Rachel Garrard performing Geometric Void, in which she mapped the sacred geometry of a human form on a perspex window over the course of the six hour exhibition
Art Observed was on site July 24th for “Field of Dreams”, a D.I.Y. world’s fair of music and art, presented by Celebrate Brooklyn!, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, and Andres Levin. The much-anticipated event took place at the Prospect Park band shell in Brooklyn, running from 4PM to 10PM. Music was a constant throughout the day, featuring a wide range of established and emerging acts alike, including standouts Pablo Picasso (who performed a second set, to great effect, at the Littlefield after-party), Les Nubians, and Luis Guzman.
Approximately forty installations were constructed in a semi-circle on the grassy knoll across from the band shell, representing both individual artists and creative collaborations. In a nod to the synthesis of visual arts and musical performance which was the order of the day, Ray Smith created two massive canvases to adorn each side of the band shell stage. Art Observed was able to speak with a few of the participating artists, who offered comments on their own work and its place in the show.
Performers with a friend at “Power Animal Pavillion,” which featured Power Animal wrestling.
more story, images and video after the jump…
“K.R.A.P.,” the interactive dream analysis booth created by Diane Stein-Barcelowsky, Brina Thurston, and Alyssa Taylor Wendt, consisted of a bed set up on the rear lawn, surrounded closely by a tent. Visitors were invited to recline on the mattress and to relay a recent dream, which was analyzed verbally, as a second artist created a simultaneous visual interpretation. Examples of these pictorial interpretations were then hung on a clothesline strung around the tent. As one artist explained, “This girl had a dream about doing laundry by herself on her 30th birthday…she interpreted it as a very lonely dream, and I told her that it was actually very positive. It represents a triad in her life; 3-0 adds up to 3.” When asked why she decided to participate in the fair, the artist explained that she felt it would be a benefit to the crowd. “I’m bringing my weird talent for dream interpretation to the public.” The booth certainly ascribed to the “interactive” feature of the fair, in its capacity to promote cooperation between artist and visitor.
AO also met with James Filsaine, Ari Richter’s assistant. Richter is a professor of art who performed an Intro to Art “marathon lecture” at the site. The lecture ran for six hours (the duration of the event), and covered everything from cave painting through modern art. It was not a “how-to” lecture, but rather, a comprehensive study on the history of art. While Richter was giving this speech inside the tent, Filsaine supervised a group project outside. Guests were invited to pick up a paintbrush and create their own work on the outside of the tent. Over the course of the afternoon, the surface gradually became populated with figural representations, abstract shapes, and text. The performative quality of Richter’s piece was heightened by the physically taxing nature of the task, particularly given the extraordinary heat in the park yesterday afternoon. Richter, who teachers at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, prepared for the event by reviewing his notes, which “condensed a semester-long curriculum into a six-hour lecture.”
Scenes from the day
Benjamin Kane’s pavilion, “The Buenaventura River Hydraulic Watershed Model,” was described by the artist as a “miniature national park, containing an imaginary water system.” Kane worked on the project with his friend Paige Meade, who is a painter. Kane was inspired to create the model while conducting research in the archives of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, where he discovered a compelling early error in American cartography. The Buenaventura River was a fictional American river, “the Missisippi of the West,” thought to have existed after early explorers charted two waterways that they presumed were connected, giving rise to the mythical Buenaventura. The mistake went so far as to place the Buenaventura on a few old maps.
Maude Standish and Margot Warner created “In Memory of…,” a miniature cemetery in which humans, animals, and inanimate objects could be laid to rest side by side. The concept arose as a result of the women’s shared appreciation of novel The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh. “The idea was to create a modern cemetery where different loved ones could come in different shapes and forms.” The exhibit is open and inviting, possessing the same idiosyncratic warmth as the DIY fair which hosted it. In a broader sense, the two artists sought to create a temporary venue for everything which deserves commemoration – “from the person you fell in love with, to a hamster who died in fourth grade, to a camera your dad dropped in the pool.”
Rachel Garrard, a twenty-five year old artist from London, debuted a six-hour long performance piece in which she traced geometric shapes onto a 3/4 inch transparent perspex window. She began with eleven basic divisions, which relate to the classical cannon of bodily proportions. These form a grid, upon which she began tracing the “Merkaba,” an ancient spiritual diagram. Following the initial interposition of shapes, the designs became increasingly divided and fractioned over the course of the performance. Garrard’s goal was to “keep going until the whole space was black.” Because the glass was transparent, it resembled empty space so that Garrard looked as though she was tracing “her own energy field.”
AO: Tell us about your piece.
Rachel Garrard: The performance is inspired by sacred geometry and the golden ratio. The human body contains in it’s biometrics all the important geometric ratios, it reflects the primary seed pattern for all universal life. The performance itself, by using the human form’s proportional ratios as the starting point is trying to re-enact the division of unity or division of the whole into it’s building blocks, and as such demonstrate the universal laws of proportion it was created by, this in tern can reference the link to that we all have to the rest of the universe.
AO: What shapes were you drawing?
Rachel Garrard: It started off with drawing the initial eleven divisions to form a grid, using these as guides to develop more intricate patterns stemming from the proportional relationships. The first from I drew from this is was the “Merkaba” which is an ancient diagram of the spiritual bodies. Then continuing by fractioning these lines I create a Torus energy field around the whole body, forming denser and denser configurations until hopefully all the lines combine and create the illusion of a solid.
AO: What is the relevance of the Perspex?
