Explaining art at a cocktail party

Last night I went to a lecture by minimalist sculptor Susan York at the College of Santa Fe. York makes large-scale sculptural installations out of graphite. She is very interested in the energetic state created by engaging with her work.

At one point she had us close our eyes and then open them abruptly. She drew our attention to the emptiness in our minds at the initial moment of visual perception. She likened this to the vision of an infant. She later stated that drawing attention to this mental void was one of her objectives in her work.

For months I have been wanting to develop a series of easy scores that people I can do with people  at cocktail parties; scores that provide the experience of engaging with my work.

I thought I would give it a go today:

#1: One-to-One Mapping
1. Remember you have a body that moves, feels, remembers.
2. Continue to remember this while looking at me
3. Run your eyes along the contour of my body while lightly running your fingers over your body in a parallel position.
Statement: This comparison of biological expressions is similar to how I work with the forms of plants and animals.

#2: Shaped by need
1. Reach for your glass of wine or that grape on the table, but pause before you get there.
2. Notice the shape of your rib cage, scapula, arm, hand.
Statement: The search for sustenance defines the morphology of biological organisms. In particular, the way plants occupy space is the product of their genetics, their search for sustenance, and the physical limitations of their physical environment.

#3: You as me
1. Relax your body and look at me
2. Repeat in your head “I am looking at myself”
3. As you repeat this, notice the response in your body and notice the energy between us.
4. I will do the same thing
Statement: For centuries, mystics and scholars have reminded us that self-identification on the organism level creates social disconnection and cuts of the organism from their environment. When I see you as me, I begin to move towards operating on the level of life-identification. This awareness is at the heart of the Somatic Natural History Archive.

Karl Cronin, Founder
Dry Earth
2009 MR AIR (2nd year)

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