Friday, April 16, 2010
Simultaneous Life, by Andrea Claire, was situated down Canal Street in New York City. Each one was placed on a traffic island. This project consisted of five windsocks made out of metallic fabric and placed on top of an 18ft long pole. The point behind the windsocks was to give the passer-bys of Canal Street an awareness of their surroundings. People were able to see which way the wind was blowing, the intensity of the wind, and the upper landscape. This exhibition gave people the chance to see what cannot be seen, the wind. People became more aware of the little things that people usually do not realize like the cool breeze or the lack of one. Due to the metallic surface, these windsocks were highly eye catching. It forced people to look up and take in the massiveness of the sky and buildings. Instead of constantly being focused ahead, people would look up and take a second to realize where they actually were. People were given the chance to see things they usually do not. They could visualize were the wind was going, how it affected them. This project gave people a different way to experience a natural element in a setting where most just ignore it. It gave wind permanence and presence.
Information for Peace and Democracy, by Brett Cook-Dizney, was located in the Bronx during 2002. These were 8' by 16' murals which focused on reactions to the tragic events of 9/11. Cook-Dizney interviewed five people about their thoughts on peace and democracy. After being interviewed, the interviewees were asked to help draw themselves and their thoughts on murals. This type of art is strongly based around the central issue of the interaction of the public. This piece breaks down the border between viewer and artist due to the actual participation of the subject. It is very sincere and realistic. By including quotes that the participants said, it shows the realism behind 9/11. This art speaks entirely to the public since many can relate to the views each participant expressed. This situational art allows people to engage and feel as if their voices are being heard and represented through the normal population. The sites of these murals are also important because they are generated to target a certain population. If these were to be moved to Kansas, the responses would be different. The emotions are more deeply felt in the place where one of the attacks occurred. The murals acknowledge the feelings many citizens were feeling and give people the feeling that their thoughts and opinions matter. It makes the public more aware of current issues and opens up the floor for people to engage in these matters. It opens up space for discussion. It opens up the doors to a situation where people take responsibility and take a stance. These murals allowed for community to grow and for interaction to take place. They grounded the feelings of many Americans with a futuristic lookout on what was yet to come. It combined the past and future while maintaining a connection with the people in the present. This situational art went against norms by asking for so much involvement from the people. Even after the murals were finished they asked for constant interaction through thoughts and dialouge. The outcome was discussion.
Surviellance, by Ernie Gehr, located Madison Square Park in New York City, takes a different approach towards site-specific and situational art. It is a four channel high definition video installation which exhibits the activity within the park. Its site specificity causes controversy because it takes the role of combining technology with nature. The idea of surveillance and cameras brings back the good old ideas of Big Brother except with a twist. Many people in New York City are used to the idea of cameras watching their moves due to security reasons. Although people may be used to being watched, many do not expect being watched in a park. By using the park as the source being surveillanced it makes people question to what extent is too much security. Daily New York City citizens walk by posters stating "If you see something, say something." Many are not affected by these posters and do not challenge the idea of surviellance. By being able to see themselves on camera, it makes them contemplate their amount of freedom. To some extent the idea of constantly being watched even in a park can creep some people out. This exhibition creates a situation where it is possible to challenge the idea of security and the path that the United States government is taking. It forces the controversial concept of privacy to come up, begging the question of what does one give up for another thing. What is more important, one's own privacy or one's potential safety. At the same time, by combining nature with technology, Gehr allows people to see how the two have become intertwined. How nature has become a part of technology, something that needs to be controlled and watched. The exhibition lets people to see the beauty within nature but yet how the human race has become to limit it. The site contributes to the overall message the art sends across along with the situation and question of compliance and inactivity. It makes people think of issues they may have otherwise ignored or refused to think of. Surveillance serves its purpose by at least for a brink of a second forcing people to think of the role of the inidividual versus the role of society.
The Sphere, by Fritz Koenig, is displayed in Battery Park in New York City. Originally it decorated the fountain in front of the World Trade Center Plaza. This piece holds a lot of symbolism and meaning not only because of its site specificity but because of the situation it represents. Its original form is battered, changed from what it used to be due to the impact it went through due to the 9/11. It is a 45,000 pound sphere made of bronze and steel. This piece distinctly represents how site and situation affect the meaning of a piece of art. Originally placed by the World Trade Center, many would simply walk by it without acknowledgement. Due to its new location it stands as a memorial for those lost in the 9/11 attack because it represents the destruction and a fraction of what was damaged and lost. By moving it away from its initial setting, it is viewed and interpreted as something else. No longer is it a decoration but a metallic sphere that is proof that what happened is reality. It gained its memorial status because of its original site and by being moved to another, it certified it. What is most important is this sphere is recognized and determined by the situation. When it used to be just a decoration, it barely got a response or reaction from the crowds. If anything there may have been some awe from some tourists due to its massiveness. Now it makes people shed tears, contemplate life, feel sorrow and remorse. A situation changed its meaning. This sphere also creates numerous situations. This may simply be from provoking emotion, giving people a place for peace and thought, or just serving as a reminder to cherish life. It is clear cut that in this case art was created by a situation, it came into existance because it gained a reaction, however negative and depressing that reaction may be.
