Description

A site-specific installation at the Governor's Island Art Fair in 2014, Coherence was designed to explore the nature of the baltzerglass collaboration, while simultaneously engaging in social experimentation and commentary directed at the nature of the lives of the visitors to the exhibition.  Many of the specific attributes within the mix were jointly engineered, but the room was divided in half so that each artist was responsible for an environment that expressed the aesthetics of a specific time period that contrasted with the other. While Mikel looked backwards with a dystopian take of late 19th C. Victorian era, daniel looked "ahead" a hundred years to the hopefulness of the 1970's in America. Disorder was contrasted with order. Worn and broken relics of an industrial past stood opposed to colorful plastics, chrome and electronics with glistening lights - all part of the golden age of possibilities that gripped the American psyche of that era.


Amidst it all, two colonies of live gerbils had the run of the room in a series of habitats, cages and passageways.  The visitors, crammed into the small, narrow room, were able to interact with the curious and friendly animals who had, proportionally, vastly more space to maneuver than they did - even being able to climb to observation stations to watch the proceedings from above.  Guests of the exhibition were instructed to participate in the installation by filling several reservoirs of water to specific levels in order to "nurture" the work, as several ultrasonic humidifiers released steam that humidified the room to the gerbil's liking.  The result shed light on the nature of life in the human "rat race."  The guests, who had made great effort to come to the island in the first place, were asked to work in cramped quarters to help with the exhibit that they were likely expecting simply to passively observe.  All the while the gerbils had no responsibilities and, as they are highly social and excited by human presence, were  entertained by the people brought in to serve them..



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Coherence