that made me pause and think

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To be honest, I'm not looking at artists for inspiration from the day I read the e-studio class description. There are many reasons besides the Pandora's box of new materials we saw during presentations, including but not limited to- 1. I have become curious about the complex interplay between the artist and the collective. 2. My recent exposure to new levels of reality challenges the singular relation between artist and inspiration. 3. The artworks that reasonably inspire me cleverly hide the process of making or battling with 'chicken or egg' kind of questions. I'm interested in knowing different approaches to the process of 'nothing-to- the concept', that's why I kept asking our guests 'what led to so and so decision' and they mostly did a good job on translating those layers.

So, I do have artworks in mind that I appreciate.
1. How Do You See the Disappeared?
By Mariam Ghani & Chitra Ganesh- mainly for their boldness and simplicity to peel off the shells of borders, globalized cultures and using technology and virtual public space as a point of exchange and to address such a heavy question.
Their goal is to is to create alternative systems for collecting stories from the immigrants whose lives as individuals are lost in the abstractions of legalities and headlines, and to develop from those stories new terms and languages through which the issues of the immigration debate can be framed. A Warm Database is the web-based phase of this project, and serves three purposes: as an annotated guide for the uninitiated to and through the mountains of documents that surround detention, deportation and immigrants' rights; as a resource for and call to action; and as the starting point of a data collection project designed to span multiple communities and languages. The Warm Database that is presented in this first version of the project is an interface for the further visualization and presentation of the data that artists will collect and translate after the project's launch.

Her other video artwork-Smile, you are in Sharajah,

Smile, you're in Sharjah (excerpt 1) from Mariam Ghani on Vimeo.

is a study of the patterns and rhythms of movement through shared spaces of the city-state of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The video, named for Sharjah's infamous welcome sign (spelled out in flowers in a traffic circle notorious for rush-hour traffic jams), roams the neighborhoods, suburbs, exurbs, plazas, highways, alleys, and excavations that range between Sharjah's seaport and its desert fringes, with an eye to the cycles of construction and consumption that sustain this precarious and often contradictory place.

2. David Bowen- Wind drawing device

wind drawing device from david bowen on Vimeo.

this simple installation documents innocent drawings in a circular gesture powered by wind. It also relates to the idea of extending life cycle of a leaf.
This device uses three leaves to collect wind. It then produces charcoal drawings based on the amount and intensity of the wind on a given day. wind drawing device was created in Balatonfured, Hungary. It produced 60 drawings during a three week period in June and July 2006 on the Hungarian countryside.

3. Anish Kapoor- Leviathan
He is renowned for his monumental idiosyncratic sculpture forms of grandiose proportions, which leaves viewers in a state of astonishment. I personally got drawn to people's facial expressions when they are inside this structure. They seem to be transferred to a giant red nest which despite of it's scale hosts a warm feel. Leviathan, a 115 foot high sculpture which is made of PVC stretched over a giant, metal frame. The structure is so large in fact that you can walk around inside of it's four, blobby arms. He says of the sculpture that he hopes that "people will be invited to enter the artwork to immerse themselves in its color and it will be, I hope, a contemplative, poetic experience." The simplicity of Leviathan and the way the light shines on (and through) it really makes the Grand Palais (in Paris) shine. Juxtaposition of these two contrasting structures make them both stunning and beautiful. 14.jpg 13.jpg 12.jpg 11.jpg

Influential Artist Robert Smithson

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Trying to keep up with the checklist--- (Corner Project update/projection coming soon)

I can't remember all that I said in class about my most influential artist, but I have been fond of Robert Smithson and his "Spiral Jetty" done in 1970. This work was in Utah done in the Great Salt Lake out of earth's raw materials. This particular work falls within the category of Earth Art which has always been an inspiring genre to me. Born in 1938 in Passaic, New Jersey, Smithson was a multi-disciplined artist having done everything from conceptual drawings, to painting, to installation, single artwork, collaborations, and ephemeral art. I appreciate his fluidity between mediums and working habits, and how he has conquered many aspects of art. My goal is to be somewhat like him in being able to work within many different mediums of art. He was also a scholar having written manifestos on art and its place within life, to understand how much he did about his craft is to have lived a decent life as an artist. He died in 1973, but his work lives on.

Artist Inspiration: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

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Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

As a public artist, Lozano-Hemmer utilizes the ephemeral experiences of light, sound, and movement to express unseen phenomena on a city scale. I find this work inspirational as a designer of the built environment, as it uses existing technologies to bridge the divide between public art and public urban spaces.


Pulse Park


Vectoral Elevation


Body Movies

An Artist of Influence (Elisa)

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Three artists are in my mind as I work on the corner project. Tomory Dodge's painting simulates two consecutive (mirrored) frames of a moving picture. The shapes appear to be falling in an ambiguous space.

Tim Hyde constructs surreal spaces by cutting apart and putting back together photographs of materials and planes in space.

Andy Goldsworthy uses found phenomena in a given locale to intervene in the landscape to alter its formal aesthetic.


Tim Hyde.jpg


Inspired by Luke Fischbeck

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Luke Fischbeck:


2003-2005 Brown University MA Music (program in Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments)

1996-2000 Harvard University BA, Visual and Environmental Studies

Lucky Dragons:

Make a baby

Sumi Ink Club

Elysian Park Museum of Art

A Ray Array

-electronic music theory