Close

After the Suburbs…

January 2011

Kiang Gallery

THE AMERICAN SUBURBS OF THE 20TH CENTURY ARE NOTORIOUSLY BRANDED:
BRIGHT, SAFE AND BRAND-NEW. THE HOMES AND THE TIGHTLY SYMMETRICAL SHRUBBERY
IDEALIZE ORDERED GARDENS, COMFORT AND SPACIOUSNESS. THIS ENVIRONMENT IS
MYTHOLOGIZED AS THE ULTIMATE, AFFORDABLE EDEN, WHERE THE WILDERNESS OF BOTH
THE COUNTRY AND THE CITY CENTERS ARE MANAGED AT A CONTROLLABLE DISTANCE.
HOWEVER, THE NEW CENTURY BRINGS AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON THE SUBURBS, AS
THEY GROW MORE COMPLEX AND SHIFT BACK OUT OF HUMAN CONTROL. UNSUSTAINABLE
AND OVERBUILT, WE WITNESS THE SUBURBS AS THEY BECOME HAVENS FOR IMMIGRANTS,
AGRICULTURE, SMALL BUSINESS, BOHEMIANS AND UNDERGROUND ACTIVITY.
WHILE AMERICAN STYLE “THE SUBURBS” ARE NOW MANUFACTURED IN THE CENTER THE
FOREIGN CITIES, AGING SUBURBS, ABANDONED BY COVERT COMMERCIALISM HAVE A CHANCE
TO BE REPURPOSED. SUBURBIA NOW MATURES INTO A MUCH MORE INTERESTING PLACE.
THE SPIRIT OF ITS ORIGINAL UTOPIA MAY STILL REMAIN (ALBEIT TRANSMOGRIFIED),
AS THAT PASTORAL, YET URBAN AMERICAN SPACE.
-K.TAUCHES

Suburbs vs. moss

Suburbs-

We want green, but we want to control it.  Mow it, trim it, contain it, cut it, if it doesn’t behave or doesn’t fit our plans, poison it, kill it.

False sanitary neatness, cleanliness …Birds are ok as long as they don’t poop on our car.   Chipmunks are cute as long as they don’t wreck our flower beds.  The suburbs are an enormous human conceit, an attempted refabrication of Nature into a safe, sterile, unsurprising womb.  The moss chair is a form of dialectic concerning urban and suburban cultural blindness.  Urbanites and suburbanites have become the non-cognoscenti of the natural planet.  Children grow up afraid to splash in creeks and catch frogs, bugs, or play with caterpillars.

In our attempts to control Nature  we have exterminated entire species of animals: amphibians, insects, birds, fish, mammals…By reorganizing Nature according to our artificially generated organizational grid, we have actually weakened and poisoned the natural systems that sustain us, the plant transpiration and rain cycles that provide us with the very water and air we depend on.  By poisoning icky, crawly critters like insects,  we have decimated the insect pollinators which are responsible for 30% of the food we eat (all fruits and vegetables.)

We have killed the beneficial microbes that create healthy soils, leaving us to rely upon better food through chemistry, an unsustainable and poisonous proposition at it’s best.  Our rich, vibrant soils, communities of live microorganisms and their products, are dying via our arrogance, eroding away to the bare, infertile, sterile mineral substrates or subsoils.

We are big, so we are important.  In ecological terms, however, the smaller something is, the more important it may be.  Perhaps we will lose our fisticuffs with the small, icky, insentient microbes that truly run the planet, and the plants that depend upon them.

My next few installations are using live plant material.  I will be updating this post with pictures as the three projects I am currently working on are being assembled.

