trying to track

i am taking this class, "place and permanence in public art" our assignment last week was:

think of an art experience that raised your awareness of your own perceptions. describe both the art and your experience of it. what do you remember from the experience and what did you learn?

in trying to come up with an answer to that question. i started to remember an influential experience that no doubt has influenced where i am and what i am thinking 10 years later. i guess i didn't make the connection until now but...its kind of amazing how you have to go back to go forward sometimes. i thought back to senior year of highschool when Andrea Zittel came to do a residency at my arts highschool. my school was somewhat traditional in focus...drawing, painting, printmaking...but this woman came in and i had never encountered anyone like her or anyone who did work or raised the issues she did in her work. she was addressing issues of consumption and the perception of need in the built environment...mostly specifically domestic environments. she showed some of her work and it was "conceptual" stuff that blurred the line between art and industrial design like carpets with a large sofa sized rectangle where the sofa would be etc. being a minimalist, at the time she designed an outfit for the year...made a few copies and wore that same thing everyday. she explored this issue of individuality vs. collective identity and it seemed tied to place and spatial experience. she was designing and still does design compacted all encompassing living units she was also dealing a lot with portablility...which is what she worked with us on. we were all to design something that was a portable version of some activity/function in our lives. i designed a portable altar...anyway she was there for a week, there was an exhibition and she left and to be honest i never once thought about that experience besides putting the piece in my portfolio. i think that experience did totally change my perception of art and it has influenced my perception of myself as an artist. fast forward, low and behold, its 2004 i find myself in architecture school and i realize my conceptual interests in architecture are tied to many of the issues she dealt with in her work. here it is 10 years later and she's in the whitney biennial (again, i guess, b/c apparently she was in it that year too 1995). i am trying to navigate my path in architecture school where i have this dichotomous interest...which maybe isn't as dichotomous as i've been thinking. my practical desire to want to be a part of designing healthy affordable and transitional/public housing is very much tied to my social interests in the politics of place, and my conceptual interest in the connections between race, gender, class and space...then there's my fascination with ephemeral and temporary (in reality or spirit) public art and architecture (for example the blur building and lucy orta's stuff just to name a couple...)and how they can be used to amplify voices of the underserved, spur community participation, and help facilitate social change.

its nice to have little epiphanies like that, discover where something came from...now, i feel like that can serve as a reference point in charting my path in the next 10 years.


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