Rachel Garrard: The Perspex is used as a transparent surface, so that it kind of looks like I am drawing onto the space around me, mapping out my own division. The screen starts off being transparent, then through the process becomes back. The idea for this is that by mapping out my own physiology and creation, I also make apparent the process of disintegration. I disappear behind the pattern, return back to the void.
AO: How did you come up with this idea?
Rachel Garrard: It’s a continuation of other work that I’ve been doing. Recently I have been researching geometry and symbols and also the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
AO: How did you plan the timing for you performance?
Rachel Garrard: Well I didn’t really, I just started off with a blank screen and planned to keep going until the whole thing goes black, I would probably like to keep going for longer if I could.
T-shirt made at the fair
Bryan Baxter participated as a representative of his company, Sixth Dimension, which works in multimedia production. At present, Baxter and his crew are involved in promotional work for the Artsee Group and are currently funding a series of arts vehicles, known as “Mr. Artsee.” The main vehicle will not be ready until mid-August, when it will feature a “modern arts laboratory, complete with a sound stage and laser lights show.” In lieu of the complete vehicle, Baxter’s group performed live silk screening and painting at the fair.
The Artsee crew takes a lunch break
Jason Martin, who gave his interview dressed as a wolf, presented “Power Animal Wrestling.” Martin’s work is based on drawings he made throughout his early lifetime. It wasn’t until recently that he revealed these “secret drawings, deciding to “out” his characters. Martin considers the piece to be a work in progress, and each performance is an “improvement upon the last.” According to Martin, “It’s very vulnerable, and it still freaks me out.” And Martin is quick to clarify that, while the drawings and creatures were his idea, he does not consider them to be technically his creation. “I felt like the drawings were coming from outside of me. And I was freaked out by all of the sexual, gender, and mythological ramifications that they had, which I wasn’t able to clarify when I was a young child.” At the fair on Saturday, Martin and a group of fellow animals – cats and dogs – wrestled on the ground in the shade. Martin has found many ways to recreate these animal drawings: he writes, performs music, and acts. He describes his influences as ranging from Hanna-Barbara Cartoons to witchcraft to Kenneth Anger. His exhibit is one of many at the fair exploring childhood and the memories associated with formative moments in an individual’s life.
Child playing at Suter/Pane’s exhibit
Child playing at Suter/Pane’s exhibit
Valerie Suter and Kate Pane also addressed childhood and the separation that adults experience with their past in their exhibit “Can We Become My Little Ponies.” “We both remembered how desperately we wanted these things in childhood that we thought would come into our lives,” they said. “We thought that they represented something we would eventually be involved in. [But] when you grow up, it’s not that way. So it’s trying to get back to that childhood feeling.” Suter and Pane were childhood friends who have grown to share what they consider to be “aesthetic influences.” While their exhibit on Saturday was extremely popular among children, the exhibit was intended to serve both children and adults.
Current Flux Factory resident Matthew-Robin Nye constructed an illuminated pedestal entitled “Be The Best Person in the World for 25 Cents,” in which guests were invited to stand on a platform and be praised by groupies clad in updated Commedia dell’Arte costume. The concept and material minimalism of the piece cleverly referenced both Marina Abramoviç’s recent show at the Museum of Modern Art, and the host collective’s contribution to this years “Greater New York” exhibition as P.S.1. “The idea is that someone gives you 25 cents and stands on the podium until they or I exhaust myself,” said Nye. While Nye strove to make each person “uniquely” special, he often had to rely on a few stock phrases to keep the performance going. An example he offered to AO was, “Can you pass a message on to God for me? Because, being so fantastic, you’re obviously his BFF.” People were also invited to glorify themselves – to grab the megaphone and engage in sanctioned self-promotion– but few did. They were certainly not the only ones who were a little nervous; Nye clarified that he is generally an installation artist, not a performance artist, but that the nature of the event and the spirit of the day lent themselves to working creatively outside of one’s habitual medium.
Artist collective Daddy (and Brucennial Alumns) created “Daddy Beach: What a Feeling!” for the event, intended as “a platform for the underdeveloped art and music lover to pump it up with Daddy’s home-made, state-of-the-art weightlifting equipment. Each piece is carefully handcrafted from concrete and rebar in the shape of your favorite cleaning and household products.”
Animal head crowned with flowers
Despite the potentially limitless range of possibilities inherent in such an inclusive, unrestricted curatorial approach, many of the pieces at Field of Dreams exhibit strongly related thematic content. The park itself participated actively as both a venue and subject of interpretation in many of the works on view. In addition to the “Buenaventura Watershed Hydraulic Model” and “In Memory of…,” Maria Lokke’s “Into the Wild,” consisting of three taxidermied animal heads decorated with silk flowers and glass marbles, cleverly juxtaposing biological decay and immortality to an alarmingly beautiful effect.
Bruce High Quality – “President of the United States”
For their part, The Bruce High Quality Foundation presented an automated podium bearing a quasi-presidential seal, from which a video projection of the Bruce icon gave a re-imagined state-of-the-union address. In a computer-generated voice, complete with closed-captioning, the collective delivered a characteristically satirical address synthesizing a wide range of popular and obscure commentary.
Later on in the night a van with 2 DJ’s and a band drew a crowd
Though the event may not have resolved the historically problematic relationship between the visual arts and live musical performance (when presented simultaneously), the quality of the work and the sincerity of the endeavor was evident.
- O. Loving and S. Humphrey
Celebrate Brooklyn! Presents Field of Dreams [Prospect Park]
Event Detail | Littlefield NYC [Littlefield]
7/24/2010 – Field of Dreams (Un Mondo Nuevo) – Performing Arts Calendar [BRIC Arts]