Georgia Clay at Terminus

October 13, 2010 – January 14, 2011

“Georgia has a long history of clay being used to produce vessels of all shapes and sizes…The art form that these artists explore is not necessarily “functional,” but a more sculptural, artistic expression using clay, porcelain and ceramics as the medium. ”
– Anne Lambert Tracht, Curator

Aeriathrae

Aeriathrae

Artist’s statement:

Dust seeds, balloon seeds, samaras and pseudosamaras, are all formed with characteristics that catch the power of the wind.  Tiny embryos swirl around us as we walk down urban streets, blow past us on vagrant breezes as we drive through suburbia, or careen down the highway in our cars.  The air is full of potential life.  Some of these seeds such as dust seeds, are miniscule, not even a millimeter across.  Other seeds, such as the winged samaras or pseudosamaras, may be a few inches from tip to tip. Borne on puffs of wind, these colonizing strategies serve to carry their embryos far from the parent plant, sometimes several feet, sometimes many miles away.

The six discrete objects in the Aeriathrae installation are inspired by the various seed forms plants have developed through evolution to harness the colonizing power of the wind.  Each individual shape of the six three-dimensional objects has been determined by a particular wind-harnessing strategy.   These plant-developed  strategies will be re-deployed by the installation to catch HVAC convection air currents.  Each air capturing strategy will rotate its form on its axis at a different rate, magnifying the wind-borne rite of passage that each plant embryo embarks upon at the end of it’s species growing season.

The forms are envisioned as hanging below the skylight on the floor above the Dalton Gallery, coming into the gallery space through the balcony in Gallery B.  Directly below, on the floor, a smooth white/reflective platform 6 inches tall by 9 x 7 feet wide will have a continuous video loop of wind-blown clouds, echoing the skylight directly above.

Installation Description:

Each lightweight hollow form, roughly measuring 24”x36”, is currently being built out of laminated unryu paper, linen, and stainless steel spring wire, and is designed to be suspended from a heavy duty snap swivel hung on 1/8 diameter steel “airplane cables” varying from 10 feet to twenty feet in length.   The regular HVAC convection of air in a large building should serve to turn each form on its swivel, especially in a tall space such as Gallery B in the area of the skylight.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hand to Hand

ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, Inc. presents:

Mission Accomplished
August 14 – September 26, 2010

Opening Reception:
Saturday, August 21st, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

About the Radicis installation

radix -icis f. Latin. [a root; the foot of a mountain]; in gen. [foundation , basis, origin]

The foundation of most life on the planet is derived from the sun’s energy.

radix -icis f. Latin. [a root; the foot of a mountain]; in gen. [foundation , basis, origin]

The foundation of most life on the planet is derived from the sun’s energy.

The sun is the great engine, radiating energy throughout the cosmos, onto our planet. Plants absorbing that energy turn it into carbohydrates, sugars: food.
The macroscopic community interacts with the sun above ground, absorbing its energy through plant material. Plants, however, have a continuing and more complex story of associations.
(more…)

Radicis

radix -icis f. Latin. [a root; the foot of a mountain]; in gen. [foundation , basis, origin]

The foundation of most life on the planet is derived from the sun’s energy.

The sun is the great engine, radiating energy throughout the cosmos, onto our planet. Plants absorbing that energy turn it into carbohydrates, sugars: food.
The macroscopic community interacts with the sun above ground, absorbing its energy through plant material. Plants, however, have a continuing and more complex story of associations.

Tiny organisms in the soil biomass interact intimately with plant roots. Hidden microscopic communities in soils absorb, recycle and otherwise interact with the macro organisms above-ground.

The installation ‘Radicis’ is a mirror of these subtle, hidden interactions.

Annette Gates and Pandra Williams at Kiang Gallery – Access Atlanta

“Williams merges her clay sculpture, installation practice and environmental advocacy in the magical “Radicis, ” an installation of abstracted natural forms that glows strange and wonderful…”

Download Review

Artists collaborative Kiang Gallery show is a natural wonder – Creative Loafing

“…In “Radicis,” Williams hybridizes the natural world and the technological one… As a successful artistic collaboration, In Significance becomes its own ecosystem in which each artist’s work has its own presence and makes its own contribution, but is given greater significance by the other’s presence.”

Download Review