Wednesday, November 26thGallery Closed
Thursday, November 27thGallery Closed
Friday, November 28thArts Marketplace Opening
Saturday, November 29thGallery Closed
 
#

SOAP BLOG

FLO(we){u}R Interns

May 22 2012

#

During FLO(we){u}R our 4 installation interns: Maggie, Mike, Laura and Julia have dedicated themselves to the project as factory foremen (and fore-women). Each intern leads production with artists Amber Ginsburg and Joseph Madrigal. They mix clay, pack molds, dry bombs and clean the factory. Every step of produciton and factory work is on display during FLO(we){u}R and visitors can even participate in making bombs. Every Saturday in May, 12 - 5pm visitors can join the team and help produce terra cotta bombs.

 

 

Add Comment | View Comments


FLO(we){u}R

May 21 2012

#

Add Comment | View Comments


FLO(we){u}R

May 20 2012

Shannon Stratton in response to FLO(we){u}R:

The idea of Bernie Boston’s 1967 Pulitzer-nominated photo of George Harris placing a carnation in a rifle barrel has become an iconic image of peaceful protest. The gesture that earned a generation the moniker “flower children” has become a staple of anti-war protest while continuing to reappear in films, graffiti and graphic design.

“Flowering” as a symbol of nonviolent revolution was continually redefined after Vietnam, with Portugal’s Carnation Revolution in 1974 and the later Color Revolutions in the former USSR and Balkans in the 2000s. While the latter have not been entirely bloodless, the idea of the flower has been adopted to represent civil resistance, whether actual flowers are employed or not, from Kyrgyzstan’s 2005 Tulip Revolution to the recent naming of Arab Spring protests, Tunisia’s The Jasmine Revolution and Egypt’s The Lotus Revolution.

Perhaps taking the idea that every revolution begins with flowers, Amber Ginsburg and Joseph Madrigal have collapsed the history of military training, the craft of industrial ceramics, and forms of nonviolent protest into FLO(we){u}R, a site for activating material, histories and audiences. Staging a temporary terra cotta factory in The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, Ginsburg and Madrigal set to work casting roughly 14,000 lbs of clay over 5 weeks into hollow, ceramic dummy bombs. Alongside this operation is a selection of seedshakers, constructed from a similar mold, filled with flour and seed mixture to be checked out and used for acts of informal urban gardening. While the connection between filling bombs with seed mixture seems rooted in the now iconic juxtaposition of ammunition and flowers, a less familiar history underlies FLO(we){u}R and its play between spellings: the manufacture of test bombs across the United States towards the end of WWI.

In 2001, 1,000 ‘dummy’ bombs were unearthed in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, where Federal Terra Cotta of Woodbridge and New Jersey Terra Cotta of Perth Amboy had produced architectural terra cotta for ornamental cladding. The bombs had been left on a pallet by a railroad siding, eventually growing over with weeds until rediscovered by the Woodbridge Historical Association. The bombs had been used in training for aerial bombers when the United States entered into the war in 1917. With architectural work drying up during wartime, the terra cotta firms temporarily manufactured these dummies on commission, which were filled with plaster or white flour in order to leave a mark where they had burst open upon impact. For FLO(we){u}R, Ginsburg and Madrigal offer up white blooming, clover and urban forage mixtures mixed with white flour.

FLO(we){u}R presents multiple, generative actions. The reproduction of the bomb, via original blueprints, is an exercise in visualizing and acting out histories, putting both the artists and audience in contact with the labor behind their original manufacture. But as their press release states,
FLO(we){u}R inserts a poetic undoing into that military history, by filling the bombs with seed mixture and deploying them around Minneapolis via a check-out system that puts a second generative act in the hands of volunteers: the spreading of seeds. If the flower has become a symbol of civil resistance, by placing the seedshaker in the hands of volunteers, civil resistance is posed to grow, through wide dispersal over time, across the landscapes volunteers choose to intervene in.

Deviation is key to this project. While the artists work to activate materials and objects through their intertwined reproduction, the narrative deviates away from the history they re-perform. While the original dummy bombs were employed to train pilots in accuracy, the reproduction bombs are employed to activate deviations. The seedshakers can be checked out for lone seed-walks or Soap Factory visitors can participate in artist-led walks though the park system or bicycle seed rides intended on random dispersal. The artists have derived a project from the initial history of an object, and in turn, positioned those objects for another possible dérive on the part of the participant. Perhaps these persons will follow the psychogeographical contours of the city, their usual relationship with the city altered, heightened and changed by the introduction of the seedshaker into their explorations. Random deviation is also left to the birds, the wind and the rain by the close of the exhibition when unfired bombs filled with mixture will be deployed at a number of locations – leaving them to break and melt away into the earth with the contents left to chance.

FLO(we){u}R provides opportunities for encounters with materials and objects. The smell of wet clay, the feel of terra cotta, a wandering walk, the sway of shaking seeds from the seedshakers. While Ginsburg and Madrigal are on hand ‘demonstrating’ the manufacture of these dummy bombs, acting out a history out-of-context, it is the chance of activating these materials and objects ourselves, as visitors, that works to re-narratize them. The tactile is a powerful place for learning and memory, with encoding beginning through perception by the senses. Sociologist Richard Sennett calls for craftsmanship to be understood as an important world-making process – that is the “craft of making physical things” as insight into how to relate to others. With that in mind, FLO(we){u}R offers a live consideration of not just making, but re-making things as a proposition for not only how to relate to others, but to histories, landscapes, materials and objects.

- Shannon R. Stratton, Chicago.

Richard Sennett, The Craftsman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008) p. 289


Shannon Stratton is founder and Executive Director of threewalls, a contemporary art center in Chicago, Illinois. She teaches a seminar in material culture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and will be the Cranbrook Academy Critical Studies Fellow in fall 2012. In spring 2013 she will curate the exhibition, “Resonating Bodies” at The Soap Factory.

Add Comment | View Comments


FLO(we){u}R Production

May 20 2012

#

A plaster mold after being cracked open. The terra cotta bombs are then air dried and racked with hundreds of other bombs.

Add Comment | View Comments


FLO(we){u}R Production

May 17 2012

#

Add Comment | View Comments