LAND studio: Annual See Also exhibit at Cleveland Public Library offers opportunity for ‘Dialogue’
Over the last seven years, the Eastman Reading Garden at Cleveland Public Library has been home to some of the most fascinating public art as part of the See Also series. Each summer, LAND studio partners with Cleveland Public Library to bring creative, innovative, and thought-provoking works of art to this already beautiful public space. Following a politically divisive year, Buffalo-based artists Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster brought their unique style of public art to Cleveland with ‘Dialogue,’ hoping to spark conversation beyond individual comfort zones.
“We were inspired by the idea of creating an installation that would encourage playful interactions between friends and strangers,” shared Jamrozik and Kempster. “We saw an opportunity to tap into the historical idea of public space as a place where one might come into contact with and into conversation with people of different backgrounds and views, the agora. With the artwork, we wanted to highlight the very solitary experience that we often create for ourselves in contemporary public space through technology, where we are surrounded by others but in fact only interact with the echo chamber of our social media platforms. We thought of ‘Dialogue’ as a very analogue social infrastructure that would facilitate and spark conversations.”
Centered in the middle of Eastman Reading Garden, ‘Dialogue’ is a circle of brightly colored interlaced sound tubes (reminiscent of playground sound tubes), providing an opportunity to create spontaneous conversations and connect individuals in a public space. While a goal of public art installations is to create conversation, Jamrozik and Kempster recognize that most individuals do not embrace that opportunity. “Public space has always offered opportunities to encounter strangers, yet while we may occupy a common space our experiences often remain solitary,” says Jamrozik and Kempster. “Between the current political climate and the echo-chambers of our world-views created by social media, the need for shared physical experiences is paramount and ‘Dialogue’ offers a spark to start them. Through simple, small dialogues and moments of spontaneous interaction we can start to relate to one another and to speak with other members of the community who may hold opposing views to our own.”
Being based in a rustbelt city, Jamrozik and Kempster acknowledge the ability public art has to make people see their neighborhoods and cities in a new light. “Whether it is a mural, a sculptural installation or a participatory event, public art is a way of intervening and caring for areas that are neglected and giving them a sense of place,” says Jamrozik and Kempster. “In these contexts, public art also has a greater responsibility to enhance the quality of life, in however small of a way, and to become a positive contribution to its particular context.”
See Also will be on exhibit through the fall.
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