For In(n) and Out of Nowhere I invited a group of local and regional artists to construct site-specific installations in rooms at Cougarland Motel that responded to one singular question: how does the space perform? The artists were asked to transform the room, while considering the motel rooms many potential contexts. There were some challenges, however: artists were not allowed to remove any contents from the room, and they were prohibited from using the room as a traditional gallery space. They would have from check-in time to 7pm to install, and the room would be returned to its original state by check-out time the following day.
This project brought together artists and architects from the Palouse region of Washington state as well as the Seattle area. Their diverse installations gave form to such themes as travel, transience, isolation, desire, and the boundary between public and private space, among other ideas.
In(n) and Out of Nowhere was inspired by Leon Johnson's MotelHaus project in Eugene, Oregon. It would not have been possible without the support of the Visual Performing and Literary Arts Committee and The Forst Endowed Fine Arts Visiting Artist Program.
Sound installations not pictured: Randall Teal, Dido and Aeneas, and Perri Lynch, Topio Oneiro: The Place of Dreams.
Transience strips away the accumulation of domestic life, reduces humans to the least common denominators of living, of making comfort. Basic animal functions of eating and sleeping will be depicted in this installation, using reference to the higher human functions of book learning and cataloging information. Life on the move enhances the tension between these existences of survival and contemplation.
For this project I have constructed 400 small houses made from colorfully labeled, non-corrugated cardboard, which will be sprawled out (suburbia style) across the motel room.
The Itinerant Headquarters of the Bureau of Public Recollection is a forum for the systematic classification of cerebral surplus. In an effort to illustrate the fleeting and transitory nature of the individual, we assimilate anonymous anamnesis into a public sphere. We are dedicated to heightening awareness of the layered human presence and strive to impart a new consciousness to visitors of the Bureau. Our agency depends upon donations of memory and likeness, so we invite you to visit our headquarters and become an integral part of this valuable public archive.
In Waiting Room, a colorful globe twirls blue, green, and pink hues on the motel room's walls while a variation of familiar romantic comedy film music, though distorted and uncomfortably slow, drones quietly in the background. On the television, a film is paused on the words ‘The End’, the last frame of Meg Ryan’s Sleepless in Seattle. A white dress hangs in the closet. Waiting Room is a meditation on expectation and longing, evoking a sense of purgatory (as the motel room often does).
1. to take the contents out of something
2. to reveal what is hidden, buried, or encoded within something
The motel room is literally the unpacking place for the traveler: baggage thrown open, emptied on the bed. What is divulged by the contents of our suitcases? Each item unloaded carries stories of an individual’s preferences and values. Also embedded within each item though, is the story of a place.
Unpacking Place intimates the landscape narratives that are embedded in everyday objects and events, and simultaneously involves each of us as creators, speakers, and spectators of these stories. The installation orients and disorients, connects and disconnects us to our given locale. It reveals ways in which we carry and consume landscapes, and concurrently how landscapes carry and consume us.
View video documentation of this room here: here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNqS8c_Gzj0
In his 1961 book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America, theorist Daniel Boorstin proposed that the average American regards the media’s simulation or representation of an event as more “real” then the event itself:
“Until recently we have been justified in believing Abraham Lincoln’s familiar maxim: ‘You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.’ This has been the foundation-belief of American democracy. Lincoln’s appealing slogan rests on two elementary assumptions. First, that there is a clear and visible distinction between sham and reality, between the lies a demagogue would have us believe and the truths which are there all the time. Second, that the people tend to prefer reality to sham, that if offered a choice between a simple truth and a contrived image, they will prefer the truth.
Neither of these any longer fits the facts. Not because people are less intelligent or more dishonest. Rather because great unforeseen changes--the great forward strides of American civilization--have blurred the edges of reality. The pseudo-events which flood our consciousness are neither true nor false in the old familiar senses. The very same advances which have made them possible have also made the images--however planned, contrived, or sorted--more vivid, more attractive, more impressive, and more persuasive than reality itself.”
The work, More For You, is a site-specific multi-channel video installation created for In(n) and Out of Nowhere. It includes five video representations of a banal site-specific “reality” intermittingly overlaid with the text “MORE FOR YOU.”
My work is currently installation-based and demonstrates my desire to liberate commonplace materials from context. In this investigation I feel it is important to emphasize that I approach each piece without a pre-conceived notion of what the final outcome will be. Art happens via a respect for the materials, the space, and their inherent natures. These installations vary in size; some interact with the volume of a room while others within the volume of a coffee cup. These places are treated very much as one would regard the edges of a piece of paper when doing a drawing. Within the site the materials then act as my drawing tool and develop into a sculptural, three-dimensional form. Once this liberation is achieved the materials transform and accentuate something inherent. Audience is central to this work. It is my hope that the viewer will be wooed by the liberation of the experience and will carry this new perspective into their daily life’ that my work will cause an existential chain of events that not only questions the “reality” of these objects and space but the “reality” of the objects and spaces that exist within the viewer’s life.
At check-in, I will install an inflatable house-structure atop one of the double beds in the motel room. I will turn on the television set and enter the inflated house. I will occupy the house for the duration of the project, engaging in various activities appropriate to motel residency (eating, drinking, watching television, sleeping). In this way, I will literalize and investigate the promise of a good motel being a “home away from home.”
Rooms 366, 367
Where does the line exist between personal space and the country’s security? What role does surveillance play in our daily lives, and is there a place for privacy? My piece for In(n) and out of Nowhere, explores just this question. In one room the remnants of a few people on a trip: kids toys, maps, food and clothes, the presence of a family on the move in a place, which for 24 hours becomes “home”. In another room a single male’s presence exists in the form of fast food wrappers, suits on hangers, a computer and a surveillance cam on the television. As the viewer moves between the rooms they experience both being a physical voyeur in the personal space of a small family and a virtual voyeur of that space through the camera and the eyes of another individual in the second room.