Tag Archives | participating artist

PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW: Rob Ray

What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate?

Right now I’m working on an off-the-grid (solar-powered) performance space near the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it’s an old movie-prop tower about forty feet tall, so the working title I use is simply “The Tower.” The work will span a quarter mile or more of space. The booklet I’m sharing at Conflux (“GET LOST!”) is very tiny, but both projects ask you to become a performer, even if you’re just doing something like lying on the ground in a place where most people wouldn’t normally do that. I’m not a “performative person” but I like to think the world could use a little more weird.

What interests you in working in public space? What are some of the challenges you face making public work?

What people do in public space is quite regimented, but everybody knows just about anything can happen. A good example is the “In case I get hit by a bus” trope. Nobody says “In case I have a heart attack clicking the ‘Like’ button on Facebook,” even though those odds are probably better. Your computer feels safe. The outside and other people feel dangerous. This fear of anything and everything happening to us while out in the world creates a lot of informal social agreements about how we’re to behave in that world—like walking on the proper side of the sidewalk. These agreements are ripe material for artists interested in engaging people in this terrain. The challenge then is how to crack open those informal agreements in—I’ll use a Dungeons and Dragons alignment term here—a “Chaotic Good” way, a way that disrupts the flow of the day in unexpected but ultimately pleasurable and insightful ways.

Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?

I made a visit to the Black Hole in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the other day, right before the liquidation sale. I spent the day digging through some of the most amazing and threatening electronic and machine surplus in the world. I can’t imagine a better way to spend a day. I must have asked “What is that?” to myself about a thousand times. It’s a question I should ask more often.

See more here: http://robray.net, @robdeadtech

OFF-SITE PROJECT: Nathaniel Sullivan

We are excited to announce that Nathaniel Sullivan will be conducting a seminar in the back of a limousine on October 20th! This public space project is happening at the same time as the Conflux Festival.  Nathaniel has also been invited to talk about the project at the Barney Building the following afternoon. Stay tuned for more details. See below for the official seminar poster.

All That You Desire: Get It All In An Era Of Low Density Hope “ is a seminar that will be conducted from the back of a limousine for approximately one hour on October 20th, 2012. Participants will be selected from the pool of visitors to the Conflux Festival.  The limo will travel through lower Manhattan, the center of global capitalism. We will stop along the route- to tell stories, to play games and to immerse ourselves in the locations of unabashed desire. One of the things this environment teaches us (if we listen to it) is that the abstractions of the financial industry can also have a social function. Unmoored from our old moral codes by these abstractions, we are free to want, to get, and in turn, to want more.

From the artist:

ALL THAT YOU DESIRE: GET IT ALL IN AN ERA OF LOW DENSITY HOPE

What would happen if you got everything you wanted? What would you look like? What would you feel like?

Most people alive on the planet have done something only to say right after, “wow, that was stupid”.  One way or another, we act in service of our desires, which often produce contradictory results.  We are not always in control of what we want.  So if we are not in control of our desires, then what can we control?  If you guessed ‘how you feel about what you want’, then you guessed right.

All That You Desire: Get It All In An Era Of Low Density Hope “ is a seminar that will be conducted from the back of a limousine for approximately one hour on October 20th, 2012. Participants will be selected at the Conflux Festival.  The limo will travel through lower Manhattan, the center of global capitalism. We will stop along the route, to tell stories, to play games and to immerse ourselves in the locations of unabashed desire. One of the things this environment teaches us (if we listen to it) is that the abstractions of the financial industry can also have a social function. Unmoored from our old moral codes by these abstractions, we are free to want, to get, and in turn, to want more.

I know what you might be thinking at this point.  “How do you resolve a limited amount of resources with an unlimited amount of desire”?  Well, my first answer is anything worth having is in limited supply.  But a more in depth answer is this: go into debt.  It may sound crazy, but I believe that debt is an act of citizenship. It is time to reframe debt, to not see it as a burden, as we have in the past, but as the most important social bond that we can have with others.

But ultimately, this seminar is about you and what you want. You have been conditioned not to want too much.  The well-worn narrative dictates that ruin awaits those who have everything they want.  It is this belief that we must sever from your desires.

Think about this for a moment, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) works on the conditioning of the mind, much like an athlete conditions her body.  But an athlete can only jump so high or run so fast as her potential allows. On the other hand, the mind can create a whole universe, instantly. So what would happen if you used that power to imagine a world where you didn’t feel guilty for getting what you want?

So why am I doing this?  I am doing it because I want your attention. Why am I doing this for free? Because I want your attention more than I want your money. And what I really want is for you to take this ride with me.  I want you to get what you want, when you want it.

