Tuesday, June 30, 2009

to Let opening events - Friday, July 3

Join us this Friday from 4:00-6:00pm at the Bernie Milton Pavilion in the center of The Commons to inaugurate to Let!
Walking tours will depart at 4:30pm and 5:30pm.
Maps of the participating properties will be available.
Food, conversation and many of the artists will be on hand.
Lindsey Glover will be having an open studio in her space at 105 S. Cayuga St. (The Flower Shop).
Michelle Illuminato's space (111B The Commons) will be featuring projections which are up only for opening night.
SP Weather Station will delivery a twilight presentation (at about 9pm), "The Taxonomy of Taxonomies of Clouds" at The Amphitheater on The Commons (just a bit west of the Bernie Milton Pavilion).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Night & Day" - Roman Hrab - 135 The Commons

Two sources of inspiration / information are the basis for Night & Day. Firstly the Internet, and this website. It is a link to a web cam located on Ithaca Commons, which takes a live shot every 15 seconds of a section of the Commons. It is owned and operated by a local graphic design firm. When I first came across this website, I found it raised many issues regarding the surveillance of the public realm via the web and social networking. The camera page also has a live Twitter feed as well as a link to a ‘best of” web cam photo page on Flickr.

Rather than appropriate images from this Flickr album, I collected images directly from the web cam until I came across a pair of stills that conveyed a sense of solitude and foreboding. One image was taken during the day, the other at night. From these images I made large-scale prints that were manipulated to resemble security camera shots. A final print, an aerial view of the Commons from Google Earth, serves as a pop cultural “You Are Here” marker for this psychogeographical mapping.

Secondly, the name of the store, Night & Day, instantly brings to mind the Cole Porter classic. The song has been recorded by countless artists, from Frank Sinatra to Billie Holiday and many others, and is best known as a song of longing and yearning, of unrequited love. But when taken out of its 1930’s musical context, the lyrics begin to seem a bit more sinister in intent when juxtaposed with the 21st century realm of the Internet, surveillance, web cams, and social networks.

An audio loop plays a recording of artists and musicians reciting, whispering, singing, and playing their own versions of Night and Day, with these issues in mind. Their voices are heard in the vestibule of the store, sometimes solo, sometimes paired in twos or grouped in disharmonic quartets or octets. Together with the images, the audio is an eerie reminder that there is always someone unseen watching the public realm, night and day.

The recordings are performed by:
Yura Adams
Carrie Chalmers
George Hrab
Roman Iwasiwka
Andrew Kowal
James Mongan
Wayne Montecalvo
Jennifer Murray
Kathleen Thum
Tricia Wright

Here is a mix of all performances. At the installation site, this mix and other versions play in random order on a continuous loop 8am-10pm.

Roman Hrab's website

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Cenotaphs for a new era" - Tom Oberg - 109 S. Cayuga

Two Glass cubes
h30" x 37" x 24"
h29.75" x 25.5" x 16"

Sculpture can be viewed as the total occupation of space. The two cubes
represent the spaces occupied by two very different men with two very
different views of the worlds they occupied.

On March 29, 1849 Henry "Box" Brown had a crate built and mailed himself
from Baltimore to Philadelphia. The trip took 27 hours; the crate measured
h30" x 37" x 24"

On October 12, 1969 Charles Manson was arrested at Barker Ranch in
Death Valley and charged with arson and grand theft auto. Manson was
found hiding inside a bathroom cabinet measuring h29.75" x 25.5" x 16".

Henry "Box" Brown, born into slavery in 1815, mailed himself across the
Mason-Dixon line to freedom in 1849. Brown escaped to England after the
Fugitive Act of 1850 became law. Brown became active in the Abolitionist
movements in both America and Britain, writing two versions of his
autobiography and exhibiting a moving panorama depicting the brutality of
slavery, titled "The Mirror of Slavery". Brown stayed on the British show
circuit for 25 years, until 1875, eventually returning to the U.S. with a
magic act.

*"... having been enabled to snap my chains and escape to a land of liberty
– I owe it as a sacred duty to the cause of humanity, that I should devote
my life to the redemption of my fellow men"*

Charles Manson, born November 1934, a career criminal whose criminal
record culminated in an infamous 1969 killing spree perpetrated by his
followers known as the Family. Manson, believing that the racial tensions
of the 1960sbetween blacks and whites would soon turn into open warfare,
began to plan the release of an album whose songs would trigger the
impending race war. Manson believed that upon hearing the lyrics, the
blacks would rise up and murder the whites. The blacks would triumph
but would need to be ruled by the Family, which would ride out the conflict
in "the bottomless pit", a secret city beneath Death Valley. Manson's
followers precipitated a series of gruesome murders to – in Manson's
words " ... show blackie how to do it".

