The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

  • Arts

    Illuminarts brings 'the little match girl passion' to PAMM

    May 26, 2016, 3:02 p.m., Posted by Sebastian Spreng

    The little match girl passion,” which will be performed at the Pérez Art Museum Miami on June 2, is another great challenge undertaken by the IlluminArts group, a Knight Arts Challenge winner that focuses on vocal and chamber music presented in alternative spaces. Its goal is to “illuminate” corners of the repertoire that need to be explored in a city like Miami, which, sooner rather than later, will have to take a leap in various cultural disciplines if it wants to keep pace with other cities.

    This month, time arrived for the opera-cantata by David Lang, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, to be “installed” at the PAMM exhibit featuring the work of Doris Salcedo, the notable artist from Bogotá, Colombia.

    Composer David Lang.

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    Ivan Toth Depeña’s mind-bending augmented reality art

    May 26, 2016, 1:44 p.m., Posted by Anne Tschida

    Above: App-activated sound art “The Sounds,” a collaboration between Brad Laner and Ivan Toth Depeña. All images courtesy Ivan Toth Depeña.

    Take a break from texting and “liking” as you walk down the street, and look up, with your phone. You may encounter some fascinating art that appears only on your screen, courtesy of artist Ivan Toth Depeña. In an elaborate and widespread project, funded by Knight and Miami-Dade Art in Public Places, Depeña has created a virtual reality tour of Miami, titled “Lapse,” accompanied by a site-specific installation commissioned by Locust Projects gallery.

    Using a specially created app for this project, you take your mobile device and point it at certain walls or public spaces, and visual and aural experiences emerge. “Lapse” is truly on the cusp of the new frontier of art viewing. This is how Depeña describes the process, which is called augmented reality, or AR: “[It] is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment that contains elements augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated media such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.”

    So, how does this all really work? First, download the “Lapse” mobile app onto a device via the project website (it includes instructions and guides; note the app is supposed to be available after May 30). Let’s start in Museum Park in front of the Perez Art Museum of Art, with a piece titled “The Writing.” A collaboration with local artist Jillian Mayer, the project reveals itself as you move through the park with your device, with text popping up among the trees: excerpts from a fictional notebook, scribblings about love and memories. Put the phone down, and the imagery disappears.

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  • Arts

    Artist Kay Healy prompts us to weave our own tales with her fragmentary figures

    May 25, 2016, 3:42 p.m., Posted by Chip Schwartz

    Mannequins and similar human likenesses have the power to snap us back to the present moment. Catching a human form out of the corner of one's eye is often a surprise, and for a moment, these figures seem to gain life as we react to their presence. Our self-consciousness reflects what it means to be observed by a fellow person, and their motionlessness usually quickly betrays their lack of sentience.

    Kay Healy is quite interested in such avatars, not only for their ability to mimic, but for their power to change and tell stories. In “What is Real” at Napoleon gallery in Philadelphia, Healy starts with the human form and augments it, in order find out how even inanimate objects, with the right posturing, can capture the imagination and tell a story. Using fabric and stuffing, and sometimes referring to outside materials like wood or brick, Healy constructs an assortment of body parts and busts for a show that is as fantastical as it is at times unnerving.

    Kay Healy, “Carry.” Photo courtesy of Kay Healy.

    The image of a firefighter carrying a child from a burning building or a reverent believer bringing an offering to a shrine: these actions carry significant psychic weight. But what about a man–arms extended–carrying his own legs? In “Carry,” Healy offer us not only this, but a figure whose entire body is composed of red brick and mortar. Without a leg to stand on, and paradoxically steadfast in his approach, the two halves of this man seem determined to reach their destination. In offering up his lower half, he remains on course to provide viewers with a bit of his resolve and tenacity as he drifts forward.

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