Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I have found that I am not solely a studio artist. I know how to work in a studio and I’ve got lots of conventional studio skills, but it really doesn’t engage me week in week out. I realize that what I am really interested in is the tourism outside my front door.

My research is about working with entropy. I’m drawn to buildings as metaphor for system breakdowns – and as opportunities to learn more about how humans interface with the world through architecture. I use neglected structures as my raw material. In this way, I am able to reveal their hidden construction, provide new ways of perceiving space, and create metaphors for the human condition.

St. Louis is truly in a state of entropy. My work helps me to address critically the fate of our neighborhoods, which are presently filled with unoccupied structures, abandoned warehouses, idle factories, and empty lots. My experiences have been open-ended, complex, and suggest that fate is malleable.

My recent installation, A Revisionist’s Draft stemmed from an engagement with Hyde Park, a North St. Louis Neighborhood that I mined for material – literal and conceptual. As a resident of Hyde Park, I was not a dabbler, an outsider, or an insider. Through allocations of time and circumstance I became another layer on top of the dynamics at play in my neighborhood, taking advantage of a great opportunity to talk. The engagement was on-going and constantly in flux, much like the built environment itself.

In architecture, you focus on the box; this box can be understood as a social weapon. The poor are contained in a box in one part of town. Meanwhile wealthier, middle-class people are in another part of town in their own separate box, where they are protected and isolated from the rest of the world. We have preconceived ideas about a structure protecting us, and when choruses of unoccupied structures no longer protect us, it raises all sorts of issues that we don’t normally associate with a neighborhood.

I have recently relocated my studio to a vacant warehouse in Baden, MO. The space was evacuated by Triangle Plastics Inc. in 2003 and has sat unattended since. In its current state, the space is filled with the material/technology the manufacturer used for the production of promotional key chains. We all leave a layer of skin on our buildings and as an artist I am sharing skin with the idiosyncrasies/history of the industrial activity, the working class citizens who carried out the production, and the larger community in which they lived.

In my current work I intend to represent and reinterpret this relationship. I hope to offer audiences new ways to think about architecture while inciting questions concerning the social, political, and geographical circumstances that give architecture its meaning.


No comments:

Post a Comment