After an unsuccessful second publishing of the online “invitation”, I succumbed to a mass email that would hopefully disseminate into the right inboxes. The first participant was Daphne Ruff, an artist whom I met while working at the Artist-in-Residence Program at the San Francisco city dump. Daphne left me the key to her home and allowed me to use her art studio as the location of my first installation in exchange for walking her dog. Having recently moved into her home in Oakland, CA, many of Daphne’s art supplies and other other belongings were still boxed up and yet-to-be-functional. Very early on in this installation, I learned to abandon one of my original expectations, which was, to navigate a space that was already arranged by the participant to suit their domestic lifestyle. To enter a space that had yet to be arranged seemed a little bit like working with a blank slate. However, after some time, I realized that for most people- having a temporary storage space within the home, was as realistic as having a family room, or a kitchen. For the purpose of this project, this studio would operate like a fractal in that the relationships therein also reflects the relationships and patterns within every other room in this particular home and that it also embodies similarities to the home as a whole.  

 

Installation Site #1: <i>Before</i>

Installation Site #1: Before

Although some expectations had to remain flexible in the process of each installation, the few unwavering factors that would serve as important structural tools for the whole project are the following: 1. photograph the original state of the room/ space (a) in full view, and (b) in great detail 2. do not cause any irreversible alterations 3. move everything back to it’s original position as accurately as possible A thorough photo-documentation of the installation site meant that I could re-arrange without hesitation as well as begin to focus on the details of the objects, light and space. Here are a few of the photographs of the detail shots of the original state of the installation site:  

 

 

P1010217

 

P1010240

 

 

 

 

 

As stated in the invitation for the project, objects in the room of each installation will move through a series of itterations depending on my formal and conceptual intuition. Just to reitteorrate, the ‘cordial invitation’ [and thesis] for the project states:

To Rearrange: Objects Must Move” is a conceptual art piece that explores interiors of strangers’ homes, the mixture of personal and collected interior items from the viewpoint of an outsider, and traditional formal and decorative responses to working within the confines of a limited set of decorative, personal and functional objects that innately carry emotional and cultural associations. The response of the artist is based on both intuitive formal decisions and on responses to social interplays between the items in the selected room of the installation.

In essence, “To Rearrange: Objects Must Move” re-assigns furniture and other domestic items from functional objects to sculptural materials.  The de-installation/ installation process is broken up into acts. Act I is the documentation of the original state, Act II is the slow de-installation of the room as objects and furniture are moved about and re-assigned as sculptural materials. Act III is composed of a series of iterative movements as I, the artist attempt to reach the climactic state of the objects’ potential as sculptural materials within a complete artistic installation. Act IV was not developed until the second home installation, and results in the acknowledgment that the original state of the room of the installation was in fact, more visually and conceptually discrete. In other words, the byproduct of daily life, personal style and functional limitations of the structure and layout of a domestic interior yields more artistic merit than an applied conscious installation by an outsider. Act V, however, does not admit defeat because it conveniently serves as a bridge between the performance aspect of the installation process and the final goal of the installation, which is, to move every piece back to it’s original state.  

My roommate Michelle Hyun helped me coin a title for an important turning point in the installation process, where it becomes obvious to me that the objects’ movements have been exhausted.  Their potential as sculptural materials have reached their climax. This juncture falls right before the inevitable journey of the objects’ positions back to their original state, and is known as the “Anti-Climax”. Here is an image of the “Anti-Climax” in Daphne Ruff’s home.

 

Installation Site #1: "The Anti-Climax"

Installation Site #1: "The Anti-Climax"

 After viewing the pre-installation documentation, I attempted to move the entirety of Daphne Ruff’s room, back to its original configuration. It was difficult to match all of the angles of the objects, etc. The final photograph of the room captured not only the slight differences between the original state and the returned state of the objects, but the differences in natural light based on the different times of day.

 

Before

Before

 

After

After

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Forward

August 20, 2009

 

This space serves as an online record for an ongoing art project performed/ authored/ directed by Bessie Kunath, entitled To Rearrange: Objects Must Move.

 

The project began in November of 2008 with an invitation for public involvement via Craig’s list posted as a general classified ad in the community section of the website. [See image below]

Bscreen capture of classified ad on craigslist.org

screen capture of classified ad on craigslist.org

 

The posting read:
“To Rearrange: Objects Must Move”
{This is a cordial invitation for an art installation}

This is an invitation to have an artist create a temporary installation right in the home of you, the “participant”, in a room of your choice (a storage room, garage, spare bedroom, the living room, a hallway, etc.). You, the “participant”, would be temporarily donating a piece of your home, in exchange for an active role in a conceptual art piece. The artist’s intention is to create an artistic response to the objects (furniture, decor, functional items, personal items, etc.) and to the interior space of the room. In composing the installation, the artist is limited to using the pre-existing objects in the selected room. The artist is not to bring any supplies to permanently alter the space or the objects therein (paint, tools, hardware,…). In the event of possible damage to the objects, walls or fixtures, the artist is willing to sign a liability agreement to reimburse, replace and/or repair for damages. This liability agreement will be presented to the participant prior to the installation, for adequate review. The room will be re-arranged for the duration of the installation and returned back to it’s original state. The artist will document the installation before and after with photography. Privacy being an issue, any personal items that compromise the anonymity of the participant, may be removed prior to the installation or can be declared and then incorporated accordingly. More details to follow.

Why, you ask?
The artist seeks the residential environment of an art enthusiast or equally open-minded person to facilitate the realization of this project. “To Rearrange: Objects Must Move” is a conceptual art piece that explores interiors of strangers’homes, the mixture of personal and collected interior items from the viewpoint of an outsider, and traditional formal and decorative responses to working within the confines of a limited set of decorative, personal and functional objects that innately carry emotional and cultural associations. The response of the artist is based on both intuitive formal decisions and on responses to social interplays between the items in the selected room of the installation.

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The outcome:
I would like to document the process of the installation througout. I will be taking “before” and “after” photos, which will be printed and mounted with a collection of other documentary photos of other participants’ homes. Accompanying the photography will be narrative about the experience of going into a stranger’s home and details of the physical process of “re-arranging”.

What’s in it for you, the “participant”:
Each “participant” (household) will receive a framed photographic print and a copy of the printed literature associated with the project. There is no monetary compensation, only karma and cool points! The act of entering a stranger’s home is an random as allowing a stranger to come in. I believe that San Francisco is an extremely open-minded and art enthusiastic community. I would only encourage people to participate if they wanted to assist the realization of an unconventional art project. The installation would be assembled and disassembled in the same day. The selected room for the installation would not be permanently altered in any way. I will also present a liability contract where I state, basically, that I would pay for any broken items.

Background of the artist:
I am a practicing visual artist in San Francisco. Conceptually, I work with environments, found objects and social interactions. I work in various sculptural mediums.

*Please only reply if you are serious, and interested. I am happy to meet all participants in person before an installation takes place. If you’ve gotten this far in the posting-Thank you! You are awesome!