ideas and interests
This work stems from the idea of the picturesque. I am interested in the formation of the beautiful and the sublime in the quotidian landscape. The project is a collection of picture postcards that employ a suspended tree limb in the foreground as a compositional framing device. This visual language offers the viewer a vantage point and often evokes an image of the place as a destination for adventure, nostalgia, escape or enterprise. In this series of 100 postcards, the actual point of interest has been painted over, leaving the lure of the place open.
Work in progress.
Such a classic excuse it should be bronze by now. Modest Mouse.
A bronze reproduction of a mass-produced German shepherd figurine. Measures 8 inches long x 3.5 inches wide x 2.5 inches tall.
Paper mache and brushed aluminum spray paint, winter 2011. Exploring the notion of recreational and recreation.
1: a festive social affair
2: a bursting of a container (as a tire) by pressure of the contents on a weak spot
3: an uncontrolled eruption of an oil or gas well
4: an easy or one-sided victory
5: a valley or depression created by the wind in areas of shifting sand or of light cultivated soil
6: a series of hand-painted blowout signs on 22 x 36″ watercolor paper
Believing that it is always best to study some special group, I have, after deliberation, taken up domestic pigeons.
In the last few years, I have noticed an increase in the numbers of pied, splash and almost pure white pigeons in Boston. White feral rock pigeons (genus Columba livia domestica) are rare occurrences in urban environments, and particularly in colder regions; the Cornell Lab of Ornithology suggests that having a different color makes a pigeon the “odd one out”: easier prey for its natural predators. Based on my childhood experience keeping a small pigeon loft with my older brother in Manila, the pigeons I have observed feature neither the phenotype of white homing pigeons nor the physiognomy of some variations of domesticated pigeons bred for white plumage. Last couple of years, I started logging basic field notes and documenting sightings in Boston’s parks and streets, hoping to substantiate my passing observations with empirical study. In addition, I befriended a veteran pigeon feeder with whom I exchange sighting stories and swap theories for this phenomenon.
As I was doing my preliminary research, I discovered that the white pigeons of Seville, Spain were a gift from the Philippines, for the 1929 World Exposition. I am currently researching the origin and narrative of these pigeons.
Repackaged and reinserted Halloween product, 2010
Field Practice is a transdisciplinary project that explores the social role of art and design, examines new forms and strategies in the creative field, and produces work in the public space and interest.
[2007- on going]
This project commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as a dual-purpose text. Not only did this short speech serve to consecrate a battlefield as the “final resting place for those who died,” but it also reminded the nation of the “great task remaining.” By repairing the political, geographical, and moral division, Lincoln asserted, “the dead shall not have died in vain”.
This piece translates the famous opening lines from this speech into American Morse code, signifying a telegraphic communication echoing from the past. The series of dots and dashes is painted on yellow caution tape, which cordons off a space, consecrating it and delineating it from the ordinary perimeters of life. Fall 2006-
Ink on caution tape, 3 ” x 300′ each roll
Many thanks to Maria Santos and Jim Delaney for installing LA and St. Louis.
In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time, furthers Santos’ examination of specific sites and their cultural significance. Reminiscent of an institutional setting, the clocks are set to the capital cities governed by dictators on Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International’s top five worst offenders lists. Through the medium of time, Santos places the viewer in direct connection with disparate, and often forgotten, locations around the world. Winter 2010
In A Minute of Silence is an interpretation of the view from a fatally wounded soldier as he falls to the ground. Filmed at the site of the Battle of Lexington Green, the fall has been slowed and looped eight times, once for each minuteman killed during the battle. Santos is interested in the sentiments of discontent and disloyalty that reverberated along with optimism and hope during this significant moment in American history and how it has affected the nation’s cultural identity. Winter 2010
The Storefront Library is a temporary public library for a community in Boston which has been without its own branch of the Boston Public Library since it was closed and demolished as part of the Central Artery construction in 1956. DMU sees this project as a way to increase the visibility of a distinctive Boston neighborhood and help sustain the vitality of a community which culturally serves not only Boston but the greater New England area. Fall 2009
The Department of Micro-Urbanism [Marrikka Trotter and Jonathan Santos, co-founders] is an art and design initiative aimed at mapping terrains, discovering relationships, addressing issues and exploiting opportunities at the pedestrian urban scale. The initiative’s mission is to expand the space of possibility for agonistic public action, interaction and involvement by initiating, supporting, and realizing creative interventions in the everyday landscape and by increasing public understanding and appreciation of the historical and contemporary political, infrastructural, and socio-economic flows and forces which shape this common terrain. While participants for each project vary, the Department of Micro-Urbanism draws from a loose network of artists, designers, architects, community leaders and individuals who share the desire to reinforce public space, rethink and extend the possible, and engender and engage in alternative tactics of practice.
Stacked Rifles Historical Marker references Peekskill’s military and geographical history.
“Peekskill was a significant Revolutionary War military base, and at times used as a headquarters for American army officers in the Hudson Valley from 1776 through 1782. The area was important for its hilly defensive location, its views of the bay, and its industries applied to military purposes. The overlook locale, now identified as “Fort Hill” in Peekskill, was the site of five large barracks buildings and two redoubts. An average of 1,000 Continental soldiers were stationed at Camp Peekskill on and off through the eight years of war”.
