Friday, February 15, 2008

Kevin Beasley

Waterjacket, 2008
headphones, audio selection
Counterplane, 2008
pine wood, spray paint

Detroit is not just a city that I find interesting, but rather an environment that feels like the woods. Moving to Detroit from Virginia (from the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains) five years ago, I realize that in my own observations there is a bias towards nature’s presence, but this comparison is not a sensory one, but rather the ambiguous state I see in both. The ephemeral quality of natural occurrences reminds me, increasingly so, of Detroit’s landscape. There is a current in the air that gives Detroit a distinctive quality unlike any other metropolitan area, although it has every characteristic that a major city would contain. On the contrary, its identity is so difficult to put a finger on. As if the indistinguishable is the distinction. Grit, grime, and industry constitute most American metropolitan areas if you’re in the right neighborhood. So the “grittiness of Detroit” does not satisfy an accurate description for me.

My work leans toward the experience of spaces and place, and how we interact, and identify with them. My paradoxical observations and unfamiliarity with Detroit, combined with the increase of travel in my schedule, forced me to look at not just my destinations but the spaces in between; these places and signifiers that got me thinking about other things. The spaces where we read, contemplate, and talk to ourselves. I became more interested in the elusive, rather than the identifiable. These observations act as metaphors in my work and really operate in the process of creating what I make and how I place them in the context of its environment. The material elements allow for a sensory experience that triggers our percepts and gets us thinking about our thoughts, feeling our feelings, and attempting to conclude on what these objects mean. This, ultimately, requires viewers to bring their own sensibilities to play, in order to create an experience that may have never been felt before. As if the objects never exist until one truly engages.

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