Installation Studio Class: Project 1What the heck is installation art? I get asked that a lot, especially when I'm whining to my non-artist friends about my workload this quarter. Installation is a specific genre of three-dimensional, site-specific work designed to transform a viewer's perception of the space. Installations can be permanent or temporary, indoors or outdoors. This type of work is totally outside of my comfort zone, so I may have been crazy to sign up for this class.
Imagine my delight, when at 8 a.m. on the first day of class I learned that I would be doing a group project for Installation Studio. For those of you who are sarcasm-challenged, this was NOT good news. (Group projects are scarier for art assignments than for any other kind of work!)
Groups were chosen at random, and I was thrown together with three strangers: Megan, Daniel, and Jessie. We were the only group that had complete freedom as far as location of our piece. We quickly chose a site: the giant atrium in Tangeman University Center. This huge building is sort of the center of campus- like the food court at the mall.
Our first thought was something like "Crap! How are we gonna build something large enough to fill this space?"
Which was quickly followed by the idea of putting something very SMALL in the large space, to emphasize the extremes of dimensions. There's a huge, 30' red carpet in the atrium; we thought of putting something small in the middle, then surrounding it with fancy stanchions so people couldn't get close to the small object. The idea would be to get people to think it must be really valuable and to engage their curiosity. BUT the object is actually ordinary, simple, and plain- an apple!
We chose a site and a concept so quickly and so easily that I felt sure that problems would start once we got down to work.
We started by discussing our respective strengths. Megan and Jessie are into ceramics, Daniel is into sculpture, and I'm into 2-D. Not only was it nice to know we had a wide range of abilities, we also had access to a wide range of free materials, because we had all paid various lab fees in our other studio classes. Aren't we smart? So Jessie and Megan made the apples, I made the hand-printed signs, and Daniel built the pedestal for the apple. We all worked on building the stanchions. Daniel and I cut and forged steel rods, while Megan and Jessie set them in plaster. We painted each of the stanchions black. We all worked on making the velvet rope, and we all assembled the piece on site. WE ALL WORKED. Weird, huh?
|Curio from above|
|This shot shows one of my signs with the installation in the background|
|This is Saturday, right after we installed it; nothing's protecting the apple yet|
|For the critique on Monday, we made a velvet pillow and encased the apple in glass.|
|Close-up of the velvet rope. We made these out of lengths of pipe insulation, less than a dollar apiece!|
|These are the extra apples, which we handed out to classmates during the critique.|
|I made these signs with wood-block printing also- we hung them throughout DAAP and TUC. They are deliberately vague and simple- we wanted people to be uncertain about what exactly Curio meant.|
|This apple hangs high above the DAAP cafe. I tried to put them in unusual places, where they would be noticed.|
Well, it worked- someone stole it and left a ransom note, of sorts. I scanned it.
|If any of you want to tweet a message, to help solve the mystery, feel free. So far, we've made no progress.|
Curio went so well that three of us have decided to work together for the next project, even though we had the option to work alone.