COLLECT arrange and order
CONFIRM the room itself; the old steel I-beam, the concrete floor, the breeze, the dust
DISCOVER not unlike the feeling of finding unexpected treasures in a dusty attic
IN/SITE92 was an initiative established in 1992, designed to promote installation artists doing work in the San Diego/Tijuana area. It features both local and international artists in its scope.
As part of its inaugural exhibition in 1992, DIS-position was a direct response to the powerful presence of a room in the old abandoned Mission Brewery in San Diego: floors of concrete, walls of used brick, and a steel I-beam that spanned the room. The windows remained open allowing a breeze to circulate, and pigeons sometimes sat on the ledge. For me, these qualities contributed to the ambiance of an old dusty attic where one might find magical and mysterious things. Found objects - some identifiable, others not - were placed on glass shelves inserted into the I-beam and were not discovered unless the viewer engaged the room by walking up to it. A light box was built atop the I-beam to give presence to the objects in it. The glass shelf was left open on one end to allow feathers placed there to spill out from time to time to acknowledge the breeze.
The physical elements of this installation made the room an integral part of the experience by bringing attention to all of its characteristics.
MY PERSONAL PROCESS
For me, this piece was about the integrity of honoring the presence of space through acknowledgment of its distinctive characteristics. I saw it as a ‘collaboration’ between artist and space, my goal being that both were equally heard.
When I was invited to do a piece for the inaugural inSITE ’92 show, I was pleased to have been given a room in the old abandoned Brewery in San Diego.
I am a chronic collector of objects. I am particularly drawn to objects that are ambiguous, void of obvious meaning, yet weighted with vague associations of something not immediately recognized but sensed on some level.
At first, I would just go and sit in that room for periods of time. In this sensory ‘dialogue’, I realized that I wanted my work to become so integrated with this room that one might not immediately realize there was even a piece in it. I also wanted it to have an element of viewer engagement. In this case, the action of walking up to a mysterious glow of light that emanated from the old steel I-beam in the center of the room was required before one even realized there was anything to see at all. Once there, that ‘vague something’ sensed could potentially touch the viewers own memory for a more personal experience.
There wasn’t a single characteristic that escaped my experience of this room that I felt did not need to be acknowledged, even the breeze through the open windows and the pigeons that often sat on the ledge, like an old attic. That is what brought the feathers into the work. I wanted them included in this collection of ’stuff’ to give presence both to the breeze, as they blew around on the floor, and the pigeons.
It was my intention to work with the element of mystery and discovery because that is how this abandoned room made me feel. The choice of materials was natural for me, and my process was intuitive.
Curators: Mark Quint and Ernest Silva
Venue: Mission Brewery Plaza, San Diego
Organizer: Installation Gallery