Lamppost, by Matt Irie and Dominick Talvacchio, is situated in a park near the Metrotech Center in Brooklyn. Irie and Talvacchio use the lamppost to display how temporary things are. The site of the lamppost is most crucial. The lamp is situated among other normal lampposts except this one is bent and it seems as if the lamp was forced to bend and eventually hit the ground, hard enough to make an impact. By being placed among other normal lampposts it creates a huge contrast between the normal and abnormal. The lamppost brings into question the durability, predictability, and reasonability of life. It adresses the idea of the unknown and change. By bending such a lamppost, something which is considered sturdy and symbolizes the idea of light and direction, it makes the audience contemplate truth and reason. It makes them think of the impossible being possible because if a lamppost can be twisted to such an extent, can't everything? Also, since the lamppost is an everyday object it represents the fundamental base of a person's life. If something that is taken for granted to be a certian way is changed, it makes a person wonder whether other things are subject to change and to what extent. It makes people appreciate what they have and how it is. It brings their attention to other daily objects and allows them to think about how they are also able to be transformed and altered. It brings up the theories of force and what potentially is not discovered. This lamppost also symbolizes how regular objects impact our lives. People do not realize how much a stop sign or a pencil affect their lives because of their regularity. The hole the lamppost seems to create can be taken to signify how much these things impact our lives and how people should respect what they have. What is pretty unique is that the lamppost still functions and emits light. Some may view this as a social connotation that our direction has changed, our values are no longer moral but have fallen to the ground. Others may see this piece and think the light represents that not everything needs to be perfect, that the original must be acknowledged and that there are different ways to achieve a purpose. Either way this piece establishes a situation where the viewers allow their imagination to run wild and challenge their current opinions and thoughts on stability and reason.
The Gathering, by Christian de Vietri, is also located near the MetroTech Center. This piece is most interesting because of its simplicity but yet it generates a huge reaction from passerbys. Out of all the art I have seen I could most relate to this one. When I was a little kid my parents would take me to the park where I would create something similar to this piece so I could make a home for squirells. This piece symbolizes the idea of community and is titled The Gathering to represent how people used to gather around a bonfire. Vietri makes a statement with this bundle of sticks by showing the lack of warmth and spark. By being unlit it gives off the impression of being cold and lonely. This symbolizes how our communities and lives have become very individualized and the movement away from group settings. It is claimed that people look upon this art and wonder when will it light up although Vietri intends on it to stay cold in order for people to feel the same coldness and emptiness. It calls upon the audience to realize how much solitude rules the current society. Instead of being a bonfire someone would want to approach, it makes people feel distant and walk away. Another interesting thing is the fact that no one has lit this. Being in a public place in Brooklyn it is open for people toy with it, may it be young rebellious kids or homeless people. The fact that no one has attempted to light it shows the large extent of how it affects the population. It tries to make a statment about how important community is and hopes that people can leave this site with the message that it is imperative that people come together again. This bundle reflects upon the natural life and indicates that technology has such a strong hold on people that they cannot come back to such a gathering. It creates a situation where people feel the solitude but the question remains on whether they will take any action to relieve themselves of such solitude. The site specificity is also key because by being placed in a grassy park area it has more of a nature-like resemblance of what used to be when there were no such things as cell phones or the internet. Especially since it is placed in New York City, where industry rules, it creates a huge contrast where people are more able to see the difference between nature and culture. This piece is calling for the same intervention that Chris Burden asks for. Burden seeks to see how far is too far before people intervene. Although The Gathering is not as physical and drastic, it calls upon deeper emotions, relying on lonliness instead of fear to get a reaction. It creates a similar situation as to when does one take action and acknowledge the current circumstances one is in.
This art, produced by Michael Delucia, is featured near the MetroTech Center. Delucia uses a chain fence in order to create an abstract picture for the viewer. He uses 13 panels of this fence to make a cube like structure. Since the fence overlaps, when someone approaches the art, it produces numerous different patterns. When a person moves around the surface, the patterns change. This is a type of situational art because depending on the situation and the eye of the viewer, each person sees something different. They pick out certain patterns that attract them while others repel. It is interesting that Delucia uses everyday items to form these moving patterns that have intrigued many passerbys in Brooklyn. This piece displays how Delucia uses space and distance to demonstrate the change in each situation. Not only is this situational art but also site-specific. Delucia uses elements within his environment to produce these pieces. People become more perplexed by their meaning since they see these objects in their daily lives. For example this piece would get different responses if placed in a small African village since fences are uncommon there. The fact that he uses items from everyday life makes the audience contemplate the significance of the piece even more. It makes them realize as to what their environment has to offer. Some people may question as to whether this is considered art due to its abundance in the city, but this piece makes people challenge their views on space because of its constant transformation. Delucia shows people that what is around them is beautiful and can make them think no matter what the object. It is quite stunning how something which seems so simple can draw out reactions of puzzlement, intrigue, and awe.