Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sites: the expanded label & locative media based cultural tourism

For this installation,  I looked at the label as a site for intervention. I expanded the "label" to fill one entire wall, displayed as a grid of text nailed to the white gallery wall. Inspired by my subject matter and the historic Protestant churches on the private New Haven "Commons", it was for me an allusion to Martin Luther's decision to nail his manifesto to the church door.

People loved this label and I wondered how many would have read this history were it presented in a different context?

VIEW LABEL TEXT HERE (2016 - for Clark University reinstallation)

My installation also included two videos running in a loop. One was a GPS video tour that was installed on a monitor and could be watched while on a Schwinn Exercise Bike installed in the gallery. Postwar abstraction for me includes relating Urban Renewal to the 1965 introduction of the first in-home exercise bikes designed to help you work hard, go no where, and see no one.

My video project asks: how can the new possibilities of GPS-based cultural tourism be used critically by artists? My project is a prototype for historically grounded, artist-driven conversations about, in this case, religious tolerance in America.

Since the 1990s, we have been at a turning point in how to talk about location, just as we were more than a century ago talking about time.  

Locative media is a new technology of the self. 

Locative media can become nothing more than the "stop and pop" digital cemetery of the twenty-first century. Or it can envision a new theater mediating the possibility of history and place.

Studio Austin Alchemy

Studio Austin Alchemy

In a changing knowledge economy, Nancy Austin established Studio Austin Alchemy in 2008 to collaborate on experimental art projects that bridge place-based historical scholarship, an expanded notion of cultural tourism as an opportunity for public discourse, site-specific installations, and the critical exploration of new location-based applications and technology.

Her first intervention was a collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist Caroline Woolard for the juried show, Cryptic Providence. Footnotes (2008) was a site-specific tea-party installation, performing the entwined and buried histories of America’s first public sculpture critic and the founder of RISD, Helen Rowe Metcalf.  Austin exhibited an iteration of this project at the RISD, Museum of Art in 2009.

As Malraux came up with his idea of a museum without walls, so must scholars today continually reimagine where they can critically engage new publics. Austin’s second intervention began last winter with Off-Road (2009-present). Her installation on historic synagogues, urban renewal, and religious tolerance in America was on view December 2009 through January 2010 in New Haven, CT as part of a group exhibition organized by Cynthia Beth Rubin. Austin has applied for a grant to bring this project more fully into the public domain.

From 2010 on, all of Nancy Austin’s scholarship will be communicated across a range of knowledge platforms, exploring how and where scholarship and new media can partner. Studio Austin Alchemy is a contemporary intervention in scholarship, art, and public history activism.

Monday, July 12, 2010