January 2001: Proposal selected for the first annual ArtPace Travel Grant
The streets and canals of Amsterdam are built on a grid of concentric semi-circular
streets and canals laterally intersected by straight streets and canals. For every
two feet walking in Amsterdam there are more than two bicycle wheels rolling.
On a number of short to ten day trips to the city between 97 and 99 I noticed
quite a few bicycle parts on the ground and began collecting them. They provide
evidence of quite an array of social/physical implications. Since they are usually broken
or partial when found they acquire a casualty status that enhances the beauty
inherent in (what’s left) of the design. These are things I want to draw images from.
I would like to return there and search as much of the city as possible and gather
Something else I became fascinated with was the range of sounds encountered by chance.
Many noisy narrow streets intersect quiet, narrower ones. There is a combination of light motor
vehicle traffic with sometimes very dense bicycle traffic. The canals open wide expanses
between some house rows. Many people are walking in some areas, none in others.
There is a multilingual atmosphere coupled with an open ambience that is
replicated by the circular layout. You can hear it. The experience I had over and
over was for some amazing remark to leap out of the cacophony created by the
thick street level hustle-bustle - then to simply make a turn onto another street
and find near silence, the sound of dishes being washed, or echoes of distant laughter.
I am interested in simultaneously undertaking these two pursuits – the purposeful
gathering of bicycle parts found along a systematized search grid and the accidental
collection of ambient sounds occurring along the same line. Some of the sounds found
will seem random to me, but will also be the byproduct of someone else’s unknown,
but purposeful activity that happens to cross the path of what I’m doing. I believe these
two activities, laterally entertained, will provide a structure for a good project
Each project I undertake is based on some kind of organizing principle. I do not
try to mean a particular thing. I am interested in getting under the surface of
Some recent examples:
Gloville – derived from the locale / community / history of Luxembourg.
Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits – the notion of collecting modular or“semi-site”
components from previous venues and repackaging them in a new site as an
anthology or greatest hits album. The artist as celebrity was lampooned along the way.
The Incredible Shrinking Man – conflation of carnival and child’s funeral.
Jack – early sixties British beat groups and their close association with the beginnings
of pop art formed the structure around which this work was produced.
Green Glasses – my next project, titled for lens of choice attributed to Robespierre, this project will be a view back at the 18th century where Modern Times began.