Friday, January 30, 2009

Introduction: (smudge studio inc.)

Hi from Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth, co-directors of smudge studio. We're excited to be facilitating this conversation.

We think that our studio's project,, activates the principle of "hybridity" as a strategy in contemporary art, because it cross-pollinates education, journalism, art, media, and design. We are using media to experiment with a hybrid voice for public discussion and education--one that actualizes the power of art and aesthetic experience as ways of knowing the world. We hope to make a generative resource and outlet for expanding the fields of art and media by orchestrating collaborations among artists, art educators, museum educators, college teachers, and teacher educators.

smudge is
also a collaborative art practice and design/media studio based in New York. The artist statement for our practice is: Humans, the landscape, and the built environment are forces in play. At times their relationality creates intense points of contact that necessitate extraordinary acts of creativity and invention. Our practice uses media to locate and pass through these "limit cases."

Much of our work addresses Art + Environment, especially the "limit case" project and our projects of "topographical signaling."

Here's the abstract for an online article that we published based on the Limit Case project:
The Limit Case project grew out of a 3700 mile trip that we took, as artists, through the American southwest for 28 days.
We selected destinations that would offer us experiences of intensity: intensity of landscape, color, climate, remoteness, shape, history, and site-responsive built environments. We found ourselves arriving at sites where humans, the landscape and the built environment converged to create exquisitely concentrated zones of contact. State borderlines converged with deep economic divisions; remote desert "wasteland" converged with garish tourist attractions; a quonset hut used to develop the atomic bomb converged with present day efforts to redesign it for sustainable living practices in the desert. The experiences compounded and we began to regard such moments as "limit cases": intense points where natural and built forces mutually contaminate as they play out to their most extreme forms, levels, and junctures.

In response, we created a series of 30 postcards. Each evokes sensations of humans, the landscape, and the built environment themselves converging at and as crossroads, where they compound, reach their "limits" and pass into something else.

Litter Reaches A Limit, from the Limit Case postcard series, 2007

Our interest in "topographical signaling" comes from our fascination with how natural and built forces shape and shift the topographies of landscapes, urban environments, and human experiences. We go to emerging edges of places in the making. There, we invent transmission devices and responsive practices that move with, change shape, frame light and sound, mark rhythms, and indicate direction and intensity of forces in play. With the resulting topographical signals, we try to make the emergence of natural and built topographies material and palpable--and available for creative expression and making. We hope that our work offers experiences of what cannot be grasped by words: namely, sensations of emergence ... the felt reality of being in relation.

We welcome you to view signals of topographical forces (wind, tide, waves, light) that we generated from Marconi Beach, Cape Cod and shared with listeners of WOMR outermost radio.

Visit the site for our art practice

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