Manson song title from the album* The Family Jams: "First They Made Me
Sleep in the Closet/I'm Scratchin' Peace Symbols on Your Tombstone".

"Sweet Dreams" - Paul M. Nicholson - 111 N. Tioga

“Sweet Dreams” employs two 1’ by 1’ foot blocks that sparkle as if made out of sugar. On top of each cube sits a white coffee cup and saucer, drank to near the bottom. These remnants of a warm conversation remind us that a very familiar human interaction has just taken place.

Thousands of people sit down in local banks all across the country. They sip coffee with someone they’ve known for years. They share intimate details of their lives, their hopes and dreams, and plans for the future. The piece alludes ultimately to the shared risk and responsibility; it also reminds us that some of the sweetest dreams are financed more by saccharine than sugar.

The unfinished dark liquid leaves a perfect black circle in the bottom of the cup. When left on top of a pristine white cube, a transformation occurs changing the objects into to a pair of oversized dice. The resulting roll is “snake eyes”, symbolizing the ultimate losing roll.

Paul M. Nicholson's website

"Colonial Left" - M. Michelle Illuminato - 111B The Commons

Without thinking about it, we experience traces of our Colonial history in our everyday lives, from the Colonial-style mirror we look into in the morning to the wagon wheel in our neighbor’s front yard. We use these items without ever questioning how they came to us and what it means to incorporate them and by extension what they represent, in our lives.

"Weather Metabulator" - SP Weather Station (Natalie Campbell, Heidi Neilson), Daniel Larson - 208 E. State St.

The Weather Metabulator is a collaboration between SP Weather Station (Natalie Campbell and Heidi Neilson) and Daniel Larson (PhD Biophysics, Cornell U., 2004) and was recently installed at the Queens Museum as part of the Queens International 4.
An adapted 1950s-era medical device, the ‘Metabulator’ translates real time analogue temperature measurements into a continuous chart readout. The Weather Metabulator uses an integrated circuit temperature transducer installed outdoors which produces an output current proportional to temperature. This analogue electrical signal is relayed along a wire from the transducer to a digital circuit inside the Metabulator, which translates the signal into the movement of a servo. The servo powers a motor which moves a pen which creates a real time drawn readout of temperature in the gallery.
The drawing produced by the chart readout of temperature data functions as a displaced “landscape” drawing. It is a representation of a specific place (through temperature data); at the same time it evokes maps of topography/elevation.

Weather Metabulator Components:
Integrated circuit temperature transducer, Wire, Instrument amplifier, Analogue to digital converter, Pulse width modulator, RC Servo and motor, AC synchron motor, Metabulator with existing stylus apparatus. (More technical information including circuit diagrams are available here)

SP Weather Station's website

"A Plastic Garden" - Lindsey Glover - 105 S. Cayuga

Using ‘junk’ material, such as Styrofoam, plastic bags, and cardboard, I reinvent these materials and install them within the vacant storefront, transforming it into a lush, vibrant green un-living ecosystem. Using the ledge just below the two windows as a base, I will construct a scene that appears from a distance to be a living-breathing biosphere. Lit with small, battery operated LED lights the scene would be illuminated at night, much like looking into a fish tank or peering into an artificial environment at the zoo. The foliage would come alive though color, form and light, despite its construction from dead material. I plan to take scraps and discarded material I find in the streets, in the woods, and fields, transforming them into objects of desire and giving them a life beyond dismissal.

Lindsey Glover's website.

Welcome to the "to Let" blog!

If you live in Ithaca, you may have already seen some suspicious activities in vacant storefronts around the commons - a garden with handmade plastic flowers and Styrofoam strata, an antique medical device spewing printouts, a seeming antique store with something amiss - these are the first installations in the to Let art program.

This blog is a place to learn more about the individual installations and to have conversations sparked by the art. The artists will check in from time to time, so please leave them questions under the main post for their installation.

For more information on to Let, including a map of participating properties - click here.

to Let is a program created by The Working Relationship and supported by The Downtown Ithaca Alliance and local landlords.