Friday, October 7, 2011

Get out of my trailer

What my kidneys will be looking like in a few years
Earlier in the year, I sent in an application for Kohler's Art/Industry Residency. I haven't word one back from those bastards. So... I'll try again and apply for 2013 pretty soon.

It would have been a lot of fun had I been accepted. They have a cast iron foundry and a clay studio, and I had planned on utilizing both of them, making cope and drag sandcast molds for the iron, and plaster molds to slip cast porcelain. The obstacle for me in the application process was that you were supposed to come up with a concept for the works. Why can't I just make cool shit? No, there has to be some social value I guess. I came up with something in about 20 minutes, and this is what my proposal was:

"Although my primary interest has been figurative work, I am interested in depicting the figure as an ecological consortium.

We like to think of ourselves as discrete individuals, but the fact of the matter is we are communities of cells - not only human cells, but bacterial cells as well. It is estimated that there are ten times as many microbial cells in our bodies as human cells.

The Human Microbiome Project has recently identified perhaps a hundred times as much microbial genetic material as human within our bodies.
Our bodies can be viewed as entire worlds, with lush metaphorical rain forests within the gastrointestinal tract, and stark Sahara-like conditions on regions of skin such as the forehead.

My intent would be to render these conditions using both cast iron and slip-cast porcelain. The idea is to craft human anatomical or cellular portions in iron, and present an aura, or halo, of slip cast bacterial inhabitants of the human host community.

For example, a piece could include a larger than life size portions of molars, gums, tongue, etc. along with the porcelain bacterial denizens associated with it. Or, a life sized figure with a bacterial cloud surrounding and/or or suffusing it.  Or a representative human cell candidate, with a retinue of bacterial cells."
Your standard human cell
I'm going to continue to push this theme in the proposal next year, but slightly different. I suppose it had to do with a passage I read about relative size of bacteria and human cells. Bacteria can range from .5 to 5 microns in length. Human cells average around 10 microns. But in average, you typical volume of human cell to bacteria is about the same, scaled up, as a house to a person, or better still, a trailer.

Your standard trailer park trailer
So, that gave me the idea of a trailer park. I don't think I'll make the whole trailer park. I'll probably just make one trailer, but the trailer would be a morph of a trailer park trailer mobile home and a human cell. The resulting object would be of  slip cast and hand built porcelain.  

Human trailer park denizen
And then the little bacterial trailer park denizens? Pretty much as they are, with no attempt to anthropomorphize them (they'd just look like Mr. Peanut anyway), but they would be cast iron. And the beautiful thing is, I can do it all with the college's facilities. I just need to buy a clay-lined crucible and some class 25 grey iron scrap, and I can work in cast iron with our furnaces. Yay!

And then I'll have visual aids to go with my proposal to Kohler. I'll keep y'all posted.


  1. Sounds cool to me but I put an alligator in a composition of native flora and fauna for a hospital and they made take him out.

  2. Since I'm neither selling nor showing, I don't see what I have to lose at the moment.