Laser art exhibit to be projected from law tower October 10-13

09.27.13

Source: Transcultural Exchange

The winner of the 2010 German Sound Art Prize, Florian Dombois, is creating a temporary, site- specific public artwork for TransCultural Exchange's 2013 Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts, Engaging Minds.

uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 will stretch across the Boston skyline from October 10th to the 13th from dusk to 2 pm. It will consist of a highly visible red laser, used to connect two towers, Boston University's School of Law — Josep Lluís Sert's modernist icon, nicknamed by the students as the ugliest building on campus (uboc No. 1) — and the new dormitory, Student Village 2 (StuVi2). The laser also will function as a range finder, which will measures the distance — the architectural and geophysical dialog — between the two and, in real time, project their movements onto a small screen.

According to the curator Mary Sherman, "it is an elegant metaphor, the perfect Conference centerpiece. Situated at a unique crossroads, the laser stretches across one of the only junctures in America where all the most common modes of transportation and ways in which people are brought together converge: It spans a major interstate (I-90), busy flight pattern (Logan Airport’s), waterway (the Charles River), railroad line (Amtrak and the local commuter rail), and auto and pedestrian bridge (the Boston University Bridge). As such, it is an ideal reflection of the Conference’s convening of people from around the globe, united by their belief in the power of art."

The laser will link the towers, which are more than half a mile apart. Their foundations are tied to the same shifting tectonic plates that make up the Earth's elastic crust. Locally, they are buffeted by the same surrounding traffic and winds. Consequently, they move sometimes closer, sometimes further apart. They share much in common; yet, like between us all, a distance remains.

The buildings chosen for uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 also share similar physical attributes — most notably, their roof and profile. One, though, is designed by a star architect, older and clearly of a previous generation. The other is designed by an architectural firm, clad in shiny, new materials, more obviously contemporary and unmistakably ambivalent in its relationship to its elder. Despite stuVi2's commanding height and placement, its mimicry of the School of Law's profile reflects the same fear, mingled with longing to break away from its roots that its inhabitants and, at times, all of us must feel towards our own individual and collective pasts.

The projected 'conversation' between the two structures is crucial to the piece's meaning. The artist insisted that the work be more than a riveting skyline spectacle. The laser visually will bind the buildings into a singular form; the projection, though, will reveal something less rigid, another mode of being — one that does not overpower, merge or subsume the other into a new formation. uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 aims to touch upon the heart of what it means to be human — the necessity of flexibility and exchange. It presents a fluid give-and-take reciprocity, an ever-evolving basis for a more enduring connection.

uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 will present a marvelous co-existence, which parallels TransCultural Exchange's core mission to create a greater understanding of world cultures — one that recognizes, celebrates and explores the differences between us, what we share in common and how we can respectfully support one another.

About the Artist:
Florian Dombois is an artist who studied geophysics and philosophy in Berlin, Kiel and Hawaii. From 2003 to 2011, he was a professor at the Bern University of the Arts (Switzerland), where he founded the “Institute Y” for transdisciplinary exchange between the arts in research and teaching. He currently serves as a professor at the Zürich University of the Arts and is also a visiting professor at the Collegium Helveticum, ETH Zürich. Additionally, he has held teaching positions in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States.

Dombois has shown widely nationally and internationally, including in solo and group shows at the Kunsthalle Bern, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur, ZKM Karlsruhe, Museum Ludwig Koblenz, Fundació Suñol Barcelona, Riga Art Space and CIC Cairo. In 2010 he received the German Sound Art Prize. His work also is the subject of the Kunsthalle Bern monograph Florian Dombois: What Are the Places of Danger. Works 1999- 2009, (Berlin: argobooks, 2010).

About TransCultural Exchange's Conference:
Produced every other year, TransCultural Exchange's Conferences on International Opportunities in the Arts' aim is to let artists know about the wealth of opportunities for them to participate, interact and work with their international peers. The Conferences bring together hundreds of artists with speakers from more than forty countries - curators, critics, gallery dealers and artist-in-residency directors. They are the ideal bridge from MFA programs to real world practice. Activities range from tours of MIT's Art and Architecture program, a session hosted by the International Art Critics Association (AICA,), informal gatherings and panel discussions to portfolio reviews. The Conference schedule is available at http://www.transculturalexchange.org/conference_2013/schedule.htm

With Boston University as this year's academic host, the bulk of the panels will take place at the school's George Sherman Union with other activities throughout Boston and Cambridge, including at MIT, Harvard University, the Boston Center for the Arts and Isabella Steward Gardner Museum. This year's theme Engaging Minds is meant to encourage artists not only to attend programs where they can become acquainted with other cultures and meet/work with their international peers, but also to address many artists’ growing desire to interact with other fields of study. Speakers, such as astronomer and Voyager team scientist Merav Opher, biomedical modeling inventor Crispin Weinberg, New York Times best-seller Reif Larson, cognitive interaction technologist Florian Grond and fashion designer Carla Fernandez have been invited to engage artists in their work - to inspire and serve as catalysts for new avenues of artistic exploration, new points of intersection, where barriers dissolve and alternate forms of understanding evolve.

The legendary pioneer in performance and electronic music Laurie Anderson will serve as the Conference keynote speaker/performer. Michael Dukakis will formally welcome all the international guests at the Friday evening opening reception.

uboc No. 1 & stuVi2 Sponsors: TransCultural Exchange, Boston University's College of Fine Arts, Boston University's Arts Initiative - Office of the Provost, Lightwave International, swissnex San Francisco, swissnex Boston and SWISS airlines.