The Space Savers ProjectWhat interested you about participating in this project? How did you first hear about it?
Christopher had been thinking about organizing this project for a while, and had discussed it with a few artist friends who showed interest in it for various reasons. When it seemed like the project might be feasible, he touched base with those who had originally shown interest to see if they would commit. I am drawn to very specific projects with unique parameters, and was drawn to the challenge of working with the public in an intimidating arena that requires a sort of aggressive stance. I typically don't think of my work or posture as being aggressive, so this project seemed like a good opportunity to deal with this territory. I knew the project would make me feel extremely uncomfortable, so I thought it was something I should explore.What sort of work do you normally create? Is this divergent or does this fall in line with your previous work?
My work typically deals with perception and experience, memory and the re-presentation of moments I find compelling. It is typically installation based, with objects or experiences being employed in order to access something within the viewer, whether it be a new experience or an old memory buried deep within oneself. I see both parallels and differences between this project and my other work; the ways in which I am thinking about the viewer's approach to the piece is something I take seriously and try to understand and address, along with formal concerns associated with how parts come together in its form, color, composition, etc. In addition, I tend to gravitate towards materials which are familiar and recognizable, and employ them in a slightly humorous or different way. In terms of differences, I think again, the aggressiveness of the work is unusual for me, as well as the overt gesture of addressing a very specific situation: saving parking spots. I normally try to let work hint at what I'm thinking about, but remain loose enough for others to interpret or discover what they want. I'm hoping there will be room for this in the Space Savers project, but it will require some thoughtful consideration beyond the quick explanation of what my piece is.Please describe the space saver you've created. What inspired you? Tell me about your process.
My Space Saver, Move Along / Please Stay, came about from me feeling uncomfortable with my position as the one essentially stealing a parking spot from my neighbors. And, to be honest, I actually chose not to install it right in front of my house, because I felt so uneasy about it. Instead, it will be installed slightly further away, distancing myself from it. In a way, I wanted it to be invisible, as though I really wasn't doing anything at all, and so I thought of employing the use of a mirror, camouflaging my gesture in some way. The idea being that as a driver pulls up in their car, their reflection in the full-length mirror would fool them into thinking the spot was taken. I then started thinking about all the sculptural forms of the tents at Occupy Wall Street, etc., and began thinking about the opposite side of the mirror, facing the sidewalk. I decided while the one side would be the mirrored surface facing the street, the opposite side would face the sidewalk, and serve as a street kitty sanctuary, replete with kibbles, water, places to snooze and lounge and play, etc, to finally provide a nice, comfortable place for these kitties to feel at home and sheltered. At first, I almost backed out of committing to the project, thinking this idea of mine was shallow, silly, and dumb. But after discussing it with Christopher, he encouraged me to do it, and pointed out my project, although on the surface very silly, actually dealt with the guilt I felt in stealing one of these parking spots for myself. The guilt of stealing was forcing my hand in giving back in some way, with a generous gesture, hopefully blinding someone to the selfish act on the other side. Even the fact that it's a cumbersome set up makes it a sort of a Space Saver with reservations. You have to want to commit to this aggressive stance with my version---there's no quick and dirty sneaking in and out of there with chair, lickity split. In a way, perhaps I'm setting myself up to be caught because I'm so uncomfortable with it.Did you ever use a space saver for a parking spot before making this piece?
No, although much like Christopher, I think the artist in me has always been fascinated by the sculptural forms these things take. The thing that is so great about the Photoshop image Christopher made with all those objects crammed in, saving a spot, is that each and every one of those things were real objects used, absurd as it may seem. Perhaps coming from the suburbs, I, too, was shocked at the use of space savers, along with people parking on the middle of Broad Street. I mean, what is up with that? I need a parking permit to park in my own neighborhood where I own a house, and yet you can park in the middle of one of the busiest arteries through the city, no problem? Do you agree with the practice of saving parking space? Why or why not?
I think if there are extenuating circumstances, like one is moving and needs a spot close to their home for a short period of time, sure. But for the most part, I believe it is sort of a breaking down of an implicit social contract, that becomes reduced in some way to every-man-for-himself. I understand the reasoning behind why some people do it, but I feel it can and does devolve into a complicated game, then, of where one draws the line. It can cascade down to complete chaos and aggression, as is witnessed by the inevitable stories of violence surrounding parking spot confrontations. And the thing is, for me, it's not isolated to just saving parking spots; I view this in connection with individuals who trash their neighborhoods, who sweep garbage into our sewers, who cut you off on the highway, who double-park on a street blocking traffic when there's a perfectly good spot to pull into, who feel it's fine to yap during an entire film...I view it all as this gradual deterioration of being respectful and considerate of others, and only being concerned with your needs. And what is troubling about it is that it puts me in a position where I either have to choose to bite my tongue and look the other way, or confront the perpetrator and take this also-aggressive stance I might not want to take.Will you use the space saver you've created to save your parking space after the exhibition?
I have three kitties at the moment, so perhaps parts will be salvaged for their sake and enjoyment. But as a Space Saver, no. My neighbors would probably kill me. But, then again, maybe they wouldn't, since it seems to be acceptable in this city.