framing of a space that waits
currently on view at Franconia Sculpture Park
2022 until 2024
Installation & Performance
framing of a space that waits is a public sculpture and performance that imagines Park landscapes as hauntings from the future. Parks can be ambiguously understood between wilderness and re-wilding, past and preservation. Open land provides fantasies that offer relaxation and relief from the real and can create a future re-imagined. As a way to reconsider the origins of national parks and homestead land, this work is framed within a queer futurism that recognizes the indigenous and colonial present, where the history of free land and public space still has troubling consequences for class, gender, and race relations. This work aims to draw the focus of visitor’s socialized relationships to various forms of land use associated with Parks and homes, whether infrastructural, recreational, commercial, or sacred.
Inspired by bioluminescent organisms that proliferate in algae blooms, the night-glowing sculpture is a home turned upside down and partially collapsed. The sculpture turns the space into a kind of portal, created from common residential building materials and home furnishings that conflate indoor and outdoor spaces. Beside the house, there is concrete foundation the same dimension as the home with glowing cinder blocks and a few sparse home furnishings embedded in the concrete. The various aspects of the house and foundation reside between permanence and impermanence in relationship to livability and land.
framing of a space that waits addresses relationships between material facts and the mythologies that underlie land ownership and development. This work was developed to be inside a park landscape and contends with issues around land management and the impact of local histories on contemporary uses and ethics of public goods and the commons. The sculpture and performance are created to be in conversation with the future of what home means in a class and racially divided society, how “open space” addresses stability and security, and how these actively intersect with ecologies in the colonial present.
Park Lessons: framing of a space that waits
The following is an excerpt of a text associated with the exhibition that I have been working on for some time, co-written between myself and an Artificial Intelligence NLP neural network with a sentiment analysis algorithm. We got all sentimental together.
LESSON TEN: UPTURNT HOMES and the aTOPOS
I realized that my efforts to unify my nocturnal interpretations in the light of day were simply the expression of a yearning to incorporate the other city into a familiar order, to change it into a colony of the home, and thereby to subjugate and annihilate it. The insoluble question was solved by ceasing to be a question. I now glimpsed into the darkness a space in which alien luminescent shapes rolled around and metamorphosed, shapes that could not be converted to forms from our world and which had no meaning, even though they did contain some kind of justification, which seemed more powerful, authentic and incontrovertible than the justification of meaning: it was a right that was directly connate with being; it was independent and unaccountable to anything, and therefore in danger from nothing.
– Michal Ajvaz, Druhé město (The Other City) p163
i carry you here i carry you down your house carries you carries down you know under you know here you know your house could drown you i carry you here carry over you know your house could carry you here carry and keep you under carry over you know i keep you here your house could float under i carry you over i know it could drown you keep me here cuz it keeps me here i could drown you carry me here under i know i will drown i know under i will turn i will be here i will side down i carry you over i know i know you here
levels rise, swamps, sharks, your house could drown you might be killed. If you get taken, re-enter your house to escape. escape down and through you, we won’t die, but you won’t be able to enter or rest in the house, in or out. You will have to examine the house and houses around to get out. out and under. Try not to get taken, we tried. we didn’t want to live under the surface no. no more under. undertakings. undertow. These are global warnings. Taking is a rate that’s equal to at least 20 times the size of the island action of all the drowned properties. That’s a lot of warnings. drowned. That’s a lot of time to think about consequences. That’s a lot of time to move, but not a lot of time to make a new home.
But wait wait, after we bought the land that we were going to make into a new home – purchased property and we heard afterwards that it was a riverbank, we couldn’t believe it. then we read about the islands for the first time that were in the middle of the river next to our new old riverbank. When we read about them and learned that we could buy our own island, we took it as a sign that that we could turn our future around. around and around under between. We decided to make the best use of our property to gain control over the world and make money with the riverbank and islands. we had so many grand plans, but forgot the little things like living happily. Happy living. We found, found out that the islands were unclaimed territories so we didn’t have to purchase them, even though there were people trying to sell. it was a scam. The islands had a special category of land use, within the spires of freedom and mass manipulation not taken advantage of, because really, who wants to live on an island in the middle of a river that severely overflows from time to time. We realized this would be the perfect happy home. Happy times. We gave up taking over the world, moved to the island, cooked on another one, had sleep and sex on another. and regularly watched the riverbank from the shore. Other people over there. Over under we still have no home even if we own a riverbank. Islands are still very small. But it’s better this way. Nobody will take our non-home away. down and under, we risk death for stability. we didn’t take over the world, but still consider it sometimes as a way to escape. We are happy. For now.
There was no home. There was no door into home.
or, There was not no one, just the door.
It was a tornado not a flood after all that brought us to our knees, I saw it but still don’t know what it was all about. And still don’t really believe it. There was a lot of black smoke, whole buildings were on fire, people jumped out the windows. The whole thing was crazy, it was really really crazy. So many people went crazy. That man got a call from his wife on his mobile phone when the wind knocked their house over. She called him on the phone and said ‘have you seen the house? Have you seen the house?”
This is a violent reminder of the responsibility that comes with the big-time grind, not to mention taking over the world, even in the little ways. The first sign of trouble was when the houses passed through town. It started late at night. They were stuck on the side of Highway because an out-of-control SUV had turned left into a gravel road. As the driver advanced the truck was moving towards town, and the traffic lights danced with each car that crossed an intersection. An unusual red truck rammed into the blue-black truck in front of the first vehicle that carried the houses. The vehicle on the right went through the end of the gravel and fell into the hole in the earth. right next to the traveling house. it could no longer be carried or travel. It stayed where it was, in the hole. It’s still there. upturnt
These are all reminders of the systemic underperformance of the dispossessed within the city, as well as a reminder of the underrepresentation of missing homes in specific neighborhoods. By focusing on finding systemic causes like these listed above, there could be more effective decisions that could have a major impact on Acknowledgements of the passive, estrangled, and the gullible. There is no grandiose plan to do anything any of us could make sense of in such a complicated complex – used, exploited and abused. The answer: stay home, find home, be without home, and don’t suck a heartless jerk because when they’re exposed to this world we all find out that they’re not perfect, they’re not learning they’re still in some embryonic stages and do stupid things. But I guess I’m allergic to these who isn’t? I might be one of them. If I could afford it, I would give them all to the authorities – whoever they are – and force people to buy with money. You know exactly what I’m saying. You always do. Thank you for staying and the love.
The residency, performance, and construction of this project was supported primarily by a Franconia Residency Fellowship, and additional funding was provided by a Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant. All the staff at Franconia were crucial for particular support in building the physical aspects of this work. Some building contributions and support from other artists in residence are deeply appreciated including Alex Bustamente, Frederick Wright Jones, and Kaitlin West. And a very special thanks and appreciation to Andrew McNeely who contributed to many inspirations and discussions about core concepts for this work during its research and development.
Photo Credit : Most images credit to me, the artist. Kaitlin West took a couple, including the glow in the dark one.