Log Knot, The Emperor's Canary, and Todd: AAP Faculty and Student Work in the 2018 CCA Biennial
The 2018 Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) Biennial is underway and includes three projects by AAP students and faculty, each taking a different approach to this year's theme of "Duration: Passage, Persistence, Survival." According to Timothy Murray, the council's director and curator of this year's biennial, "The AAP installations in the biennial exemplify the CCA charge of forging an artistic environment of thinking, making, and doing."
The CCA describes the biennial's 18 total projects as those that "ponder institutional and racial violence, the temporality of indigenous culture, the 'long durée' of gradual historical alterations, transgender and sexualities, slowness of painting and reading, contemplations of the built environment, 'deep time' of ecology and volatile encroachments of global warming, passage of sound, and historical imperatives of persistence and survival under threatening cultural conditions."
Contributed works from the AAP community include Log Knot — On Perpetual Wood Cycles and Forest Processes, a project led by assistant professor of architecture Sasa Zivkovic and Teaching Associate Brian Havener (M.Arch. '17); The Emperor's Canary, a sound installation by art's assistant professor of the practice Joanna Malinowska and artist C. T. Jasper; and Todd, an indoor pavilion by fifth-year architecture students Maddy Eggers (B.Arch. '19) and Ian Limbaseanu (B.Arch. '19).
Log Knot is a large-scale, robotically fabricated wood sculpture currently installed on Cornell's Ag Quad. A substantial team from AAP's Cornell Robotic Construction Laboratory (RCL) and the director of College of Agriculture and Life Science's Arnot Teaching and Research Forest came together for this project to question the way the forest is, or can be, used as a resource. "Conceptually and spatially, Log Knot references eternal cycles and reciprocal relationships between systems, both natural and technical," explains Zivkovic, RCL's faculty director. "The infinitely looping sculpture is an interplay between archaic natural geometry, advanced computation, and state-of-the-art digital fabrication."
Malinowska and her artistic collaborator C. T. Jasper produced a new iteration of their work, The Emperor's Canary, for the biennial. The piece integrates sound, sculpture, and the installation of two gramophones, both replicas of the one used by Werner Herzog in his iconic 1982 film Fitzcarraldo. The gramophones are located at the extension entrance of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Sesquicentennial Grove on Libe Slope and play specifically selected prerecorded sound for visitors.
"C. T. Jasper and I worked on a previous incarnation of this project for the High Line in New York City where we recorded sounds that comment on polluted air and water — in some way, this is an extension of that work," says Malinowska. "For the CCA biennial, and in relation to the 2018 theme, we have made an additional soundtrack that includes recordings of threatened aspects of current cultural and natural life such as endangered languages, animal calls, and ecosystems from different parts of the world."
Eggers and Limbaseanu teamed up to create Todd, the first entry by students to be selected for inclusion in a CCA biennial. Todd is a substantial and soft pavilion piece planned specifically for installation in the Physical Sciences Building (PSB).
"Ian and I are excited to bring a cheeky, plush object to this serious space that is mostly made of hard edges and cold glass," says Eggers. "While impressive, it can make one yearn to be enveloped by something soft and comforting. We hope to challenge the idea that art is something to be observed but not touched, and encourage passersby to prod, squish, sit on, bite, nap on, or otherwise interact with Todd to bring him to life."
Eggers and Limbaseanu's work will remain in the west pavilion area of the PSB through November 5. "Todd's duration as a pavilion is finite," adds Eggers on the piece's playful relationship to the biennial's theme. "But he will take on a second life by breaking apart into furniture-scale pieces that will be reused to bring moments of strange coziness to our homes."
Beyond physical works of art, the biennial also includes performances and a conference that that took place on September 28–29 where contributing artists discussed their work. "CCA is honored to collaborate with AAP as the host of the launch conference," added Murray, "and for its assistance in mounting many of our installations this year." The launch conference featured an opening lecture by artist Xu Bing and a plenary talk by artist Carrie Mae Weems who created Heave, a multimedia piece that is currently housed within two temporary structures located at the center of the Arts Quad. Heave will be installed and open through November 5. LOG KNOT and The Emperor's Canary will remain in place through December 8 when the biennial comes to an end.
By Edith Fikes