Thursday, December 9, 2010

On a gold road to finding Paradise an interview with Anne Albagli

AN INTERVIEW OF PARADISE: A collaborative site specific installation with artist, Joshua Goode, featured at the 11th Biennial Print and Book Conference. This installation featured 'Paradise' by Anne Albagli and "Lost" by Joshua Goode. Over ten unique monotyped prints of flora hung in an 8ft high geodesic dome, with soil and rocks layered at the bottom. Harpist, Devorah Schiff, played excerpts of the music she plays to patients in hospitals throughout the exhibition.

What type of dome did you build and why was the dome construction important?

For the installation, Paradise Lost, I built an 8ft high Geodesic dome. For this installation it was important that the dome was sturdy, could support my prints, and support the wear and tear of viewers going through the dome. It was also important that the dome could be transportable and fabricated in a minimal amount of time. After much research and building several moquettes, I figured that building a geodesic dome from Acrylic rods would be the best for this installation both visually and practically.

How did you create your prints?

All of the prints hung in the dome were unique monotyped prints created on the etching press (in Pyramid's beautiful etching studio!). Before printing I created these silhouetted images of flora from acetate. Once these were created I soaked my paper, mixed up the colors I wanted, inked up the shapes, and sent it all through the press multiple times. The fun part of this was the spontaneity and experimentation of what occurred with each print. Some of the fun things discovered during the process: printing the ghosts of the forms helped create depth, the colors and shadows made when shapes overlapped, and the new textures created within a confined shape when mineral spirits were added.

I know that your piece had an auditory element with a harpist. Why did you want an instrumentalist?

It was not so much that I wanted an instrumentalist, as that the harp was exactly the instrument the installation needed. The installation, Paradise Lost, (simply by the title) already comes with many narratives and religious connotations associated with it, as does the harp. Many different religions have various associations with the harp and I wanted these associations to be alluded to in the installation. However, Devora Schiff plays the harp for a different reason. She plays to patients in the hospital and it has proven that the harp has many healing benefits see: (the group she is a part of). I thought this was an interesting component especially as it related to the other dome.

Describe the relationship between the paradise domes.

When Joshua Goode and I decided to do this installation, we pretty much decided to create heaven and hell, while drawing from personal and more universal narratives... and Paradise Lost was the result. While there was much planning done individually for this installation, there were some great surprises that occurred once it was installed- for example hearing the harp music travel into Josh's dome gave it a whole other feeling and created a different relationship as you traveled between the domes.

Describe the role of the gold road.

In creating "paradise" I thought about how I wanted the viewer to interact with the piece - was it enough for them to just see the prints? to hear the music? to smell the soil laid on the ground? I decided I needed them to help the piece evolve, that their presence pushed the piece forward and gave it purpose. When we enter sacred spaces there are often rituals performed there. I thought it was interesting to force the viewer to literally see the installation from another perspective and to reflect on their own life in relation to the installation. I also thought the sort of bowing motion created when viewers wrote on the gold road was an important part of the piece.

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