|After months of planning, weeks of fabrication and painting off-site, and one all-night build-a-thon, Jesse Bransford's spectacular installation has opened in Sam Pollack Square at Brookfield Place (map).
Very few works of art would benefit in juxtaposition with Santiago Calatrava's lofty architecture, but to his
great credit Bransford's work looks like it was meant to be there. It will only be up through June 15, however,
so don't miss your chance to see it--and in fact, interact with it--in person.
Drawing on the iconographic history of cartography and satellite imagery, among many other reference points,
Bransford's work functions as both a beautiful object and mysterious cipher--a high-concept approach to StreetScape's
exploration of art that engages with the urban geography. The palpable sense of mystery surrounding
this installation is for good reason--there is much more to 43.646944°, -79.378611° than meets the eye. Suffice it to say
that viewers who pursue the meaning behind Bransford's symbols will no doubt find the experience--quite literally--
rewarding... but we have probably already revealed too much. Perhaps we should let the artist himself provide some
"Most architecture is taken for granted - we have been living in
modified spaces for so long that we rarely question the conventions of
the spaces we make for ourselves - we forget that these spaces are
built by people. Every time I make a new piece I have to remember this
again and again.
That said, I think there has been a radical shift in the last 20 years
in how we conceive space. Not that the spaces we move through have
changed so much, but that we have changed, our experience of space has
changed and the tools and interfaces have changed.
I am of course going to invoke virtual spaces and the ever growing
presence of these virtualized spaces in our consciousness. If you
haven't looked at your home address in google maps or an equivalent
service yet, I highly recommend it. Seeing your home or apartment
building zoom into focus from a larger perspective recalls the
prophesy of a global consciousness or awareness of the world as a
finite structure first spoken of in the 60's when we first saw the
Earth from space. These visualizations at our fingertips are becoming
structures that we use to navigate in real space. Maps are literally
overlaid upon our real space and become an interface just as 'real' as
what we see with our own eyes. Indeed, I find myself relying more on
the maps of spaces I interact with than the signs and signals the
streets give me.
Something that comes into sharp focus when I think about these ideas
is what, after all the hi resolution images and maps, remains hidden.
You as a viewer, though implied in every event you attend, are the
intangible. I suppose that is why I have sought to link the mysteries
of the work I've made for the festival specifically to the viewer.
This piece is even less than half a work without you. If you're
standing in the piece, you are at the Global Positioning System
coordinates 43.646944°, -79.378611°. The 'art' of this piece is more
in what you do with what has been given, and how you react to what is