So it goes...

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            MFA Thesis Installation

The following represents the culmination of my MFA investigations.  The title of this show was "Sense Perception."  You are looking at an overview of the show.  I executed an installation that transformed the whole space into a work of art rather than the traditional gallery format of segmented works of art displayed on the walls or pedestals.


The space is a section of a huge warehouse.  The section is 60 feet wide by 300 feet long.  I established the hall through use of controlled lighting and a backdrop curtain.

Single Cone

The shows title was "Sense Perception" This is a close-up of the suspended cones that flank the hall.  It is unfired bone-dry hand built clay cone about 2 feet in diameter that I filled with water.  I lined the interior of the cone with a wax that prevents the water from destroying the cone.   Below the cone is powdered kaolin (clay).   Notice the feet prints of the show participants.

Left Side

This is a closer shot of the left side of the hall.  Tiny orbs are suspended below the clay cones and water drips down a monofilament onto the orbs.  A pile of powdered clay is placed below each cone/orb structure.  There is a video projection in the background that is a time-lapse version of what is happening to all the cone/orb combinations.  As water runs down the monofilament it erodes the orb causing the coloration that you see on the ground.

Orb Close Up

This is a macro shot of a single orb.  It looks organic but in reality it is clay mixed with Red Iron Oxide (rust) and coated in a shell of plaster.  You can see the beads of water traveling down the monofilament.  The water cracks the plaster shell and causes the orb to bleed and deposit the rust on the ground.  I thought that this was a successful transformation of material.  It looks so organic and living and painful, but in reality it is some of the most common minerals found.

Speakers and Cone

In addition to the visual I used auditory components in the Installation.  I made a recording using piezo microphones (a.k.a. contact mic.) of water hitting a metal plate.  The relevant thing about piezo microphones is that they are essentially ceramics.  Piezo crystals go both ways, they can take electrical currents and transform them into physical vibrations (speakers), or they can take physical vibrations and transform them into electrical currents (microphones).  For all you Rockstars, piezo crystals are used in your guitar pickups and solid-state amps.


You probably noticed this object in the earlier shots.  It is a foot wide by 6 feet long trough filled with casting slip.  Participants were invited to put their hand in the slip and experience the material through touch.  Casting slip is used by industry for mass production of ceramics.  Plates, bowls, cups, sinks, toilets, and anything clean and shiny and white were made with this stuff.  We come into contact with it every day and I thought it would be beneficial to experience it in essence.

The installation on the whole was a success.  I was attempting to immerse the viewer in the environment by engaging all their senses.  Sight, touch, sound, and the smell of wet clay brought the willing participant into this space.  I chose a hall for its processional format and the dim lighting added to the religious undertones of the installation.

Modified: 04/01/08 10:45:00