Posts by Shannon Darrough
If you happen to witness—or, for the intrepid, participate in—Marina Abramović‘s new work The Artist Is Present, you may notice a well-equipped photographer quietly documenting each daily performance. The artist has asked photographer Marco Anelli to take portraits of every visitor who participates in the piece. The results, as you can see below and on the exhibition website, are captivating.
Check back frequently, as the images are updated regularly. At this point there are over eight hundred portraits!
We initially suggested five design firms as candidates to design and build the Design and the Elastic Mind website. Paola Antonelli, the exhibition curator, had gone through around twenty links from three firms when we showed her Yugo Nakamura’s personal site, yugop.com. The simple white page that greeted us was immediately invaded by dark, two-dimensional cascading balls. We watched for a few minutes, mesmerized by the simple physics of bouncing. Paola decided to go with Yugo’s firm, tha ltd., on the spot.
Yugo’s work has been inspirational to me since 1998, when I first came across MONO*crafts 2.0 (more on that below). In fact, I can honestly say that seeing that website was one of the reasons I decided to transition from print to web design. His site was among the first to effectively and convincingly instill “life”—flexibility, mutability, playfulness, depth, speed—into what was then a very static experience.
So it was quite an honor for me to ask him a few questions about his experience working on the Design and the Elastic Mind website, and about Web design in general.
“There is no way to identify a work by Orozco in terms of physical product. Instead, it must be discerned through leitmotifs and strategies that constantly recur, but in always mutating forms and configurations.”
—Ann Temkin, the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, from the Gabriel Orozco exhibition catalogue
That was my first reaction to Ann’s description of Gabriel Orozco’s practice. We were researching the artist, looking for persistent visual themes, devices, or elements in his work that could be used to anchor or accent the design of the exhibition website. The works that I was familiar with at the time—Black Kites, Citroen DL, the Atomist series—didn’t share obvious aesthetic connections, so I assumed that a common thread would be found in the pages of the catalogue. But here Ann was saying that Orozco’s mercurial practice provided little in the way of overt physical similarity. And that, given a looming deadline, was daunting. More fruitful were meetings Allegra Burnette (Creative Director of Digital Media) and I had with Ann and Paulina Pobocha, a curatorial assistant who worked on the exhibition. Though we didn’t come up with concrete ideas about the look of the site, the curators did provide insight as to its desired spirit: simple and playful. Simple, because the curators wanted something that was easy to use and understand, and playful, because what better way to conceptualize a website dedicated to an artist whose work has included the customization of both billiard and ping pong tables (Carambole with Pendulum, 1996, and Ping-Pond Table, 1998) and chess- and checkerboards (Horses Running Endlessly, 1995, and Lemon Game, 2001)?
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