Cover image and feature article on Nathaniel Stern’s work and practice.
“In this month’s Instructional Resource, Christine Woywod presents the interactive artworks of Nathaniel Stern who often blends art and technology to generate participatory installations through which audience members may bodily experience art, performing images into existence.” – James Haywood Rolling Jr.
Woywod, C. (2016). “Nathaniel Stern: Performing images into existence.” Art Education, Volume 69 Issue 4 pp 36-42.
Downloadable PDF of the above article is forthcoming. Firewall version here.
A companion web resource is available here.
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Companion to Digital Art, M Magazine, engadget, Art Fag City, Critical Arts
Cover image: detail from Weather Patterns: the smell of red (2014).
Author: Erin Manning
Publisher: Duke University Press
Date of Publication: June 2016
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Other related texts: Thought in the Act, Non-toxic Printmaking, Companion to Digital Art, Critical Mass, Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness
Smell like sand has a way of embedding itself into you: your skin, your scalp, the little crevices at the top of your ears, the bottom insides of your shoes reeking of memory. It fills me with an unexpected sense of nostalgia and longing for last night on the beach (the low lights, the laughter, the danger of being discovered and the nearness of you.) Our bodies left slight impressions on the sand.
“I’m always trying to move into the holes,” I hear Erin Manning tell someone I don’t know the night of the opening outside in the yard.
I still smell like cinnamon from upstairs.
Upstairs at Glasshouse, Weather Patterns: The Smell of Red is already at work.
By work, I mean in one way a sharpening of senses. Artists Erin Manning and Nathaniel Stern, with Marcelino Barsi, have expertly if not tendentiously created conditions for the impossibility of being intimately uninvolved. The work seeps into you, dissolves and electrifies.
Tapping into weather as a medium, the installation incorporates sculptural elements including pungent spices and various fans as a proposition to, in their words, co-compose weather. It performs on you; it elicits from you a performance that unfolds.
Weather Patterns: The Smell of Red builds conditions for fluid encounters and intangible exchanges by producing a slipping of spaces and heightened awareness of one’s own body, welling up the state of existing within or having a relationship with time and memory.
Three, dispersed white pillar-like structures extend from floor to ceiling in the gallery upstairs at Glasshouse. Around each base crawls a pile of cinnamon.
The structures are interrupted in the middle with a series of thin, clear tubes placed in a circle, in the middle of which a delicate tornado spins. Its appearance, however, is dependent on the positionality of the observer. Unseen in the bottom cavity of the structure is a water ionizer, and a fan in the top cavity. The combination of the fan pulling air upwards and the perforations in the tubes in a circle causes the air to get pushed around, creating a tornado. If moved towards too suddenly, the tornado dissipates. It eventually re-forms given suitable conditions.
The way in which you position yourself in relation to the structure alters the experience and exchange. Its elusivity and ephemeral nature call attention to the delicacy of the experience and fragility of form. The appearance of the tornado becomes contingent on the bodies around it.
Not to mention the handful of quietly, whirring fans affixed to the walls at varying heights that circulate the air and effect the tornadoes to some extent. Particles of cinnamon fly up into the tornadoes and become skin to the whirling air.
All the while the smell of red becomes skin to the air in the space at large. It’s a retreat back to the lungs, altering you at the level of cells.
They say cinnamon amplifies memory and cognitive function.
Perhaps only felt in the room are sentimental constructions.
Interior and exterior spaces slip between body and atmosphere. A tornado folds in on itself in a series of curves like the surfaces of memory and time. There is a sinuosity, an interface of linings of insides. The installation connotes the precariousness of memory and unstable form. The slipping of space produces orientations meeting on a curve.
A body around the tornado attunes itself to the vanishing of the object.
For it might be said that one cannot experience the installation without seeing the tornado. So the body learns the conditions for an appearance on a plane and, mired in the senses, the process by which you register a thing, perhaps a secret, in the body.
Will you keep it to yourself? Can you hold something there? Where in the body has an interval space opened up?
Form and meaning grow through individual and collective interactions in public space.
Weather Patterns: The Smell of Red materializes conditions for bodies to come together in unexpected ways across becoming mercurial fields. At a certain alignment of body and object, a dancing of the field occurs. The contours of a tornado’s body is an unfurling line folding in on itself around an empty space. It show us how to move into zero, the holes, patterning behaviors.
– Angeli Sion
Weather Patterns: The Smell of Red was co-produced by Erin Manning and Nathaniel Stern with Marcelino Barsi, and curated by Jennifer Johung at Glasshouse in Brooklyn, New York during June 2014.
Other related texts: The Minor Gesture, Incident Magazine, Thought in the Act, NY Daily News, Meaning Motion press
Polaroid Excavations: the Opening of Weather Patterns: The Smell of Red
Angeli Sion for Incident Magazine
Weather Patterns: The Smell of Red, a sensorial and collaborative ecological installation, surfaced to air the proposition of artists Erin Manning and Nathaniel Stern, co-produced with Marcelino Barsi [and curated by Jennifer Johung], to heighten an exchange of the senses in a body that barely registers the arrival of intersensoriality.
Tapping into weather as a medium via architectural and sculptural elements, the installation materialized conditions for bodies to come together in unexpected ways across becoming mercurial fields. The appearance of a tornado becomes contingent on the bodies around it. At a certain alignment of body and object, a dancing of the field occurs.
Coinciding the same evening as the installation were Juliana España Keller’s “Food Gestures“ and Michael Hornblow’s explorations of the infrathin with “OmegaVille”. Keller’s installation of hanging glass terrariums offered food such as almonds, blueberries, dried ginger, and reindeer moss from Quebec in the yard. In its poetic gesture to foraging and the act of reaching and going back to the earth it enacted an exchange of knowledge. Through video and online photo spheres downstairs, Hornblow produced an exchange of perceived space at the interface of insides and outsides, street to gallery, through conflating layers of time.
Although all three installations generated participatory conditions in disparate locations throughout Glasshouse, the long-term art-life-lab project and space of Lital Dotan and Eyal Perry, their undercurrents converged through and across the bodies of those who came the night of the opening, back and forth in loops, transforming the senses.
The following Polaroids mark this dancing of the field between bodies in performing their own mutable states, excisions into inside, outside the image, and material engagement with image-making as one that unfolds over time.
Weather Patterns: The Smell of Red, was a sensorial and collaborative ecological installation, produced by Erin Manning and Nathaniel Stern with Marcelino Barsi, coinciding with installation Food Gestures by Juliana España Keller and OmegaVille by Michael Hornblow the same evening at Glasshouse, June 1, 2014.
See original post in Incident Magazine
Other related texts: Between Everything+Nothing, The Minor Gesture, M Magazine, Neural Magazine, Art Education
“Every practice is a mode of thought, already in the act. To dance: a thinking in movement. To paint: a thinking through color. To perceive in the everyday: a thinking of the world’s varied ways of affording itself.” —from Thought in the Act
Title: Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience
Author: Erin Manning and Brian Massumi
Publisher: University Of Minnesota Press
Date of Publication: May 2014
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