Space is limited, I would love to take you all, but I can only take a few.  The first thing that you must do is attend the Conflux festival.  The second thing is to be ready for change. I will be in a suit, accompanied by a photographer. I will be asking festival attendees important questions that will determine their suitability for the seminar.  It will be an opportunity that will last an hour. And after that my friends, the opportunity will be gone.

-Nathaniel Sullivan 2012

FEATURED PARTICIPANT: Emily Bunker

Analogous mappings of movement and scale are taken to incredibly unusual and personal realms in works by Emily Bunker.  Conflux is excited to be including documentation of a mapping project Bunker completed in 2009 in this year’s festival.  During a residency in Troy, NY – Emily Bunker left her studio to conduct experiments in abandoned baseball fields nearby.  She followed the travel patterns of insects by employing bright yarn to signify their movements.

During the same time period she mapped her own movements in her studio using the same strategies – ultimately making her workspace practically unusable.

In a field that is often dominated by slick, impeccably engineered, high-tech data visualization projects, Bunker focuses on human perception of movement in space and the physicality of the seemingly futile gesture of attempting to document it ephemerally. Also in line with her desire to create analogous, personal ways of mapping data – Emily Bunker previously covered herself in red clay slip  while sleeping on a bed of white clay overnight creating what she calls “a tactile cartography of sleep.”

FEATURED PARTICIPANT: Matt Green

Conflux is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to invite Matt Green to participate in this year’s festival.  Most of us can’t say that we’ve walked farther than a few miles from home. Over the course of 157 days, Matt Green walked 3100 miles across the United States – from Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

His story is heartfelt, revealing and astounding.  You can view the blog archive of his trip here: http://imjustwalkin.com/usa/.  He writes in a post upon arriving at his West Coast destination: “We may all have different political opinions and different religious beliefs and different cultural norms (I’m a liberal atheist Jew. Did you know that? Does it matter?), and many of us probably couldn’t stand to be around each other on a regular basis, but most of us would, as it turns out, extend a helping hand (or sandwich, or beer, or couch, or shower) to a stranger in need. I walked 3100 miles across this country and didn’t encounter a single person who tried to hurt me, or steal from me, or damage my possessions. This isn’t a place that needs to be feared. It’s a place that needs to be explored, and appreciated, and celebrated.”

At the Conflux Festival 2012, we will be exhibiting his interactive photo map to allow visitors to dive into moments from his trip across the USA on-foot.  He will also be giving a talk on his most recent project – I’m walking every street in New York City, in which he is walking every block of every street in all five boroughs- when completed it will total about 8000 miles on foot! It’s exciting to think that even though he will walk every single intersection in NYC more than once, Matt Green is sure that the city will still be full of surprises.

“Why would you ever want to know a place completely? The excitement of New York, and the whole world for that matter, is that there’s always something else to see, no matter how long you’ve been around. To me it is profoundly encouraging to think of how many secrets will still lie undiscovered after I’ve walked every last one of these goddamned streets. At its core, my walk is an oxymoron: an exhaustive journey through an inexhaustible city.” -From Green’s “Ramblings” on his new walk- found online here.

FEATURED PARTICIPANT: Alex Young

Alex Young has recently moved back to NYC from post-industrial upstate New York towns Troy and Buffalo. In conjunction with the Conflux Festival 2012, Young will be creating a site-specific project (which we learn more about in a couple of weeks). Beforehand, I wanted to highlight his practice and a few of his recent works. Alex Young is an artist, curator and writer exploring the built environment and experimental historiography.

His 2011 project, The Center for Utopian Socialist Studies (C.U.S.S.) is a floating headquarters on the base of a waterfall on the Wyantskill River in Troy- the same river which once fueled the Burden Iron Works’ waterwheel. Young also states that the waterwheel was the world’s largest of its time and was the primary influence on the invention of the Ferris Wheel. The Ferris Wheel was also the main influence for King Gillette’s 1984 conception of Metropolis, another huge focus of Young’s work and research.  C.U.S.S. serves as both an avatar for his Worldshaving project and also as a functional reading room containing literature related to the formation of utopian social communities. This small, hidden base looks at narratives that create a sense of place, city, and industry.

In addition to highlighting Alex Young’s off-site project happening during the weekend of Conflux, we are excited to be exhibiting documentation from his Site of Metropolis: Past/ Future, Present/ Future project completed in Buffalo, NY in 2010. The vinyl mesh banners shown below were installed along chain link fences throughout Buffalo- implying the future construction of King Camp Gillette’s 1984 vision of a single-world-city grid of towering apartment buildings powered by Niagara Falls.  Looking forward to checking them out at Conflux 2012!