What do I find exciting about this collaboration?
I have always been intrigued by the processes and motives that lead artists to create art. I
personally believe that there is a lot of common ground between art and science and I would be
very excited to explore that common ground. Additionally, this collaboration will allow for the creation of novel strategies to educate students that are interested in art and science.
I am very excited about working with Jo, I believe that we have many overlapping interests which in my opinion will translate into a very rewarding collaboration. One of the topics that we would like to explore is tea.
Much of my visual work over the last twenty year has been influenced by collaborations and the inherent organic processes and innovative directions that can evolve through collective engagement. Working with artists in other disciplines as well as with architects, musicians, composers, philosophers, physicists, environmental scientists and poets on site-specific exhibitions, public art commissions and collaborative projects has helped to provide in each circumstance a broader context and more expansive understanding of our shared foci.
Recent projects have explored environmental issues and the relationship of language and image and so, with a growing interest in working more extensively with scientists, I was delighted to have been chosen for the Bridge residency and to have been paired with biochemist, Montse Rabago-Smith.
During our first Skype interview with Julia, Montse and I were asked to describe ourselves as well as some of our research, our varying processes and also what methods we might use to articulate our findings. I found it refreshing to be encouraged not to focus on what “product” comes out of this 4 month interaction but merely to see how and where the dialogue leads us.
During the Skype conversation, I listened to and noted the words we used to describe physical objects which were important to either Montse and/or to me, as well as the way we discussed their situational properties, such as - tea, anti-toxins, catechins, color, stains, molecular structures, sequential patterning, data and its codification (ie. diagrams, graphs, nano-imaging, direct observation, etc.), slides, light, etc..
Although we will be discussing possible directions for this residency in the next Skype interview in a few weeks, I decided to use as creative prompts during these first two weeks, a few of the words that we had spoken to each other. As an artist, I many times learn through tactile responses and direct experiences and right now, while I am on sabbatical and a Fellow at an artist residency, I have more extended time to creatively explore ideas using a range of materials in architectural space. In past projects, I have used varied combinations of glass, waxed surfaces, found objects and paper to investigate the way we perceive objects and images through our senses. These predominately translucent materials function as both a physical framework and symbolic membrane with implications of scale and the integration of architecture as pivotal components.
With that premise of earlier work in mind, I decided to focus on and experiment with 7 different teas that are kept in the kitchen of the residency’s manor house. For each of the teas, I researched the correct steeping time to enhance their anti-toxin properties as well as augment their flavor. After steeping the tea bags in identical containers that held a pre- measured amount of hot water, each bag was placed on a 9”x 9” sheet of paper which I had pretested for maximum absorption and translucency. Once the teabags and papers were dry to the touch, I removed the tea from the paper and ironed each piece of paper to flatten before submerging it in a mixture of white and raw beeswax to better promote transparency. Later this coming week, I will install the waxed papers on to the windows of a greenhouse located on the residency property, calling attention to the windows’ slide-like quality and providing by the works’ siting, a direct link between plant, light, color and systematic patterning.
The following images are labeled and in chronological order and provide a visual documentation of what I have been exploring on a mostly intuitive, material -based level. Interestingly enough, the final 3 images are of resident artist Pan Yu showing me how to make matcha, a green tea noted for its medicinal properties. We had been discussing this tea right before the Skype conversation.