I very specifically chose to use my real-estate in the thesis show as a catalyst for a big messy project. When looking toward thesis, I knew that my Cranbrook educational experience simply couldn’t culminate into a discrete art object. While I love that kind of work and its makers, I wanted to use this opportunity to further explore curation, agency and space making. I wanted to be a part of work that felt like a conversation. There is something really exciting about collaboration that feels magical. Its deterministic and when all parties are fully invested, a byproduct of the actual space between us, and not the sum total of two or more people. It feels outside of us, insightful and meaningful.
Step-Brother is a constellation of structures that utilize the totality of the exhibitionary apparatus as source material for the creation of systems as sculpture. It’s not a gallery space, but something else: an object that requires community, negotiation, shared goals and sacrificed autonomy to function. It is a frame for curated exhibitions that grows to contend with and complexify the work it houses celebrating the impossibility of the crystal goblet. Step-Brother opts for inclusion over representation. Step Brother makes space for others to use. We want to extend our self-reflection and self-expression through connection and outreach.
It isn’t productive to view or project this effort as definably oppositional. There is an ideological stance in the commonly used understanding of ‘self-organized’ within the art context, where it “describes how groups, collectives, and other networks of individuals can operate independently from institutional and corporate structures.” I believe there to be a progressive and mature attempt to acknowledge and leverage what is a decidedly limiting context. While we do not wish to use the system to its demise, this project attempts to carve out a sentient space to operate within. Acceptable behavior can be understood as an area which then has a perimeter, a demarcation of the barrier between acceptable and inconceivable. I like to imagine what it means to opt-in on our own terms.
I like thinking about walls and what to do with them. But mostly I wanted to legislate play into my work. I wanted to engage directly with the meta-design component and bring my community into the ideation and production of this work. I was incredibly suspicious of how my process here would yield a thesis piece, and though it ultimately didn’t, again, the focus is on the process, there is a clear thread, through my work, taking me from initiation to commencement.
Shoutout to http://www.sampanter.info/