Sculpture Centre Proposal 2021 work in progress


Below is a rough sketch, for an online translation of an installation to be. The key subjects of the installation are scanned and then ‘silvered’, to rotate as if in purgatory suspension. I am considering a voice over, or layers of text/ graphic relating to the elements of the installation. Eventually the fabric of the online piece will have its own site, to become a form of concrete poetry.

The objects are interactive, click on and hold to rotate or zoom

My proposed installation is a transhistorical look at air conditioning – as technical, environmental and cultural entity. I’m exploring cooling as inherently connected to the development of a neo-liberal way of life, to the point of becoming symptomatic.
This research was sparked by the fact my current studio at ISCP is known as the first building worldwide to be truly air conditioned back in 1902, when it was a printing house.

The basis of the installation is to be the juxtaposition of two keys elements in the history of air-conditioning. 1 – Prior to modern apparatus, there was ice harvesting – an age of ‘transposition of weather’, most notably from Maine to as far as Calcutta, essentially a manipulation of nature. A collection of huge toothed ice saws is to lie retired in glass display cases, expanded to include their origins in Inuit civilization. 2 – Hovering above these will be a 2nd collection of condenser coils (the main element of an air-conditioning unit), garnered from scrap yards around Brooklyn. As a layer of exhaustion, these condensers are visually damaged, and stand as an indicator of the high turnover of the device in the city.

My key experiment involves the interaction created between these two collections – hopefully toward an uncanny end. As a kind of essayistic assemblage, I will then attenuate these connections with ‘footnotes’, by including more specific objects of allegory from air-conditioning’s past, present and future. These items are to be further explained by means of text printed directly onto the glass, and would include such items as:

* Book: Henry Miller – ‘The Air-conditioned Nightmare’: A 1939 road trip of North America, written by one of histories grandest malcontents.
* Lever House advertisement – the first hermetically sealed glass building, resulting in pure dependency on air conditioning – further separating the respective classes of office worker and window washer.
* SkyCool Systems – a futuristic prototype that utilizes infrared light to transport unwanted warmth into outer space!

The backdrop for the arrangement is a kind of hybrid trade-fair/museum display. Large vertical sheets of bronze plexiglass hold ‘gridwall’ meshes, which are backlit to create a silhouette of each subject. Subtle front lighting will lift the subjects, making them seemingly float.

In imagining an online translation of this physical experience, I am 3d scanning these items, which are then ‘silvered’ and rotate as if in purgatory suspension (see link).