Anxious Spaces: Installation as Catalyst II
Clocktower presents the second annual group exhibition Anxious Spaces: Installation as Catalyst, featuring a selection of artists whose work incorporates dynamic and time-based elements, ranging from robotic interactivity to performance events to social intervention. Knockdown Center's cathedral-like complex, with its breathtaking expanse, mysterious sub-chambers, surprise annexes, and hidden pockets is a dream environment for site-specific and installation art. Taken together, the architecture and the artworks transform the space into a surreal bazaar of curiosities for the adventurous.
Anxious Spaces exhibits and installations by Will Ryman, Molly Lowe, Tim Bruniges, Aurora Halal, Lucas Abela, Prince Rama, Audra Wolowiec, and Ben Mortimer are on view at Knockdown Center through July 26, 2015 Saturdays and Sundays, from 2 to 6pm. Or by appointment.
More on the installations:
Will Ryman presents Cadillac, a life-sized, 1958 Eldorado Biarritz convertible fabricated entirely out of resin and Bounty paper towels. Measuring 82” x 224” x 78”, Cadillac juxtaposes two iconic American brands: one, a post-war symbol of luxury, class, and power and the other, a mass-produced disposable product, revered for its convenience.
Molly Lowe installs Growth, a sound/video piece and garden environment that draws the viewer out of the sun and into the darkness. It is a hypnotizing, heightened space where external and internal worlds fester in limbo. Here, viewers are invited to sit on a mysterious patch of grass and watch the miraculous minutiae of plant life grow, magnified on screen in a most sinister alien way.
Formed by a set of portable stand-alone single beat organic-analogue drum machines, Lucas Abela's installation, IV:BPM, is made from medical intravenous drip equipment pedals, made possible with support from Death By Audio pedals, and wired to audio gear to generate overlapping complex surround polyrhythms. The public engages with the composition in three ways: by adjusting the IV nozzles to change the BPM, manipulating audio effects to augment the audio, and shifting the IV stands within the space to alter the mix. These participatory elements turn the installation into an instrument/drum machine orchestra, performed en mass by attendees.
Tim Bruniges presents Normalize (the pull of the earth), a site-responsive sound and sculptural installation engaging material tension and acoustic resonance within the architecture of Knockdown Center. Through the use of non-traditional sound (re)production forms, this installation explores the agency of sound as an atemporal and regenerative, autonomous entity. The installation is developed through an artist-in-residence collaboration with SIGNAL, Brooklyn.
Aurora Halal's installation, Where Exactly I Am, takes over a subterranean annex at Knockdown Center, transforming the space into a veritable dream-world. Darkly lit, in a surreal, hallucinatory way, a floating video is projected onto transparent screens, cloaking the mysterious cave in holographic effects. The video projection is a suspended moment in time, a kind of cubist video painting, in which the subject is filmed and shown from every angle. As visitors to the space immerse themselves in the room, they discover the film to be a motion study of a human figure, exploring the limitless possibilities of its form. The piece includes a 4-channel audio composition of panning, paranoid soundscapes created with Daniel Martin-McCormick.
In an off-site ruin at the Maspeth space, Prince Rama present Fountain of Youth 11:11, a mythical water installation and schizo-temporal paradise. Inspired by the Tarkovskian image of beauty and immortality, the crumbling brick walls of the roofless structure are set against the bizarrely decadent, Edenic environment, echoing the fabled chamber in Tarkovsky's Stalker where innermost desires are fulfilled. The mysterious elixir of Prince Rama's fountain of youth flows from discarded cans of Monster Energy, while two stone sculptures of Hebe, the Greek goddess of youth, flank the entrance, confronting passersby with an elusive invitation to partake in the subaqueous magic.
Audra Wolowiec installs Concrete Sound, a modular series of cast concrete forms based on the geometric shapes of sound foam used in recording studios and anechoic chambers. Normally used to control sound, the shift in materiality does the opposite, refusing the intended function to instead create unsettling, muted landscapes. The work commissioned for Knockdown Center is a wall relief of a single panel that accumulates to form a large grid. While the work is directly related to sound, the strong geometric lines also call upon grids found in textiles, architecture, and industrial landscapes.
Ben Mortimer's One and the Other is an energetic play between chaotic violence and highly controlled structure. A wall of shattered glass evokes a shaft of light, slashing down from the ceiling across the room, while splintered wood erupts from the floor to capture it. Seemingly dangerous and unstable, the fractured elements are arranged according to a highly stable, intrinsic logic. Common building materials, often used in sculpture and installation art and typically concealed to hide their utilitarian baseness, here are celebrated for their unique properties.