An introduction from Providence
Working publicly, privately, actively and passively...
I thought it might be a good idea to let everyone know basically what I'm up to. Between working in Providence and New York I also juggle working with large collaborative groups and working individually. I'm very adamant about addressing the audience of the piece so as to find a sort of highway of communication between people of all disciplines.
I have been working in Providence for the past 18 months with an artists' collective called "PIPS", the Providence Initiative for Psychogeographic Studies, to explore issues of psychogeography through our work. Started two years ago by JohnJ McGurk, David Allyn and Meredith Younger, the group has grown to include myself and others, bringing the headcount to 10. PIPS welcomes new people and ideas to keep dialogue about art alive. A few of the pieces PIPS has created are social sculptures such as the Yellow Bike Project to the Urban Agricultural Unit. JohnJ McGurk and I performed Untitled (Nomadic Caf) at the 2003 Psy.Geo.Conflux in front of ABC NoRio. Christina Ray documented the performance here. For more information visit www.gaberator-mac.tk.
PIPS has completed several additional projects in the past six months. "Density" is a piece we created to work with kids from New York City, who helped us make an earthfire kiln and 5000 ceramic figures. As part of a show called "Campsite" in Beacon, NY, we synthesized a Buckminster-Fuller map and a map of the campground where we lived for the summer. The result was a population density map that represented the 20 most populated cities in the world. Viewers of the show became participants when they took a map and walked around the campsite (which was about 12 acres) to visit all the major cities of the world.
On my own I have been pretty busy, as well. I have been studying popular culture and its effect on people's response to my artwork. I began this study with a few sculpture sketches that were more like psychology tests. I would put a pile of toys on a table in a gallery and a stack of questionnaires on a table next to the toys. The gallery-goers were instructed to take a question sheet and a toy. The question sheet was a 12-question multiple-choice answer sheet that guided the participant around the outside of the gallery. It had mixed results ranging from people not participating at all to people taking a handful of toys without taking a question sheet. Interestingly enough, very few people followed the given commands on the sheet as to where to drop off the toys, but the toys were found together in amusing configurations elsewhere. I think it shows a certain amount of control that the viewer demands from art works, no matter what the scenario. As for now, I am digesting these findings while throwing myself in a crash course about art and culture.
Currently I am reading theory about art and culture including:
Linda Weintraub, Art on the Edge and Over: Searching for Art's Meaning in Contemporary Society 1970s-1990s
Kristine Stiles, Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings
In addition to studying popular culture for my own body of work and being involved with Glowlab, I am interning for Vito Acconci at Acconci Studios in Brooklyn. Vito has been a big influence upon me as a developing sculptor and performer, so I am pretty excited about what's to come in the next few weeks.
Finally, Id like to share a really cool show I just went to in Pittsburgh, PA where I grew up. The show is in Wood Street Galleries and is called Replay. Digital art as well as psychogeography are shown in one of the most contemporary art galleries in Pittsburgh, showing an increase in the number of artists delving into this arena. Blast Theory had documentation of Uncle Roy, which I think everyone on the Glowlab site should check out.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer spiece Amodal Suspension makes use of technology and geography in a way that non-geographers can access. He is making use of cell phone capability to send text messages whereby he is taking the signals from the text messages and converting them into patterns of flashing searchlights in the sky, turning the Japanese city of Yamaguchi into a giant communication switchboard. People in Pittsburgh could send text messages to control the lights in Japan. Actually, I didnt really understand how cool it was until I was on the T (Pittsburgh equivalent to the subway) reading the gallery pamphlet. So, I would say that the display of the piece was not as clear as it could have been.
Golan Levins piece Floccus makes use of interactive digital media to make the participant feel as if they are actually creating something new. Although I wasnt totally convinced that I wasnt just playing with a program that had a limited number of variances for original display, the presentation was slick because it was in a little corner off to the side. You could really get lost in your own little psychedelic patterns and noises, which is probably the intent of the piece.
-- J. Gabriel Lloyd
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