The piece takes its abstract form from stacked rifles; this familiar configuration symbolizes soldiers at ease. The piece is painted in safety orange, which is the standard color for defining a protective space, marking a location or the need for awareness. When viewed from directly above, the sculpture’s four abstract rifles create an X, both marking the spot as a place of significance, and calling for future vigilance. Fall 2006
*excerpts from History of Peekskill, Written by John J. Curran, City Historian, January 2002
Wood and safety orange paint, 5′ b x 8′ h
This temporary sculpture is drawn from my time in Maine and my experience of the back roads and front lawns that define its domestic landscape. Blue poly tarps that are commonly used across the state to cover and protect materials and possessions from the weather are also employed around the country and in many parts of the world, revealing this simple and inexpensive commodity as a universal, versatile, and practical answer to a wide range of situations. The same standardized sheets of plastic that extend protection and ownership beyond the enclosure of the home also extend the territory of humanity and inhabitability when configured as a provisional humanitarian aid in the exigency of natural or manmade disaster.
This piece explores the blue tarp’s universal connotation of temporality and protection to extend interior, architectural space into the exterior landscape, while its removal from banal yard service or terrifying disaster footage attempts to focus attention on its function and dysfunction in the contemporary culture of impermanence and instability. Summer 2006
Polytarp, conduit and fastener, 2′ b x 9′ h
1-1=1 is a temporary site-responsive project that triangulates mapping, statistics and human tragedy. This ongoing project responds to the recent rise in fatal street aggressions in Greater Boston. The nonsensical equation, 1-1=1 (one person killing one person equals one crime statistic) is stenciled on the sidewalk at each site of these violent incidents with phosphorescent paint, presenting a subtle visual reminder of the temporality of life and the permanent impact of these acts, while simultaneously marking a vigil for those who are lost. Summer 2007
Museum-like display case with sound piece, hand-forged metal, fabric, plexi, wood and DVD player and speakers , 24″ x 30″ x 16″, 2004
Micro-pen on 9 x 12″ watercolor paper, 2007 – ongoing project
Jersey Barrier Bench Attachment
Jersey barriers were originally developed to divide multi-lane highways in New Jersey. These barriers were intended to minimize damage to vehicles, and to prevent them from veering into oncoming traffic and causing fatal, head-on collisions. Today the barriers, which are also known as K-rails, have evolved in both form and function, but the original Jersey barrier design and use are still in high demand. The barriers are used on construction sites, to block off restricted areas, and more recently, to create a safe distance between surface streets and vehicles and sensitive sites and monuments. Because government buildings and historic monuments are now protected in this way, the barriers which restrict vehicle intrusion also render these important civic places unattractive and unfriendly for pedestrians. As what started as a temporary safety measure becomes increasingly more permanent, widespread, and unavoidable, a new way to reinterpret these barriers for the benefit of the pedestrian population has become critical.
This group of paintings retraces John F. Kennedy’s final presidential motorcade ride, starting from Love Field Air Force Base, and ending at Dealey Plaza with his assassination. Using a diagrammatic tourist’s map, the route is abstracted and executed in a series of minimalist paintings. The use of a strictly limited palette in a various shades of red, white and blue references the conflicting theories about JFK’s death and signifies the episode’s continued symbolic power in the national identity. The series is a set of 10 consecutive paintings which begins at the scale of the county and zooms in to the exact street location of the assassination. The clean abstraction of the maps contrasts with the confused and conflicting accounts of the tragedy, and the careful execution of the paintings suggests a carefully executed plan. 2002-03
Arcylic on canvas, 24 x24″, series of 10
Design concepts, 2003
These particular architectural motifs are incorporated into the design of many homes, government and institutional buildings, and cultural centers; they function as privacy screens, load-bearing façades, ventilation devices, security barriers, and staircase guardrails. One of the reasons these designs spread so ubiquitously may have been the U.S. State Department policy during the 1950′s and 1960′s, which suggested that “American embassies visibly reflect the cultural climate of their particular setting,” with the result that, “the clean efficiency of modern American buildings was fused with traditional motifs in such disparate sites as Athens and Karachi”. This hybridization eventually returned to America and spread throughout many different regions of the world. Although these motifs have become common design currency, in certain countries they remain physical markers of a past filled with ideology, naiveté, economic progress and oppression, modernization, and political change. Fall 2007
*Langsner, Jules. The Quest for Ornament in American Architecture, Zodiac 4, pg. 68-72
To dwell is to extend: to inhabit a desire or memory, project it in space, and inscribe it in a landscape. The seminal writing on dwelling, Heidegger’s “Building, Dwelling, Thinking,” explores dwelling as an extension of a person’s very being, either through building edifices or through cultivation of the land. Although the noun, dwelling, has become linked with a structural building, the verb is intertwined with people’s habit of extending their own mortality by establishing, cultivating, and preserving a landscape or place. In short, to dwell, the verb, is about extending a personal experience not only through space, but also in time and memory. 2004
Landscape installation (concept proposal) with Marrikka Trotter
This project seeks to explore the significance of a place as a reliquary for an epic of courage. The Alamo has been largely reconstructed from the ruins of a historic Spanish mission to become a park-like tourist attraction. The meticulously manicured landscape which now surrounds the infamous site of death and defeat for such historical figures as Davey Crocket and James Bowie is accented with an artificial stream stocked with colorful koi and innumerable pennies. The stream, with its clear water and brilliant orange fish, provides an accessible distraction and an anticlimax to the stern and silent chapel, with its roped-off displays memorializing the fallen heroes of Texas. The disneyfication of historical sites commodifies and reduces significant historical sites to places of entertainment and activity. The piece is to be projected at a large scale, as if to endow the graceful movements of the fish with deep meaning. 2003
Video projection loop