micro interactions // macro intra-actions

  • All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace [3/3]: The Monkey in the Machine (2011)

  • “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” (2/3) - The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts (2011)

  • Deborah Stratman


    Objects Designed for Failed or Failing Systems

    Project Description
    A series of 30 drawings on mylar depicting objects originally designed with a failing system in mind. Provoked by Paul Virilio’s idea that every technological development carries within it, like a virus, a unique potential for accident or calamity.

    Drawings were initially completed for the publication Participatory Autonomy, in which a select few appear. 

    Turnstile, winch, worm gear, leather strap, jack, timbers, steel, steel plates
    Dimensions variable

    A museum installation consisting of a 100-ton jack connected to a gear box and a turnstile. The 100-ton jack pushes two large timbers against the bearing walls of the museum. Each visitor to the museum must pass through the turnstile in order to see the exhibition. Each input on the turnstile ever so slightly expands the jack, and ultimately if enough people visit the exhibition, SAMSON could theoretically destroy the building. Like a glacier, its powerful movement is imperceptible to the naked eye. This sculptural installation subverts the notion of the sanctity of the Museum (the shed that houses the art).

  • http://www.guggenheim.org/guggenheim-foundation/collaborations/map/latinamerica/artist/gabriel-sierra

    Gabriel Sierra

    b. 1975, San Juan Nepomuceno, Colombia | lives and works in Bogotá

    Gabriel Sierra studied industrial design at Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Bogotá. Employing the languages of design and architecture, the Colombian artist’s work challenges the rules of functionality and engages ideas of community, habitat, and urbanism. For Structures for Transition 1 (Estructuras para transición 1, 2008), he built an armature in a museum passageway, seeming to expose the structural skeleton that exists beneath the surrounding walls. A second work acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection, Hang It All (from Stepmothernature, 2006), alludes to Charles and Ray Eames’s iconic design, replacing its colorful spheres with pieces of fruit, thus replacing perfect geometric form with irregular organic matter.


  • Cecilia Jonsson, The Iron Ring

    In the South of Spain runs a river so red and soalien-looking that the Spain tourism board is marketing it as Mars on Earth. NASA scientists even came to the area toinvestigate the ecosystem for its similarities to the planet Mars.

    Due (mostly) to the intense mining for copper, silver, gold, and other mineral in the area, the Rio Tinto is highly acidic, its water has a low oxygen content and it is made dense by the metals it carries in suspension. Its deep reddish hue is caused by the iron dissolved in the water.

    Cecilia Jonsson visited the region to collect some of the wild grass that grows on the borders of the Rio Tinto. The name of that grass is Imperata cylindrica. It is a highly invasive weed and its other particularity is that it is an iron hyperaccumulater, which means that the plant literally drinks up the metal in the soil and stores high levels of it in its leaves, stems and roots.

    The artist harvested 24kg of Imperata cylindrica and worked with smiths, scientists, technicians and farmers in order to extract the iron ore from the plants and use it to make an iron ring. The innovative experiment brought together the biological, the industrial, the technological and even craft to create a piece of jewellery that weights 2 grams. The project also suggests a way to reverse the contamination process while at the same time mining iron ore from the damaged environment.

  • Ceramic, iron, rope, and various materials / 92 x 85 x 275 cm
    Jarla Partilager

    MM: Small Isolated Room should be regarded as a continuation of Inhabited for a Survey from 1986. Using a number of small household objects, I created a space or room that I then linked to a cave with two chimneys. The nighttime landscape attached to this room looks like a hollowed-out human organ. Actually, the room is a fictional study or workroom with a view toward a cave. The dark space where the gaze can hide, congeal or die is in the end a factory where mental images are produced. The work is surrounded by a thin, taut rope that binds the room and the landscape together like a skin, making it all into a single body.


  • Wood, glass, sand, and various materials / 160 x 220 x 130 cm
    S.M.A.K., Ghent

