Site-specific readings and project

I have been considering creating my site-specific installation in the College of Fine Arts building at Carnegie Mellon. Yes, it is obviously convenient/accessible – maybe even too much so – but it is the place that I spend almost all of my waking hours, it is a place I know, and a place that I (and most people who are there every day with me) take for granted.  It would be eye opening for me as an artist and others as viewers to experience the College of Fine Arts building in a new way.  (That’s the why). I wasn’t sure exactly HOW to make a “site-specific” installation here, but reading the articles gave me a few new directions in my thought.

*In Marinos Koutsomichalis’s article, the statement that stuck out to me was “’site-specific’ does not necessarily mean ‘site-dependent.’”  I had not been making a distinction between the two; I was under the impression that something site-specific could ONLY work in that one location.  I realized after reading through this work that site-specific work is created to draw attention to a space, create a new experience in a space, improve a space, etc.  It is designed entirely with the space in mind, BUT it could possibly work as a piece somewhere else.

*Maria Andueza’s article got me thinking about interactions that occur when a site-specific work is in a high-traffic area.  I was particularly influenced by her explanation of Bill Fontana’s Panoramic Echoes and how it caused the “opening of a new dimension of space in the city” by changing people’s view of the city from horizontal to vertical.  I appreciate work that causes us to stop and examine details that we typically ignore.

*I loved reading about Drive In Music.  This is an installation I wish I could experience. Brandon LaBelle’s article brought up an important feature of the work: it was installed “in such a way that people could find them in their own time and on their own terms.”  I think the self-discovery makes the work all the more intriguing, and at the same time it doesn’t intrude on anyone’s life that does not want to experience the work.

After musing over these readings, I came up with a new idea for my installation (the how.)  I want to create sound collages based on several locations throughout the building.  These sound collages will be created from many sources (musical recordings, current and past, interviews about the space, recordings of the room empty and in use, etc).  I will then post these sound collages online and provide QR codes for the links to each one.  The user would just need a smart phone and headphones and could explore the CFA, hunting for the QR codes and discovering the hidden “sound stories.”  I believe this installation would encourage people to explore a space they usually ignore, getting to look at it in a new way.  The focus of perspective would become space rather than self.  It is also totally unobtrusive, and has the element of intrigue being somewhat hidden – encouraging people to explore a place they usually walk through without any attention to detail.

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