Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some People: Alfred, 2008

This is my part of a collaborative show organized by Harrell Fletcher, Some People: Alfred, NY, which focused on building relationships with people in the local community.  I interviewed my landlord, Philip Prigmore, who is an architect that specializes in projects involving historical restoration. The wall piece is  a drawing made by Philip a few years ago for a report about the importance of porches, which I redrew in Adobe Illustrator and had printed in vinyl.  The notes next to it are facts I learned about Philip during my interview with him, and the digital picture frame shows a slideshow of the Photobooth pictures I took of him while he was talking. My documentation, along with everyone else's work who participated in the show, will eventually be posted on Harrell Fletcher's new website, Here is the show's press release.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Olfactory Memories, 2008

corked glass bottles, tags, wood

This is the first of many projects involving my collection of smells.  This particular collection of 60 is from Portland, OR. I think this will be another series, but I have a feeling each project will take very different forms.  (See the "smell jars" post from back in January for another version).  

Twittering Machines, 2008

Right now I'm contemplating how these could migrate. The cardboard box version is the most likely and obvious candidate, but I'm also thinking of adding casters to the base of the wood and steel version so people could roll it around the room as they make it fly.

22"w x 60"h x 16"d 

wood, steel, acrylic, hand crank, Post-it notes, hardware

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the meaning of "my"

I got into a discussion yesterday with my art history professor Mary McInnes about the importance of the word "my" in contemporary art.  Her question was why this possessive adjective has such a significance in my work, and whether this significance takes the place of craft.  (For example, putting on display "All My Clothes", but not having actually made any of these clothes). Apparently I find more value in this possessive adjective- in the personal quality of objects I already own - than I do in making new objects with my hands.  Why is that?

I am working on a new concept right now that involves interviewing the people involved in my daily life in some way.  They are people that I don't necessarily know very well or interact with hardly at all, but that I rely on somehow.  For instance: my landlord, or my neighbor, my mailman, my doctor, my trash collector, my grocer, my gynecologist, my mechanic, my hairdresser, my roommate... These people who all play a role in my life, on a day-to-day basis or in a every-now-and-then dependency sort of way, like my doctor. But why the word "my"?  What if I didn't attach that word as a prefix?  What if I just labeled these people as "roommate" or "doctor" or "trash collector"?  Obviously it would be different, but different better or different worse or just different?  Is it a cop-out?

(Cop-out: an instance of avoiding a commitment or responsibility)

When Mary McInnes asked me what I thought of Marcel Duschamp, I said that I am grateful to him for what he has done, for me and other contemporary artists who rely on found objects in their work.  His work was groundbreaking, making possible what wouldn't otherwise have been possible in the art world (whole skyscrapers could be built on this ground). But still, so much value is placed on the handmade, to this day.  And the "what the hell is that?" and "I don't get it" attitude that now exists towards most contemporary art might just be all Duschamp's fault. But so much stuff already exists in this world, and one has to question why we would desire to make more...  I feel my role as an artist, personally, is to make people notice and question what's already existing and happening around them every day.  

Monday, February 18, 2008

poster for Some People: Alfred, NY

Harrell asked us to make posters for the show that advertise the local person we interviewed.  We're supposed to xerox them and hang them around town, and hopefully get people to come to the gallery to see work about their friends.  This is one idea.

Friday, February 8, 2008

interview with Philip Prigmore (my landlord)

This interview is the result of a workshop with Harrell Fletcher.  My documentation of Philip will be a part of Harrell's exhibition Some People: Alfred at Alfred's Fosdick Nelson Gallery.  I took over three hundred pictures with the photobooth program on my computer (inspired by the amazing work of my friend Genevieve Huba). These are some of my favorites...     (more to follow).

interview... continued

and continued...

and continued some more...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

coffee cup conveyor belt calendar

Kinetic sculpture, take II (take one is still in the works, but I am multitasking).  This is a photo of a little sketch model I made with paper cut-outs and toilet paper rolls, but what I'm working on now will be a fully functional conveyor belt.  Seven unfired slip cast ceramic cups will be on the belt at any given time (cups of the disposable coffee shop variety, not mugs like the ones I made out of paper in the picture above).  The belt will turn so that one cup will fall off the end of the conveyor belt every day, signifying that day's end.  There will be a large quantity of "cups in waiting" (or "days to come") stacked up on the floor on one side of the "calendar", so another day can be added to the end of the "week" when one day ends.  And obviously there will be a steadily growing pile of broken cups on the other side ("days gone by").  When all of the cups in are eventually broken (I haven't decided how many I will make yet, but the days will certainly be "numbered"), I'll be able to collect the broken pieces, crush them up and make them back into porcelain slip, with which I will cast the next "life" of the project (recycling, or reincarnating, the materials).  The best part is that I was given a mechanical clock motor by one of my mentors, Fred Tschida.  It has to be wound up every day with a cool little brass key, and it makes the greatest sounds. Tick tick tick tick tick....

I am making seven molds to cast with; one for every day of the week.  This is the lid of the mold for "Tuesday".  

Saturday, February 2, 2008

home away from home

My studio.

flying post-it note birds

This is my first solo attempt at kinetic sculpture.  I downloaded a lesson plan from the internet that aimed to teach kids about cams and simple mechanisms that utilize cams. I pretty much built what a 3rd grader would have built in class, using a card board box, wood dowels, foam core, spray paint, 2 Post-it notes and hot glue.  My goal is to make Post-it notes fly (ie bob up and down very fast). More specifically, I would like to make one machine (or bird) for each of the five different brain waves that occur in our brains during various activities, and represent that brain waves' frequency and amplitude with the up-and-down height and speed of each little yellow thought.  It's a very crude model, but it's the beginning of something I think is going to be really cool...