    MM: Three different ideas come together in this work. It first began in about 1998 with a simple wish. The idea of making a wish is of course a useful tool for an artist, and when you make a wish it does not matter in the slightest whether you could ever make it come true. For instance, you wish that you could open up your chest easily and painlessly and watch your heart pumping. In this case, I wanted to put down two objects—two cups, for instance—in exactly the same spot on a table. That is physically impossible of course, but the idea, the wish that I could put two objects in the same place, stayed on my mind.
    Another thing that has occupied my thoughts for some years now is the slack rope. At any moment, there are slack ropes hanging in many parts of the world, and I think it is an incredibly lovely, melancholy phenomenon. The curve of a slack rope as it hangs is just beautiful. A few years ago I devised a plan to hang a slack rope in the most tense place in the world. The two ideas I have just told you about came together when I decided to put a cat in the same place as a slack rope. The only way to accomplish this was by having the slack rope hung between the two halves of the body of a cat that was divided in two. If I had cut the rope in half, it would not have been a slack rope any more, but a cat divided in two is still a cat. Then I turned this still life into a nocturnal garden scene, like a three-dimensional photograph. I like the way the darkness in this scene captures light.
    I do not see this as a violent scene. To me it has more to do with melancholy and silence. The difference in tension between the three ropes in this night scene is very beautiful. For me, it is not important if the viewer grasps the train of thought that lies behind this work. The story of how this sculpture came about is ultimately irrelevant to whatever power it may have. The work has now been set up in the world as a fait accompli, and operates as an image. I am sure it will mean something different to each viewer. One of the nice things about a sculpture is that you can look at it for just a few seconds and then carry it away in your mind, sometimes for the rest of your life, as a mental photograph. Sometimes I try to make sculptures that are almost impossible to carry away in your mind.


  • Allison Knowles, “The Boat Book” (2014)

    Allison Knowles, “The Big Book” (1967) 

    By MARK BLOCH, JAN. 2014

    Anyone who happened to be navigating the south Florida shoreline in early December 2014 may have been surprised by an unexpected nautical presence in Miami. The buoyant octagenarian Alison Knowles, First Woman of Fluxus; Soho real estate pioneer; early feminist-by-example; collaborator with John Cage and Marcel Duchamp; author of world’s first computer poem and one of the world’s seminal performance artists, will be launched her newest project. “The Boat Book,” is a “book sculpture” with 4 by 8 feet pages that roll, allowing viewers to make their way through it, was all within James Fuentes Gallery’s survey booth S12 at Art Basel Miami Beach.

    The Boat Book is a completely new work but it also offers a fresh 21st Century look back at her important earlier project, 1966’s “The Big Book” that made waves in art and book circles without a nautical theme when it traveled the world—from New York to Canada to Europe to California—48 years ago.

    The Boat Book, like The Big Book before it, is just that: a big book, composed of eight 4’ x 8’ movable pages—anchored to a metal spine. “This walk in construction was equipped with casters, which made it possible to leaf through the individual pages. Each page had access to the next, opening up different spaces between them where a reader could spend some time,” as it is described in a more traditional book brought out this year by Passenger Books called Alison Knowles’ The Big Book.

    Unlike The Boat Book, The Big Book contained a toilet, an artificial grass sleeping tunnel, a gallery with works by artist friends illuminated by black light and tungsten, a library, a telephone, a window to open, close or climb through, and other utilitarian objects in the spaces between the pages. “I remember in Cologne they had to kick a man out of the tunnel who stayed overnight,” Knowles recalled.

    But like its predecessor, The Boat Book contains a soundtrack, a guest book, blinking electric lights, a stove for making a cup of tea and instead of a grass sleeping tunnel, a blue plastic tunnel is provided, keeping with the mariner theme that is maintained throughout the work. “This time,” continued Knowles, “the grass tunnel will be replaced by a hoop structure between two pages covered with blue silk like the ocean.”

    It also contains a giant porthole for climbing through, fishing nets and a fishing pole, an anchor and many other accoutrements of water travel for visitors who navigated its pages as they did with the first two incarnations of Knowles’ large book concept, The Big Book and its follow up, The Book of Bean which combined two of her trademark interests.

    Knowles has been a pioneer in the book-as-object and artists book field since the early 1960s. Her first book object was the hand-scaled, non-sequential “book,” Bean Rolls, which featured bean lore and information on paper rolls in a retooled cigar can as part of the 1965Fluxkit, a Fluxus Edition compiled by Flux-czar George Maciunas. The metal tin with an offset label and offset printed scrolls containing dried beans marked one of the first deconstructions of the book as an object, simultaneously elevating it to new status as a three dimensional art object while dressing it down to a mysterious non-sequitor that one might find in their mother’s kitchen—but, like the other objects in theFluxkit—only if it were to appear in a strange dream.

    Her next book project, the aforementioned Big Book in 1966, was built in the Something Else Press offices in New York City. The late Dick Higgins (1938-1998), Alison’s husband, was also a Fluxus artist who started that press and the couple operated it together following the early Fluxus years.