on view from April 12-May 18th, 2012 in downtown Durham
This spring the Durham Storefront Project invited Triangle-area artists to examine the growth in downtown activity through an architectonic, theoretical, or experiential lens. After reviewing over 30 proposals, the Durham Storefront Project and its volunteer jury are proud to announce its final selection of artists who fittingly explore points of connection within the spaces themselves as well as the downtown environment and its surrounding community.
The spring series asks viewers to consider how they travel through Durham. The installations will interrupt the usual journey from A to B as viewers traverse new pathways to the view the work of 6 artists from across the region.
The windows of Center Studio Architecture at 339 W Main St, artist Jessye McDowell feature “Static Live.” This interactive piece displays simple animated graphics that respond to the movements of passersby. The program generates independent particles that take on lives of their own after the initial moment of interaction by the viewer. As viewers play with the installation, they’ll see the immediate and rebounding effects of their interactions.
Continuing along Main St., the next installation walkers will encounter is placed in the windows of 212 W Main St., the Trust Building (Teermark Building). Elsewhere and Whitney Trettien are transforming this storefront into a “biblio-geography” – a landscape of books that highlights the book’s purpose as a site of exchange between people and ideas. Inspired by the building’s past as a bank and the constant exchange of knowledge, money, and time that occurred, there will also be a new opportunity for exchange between the installation and the viewer. As people pass the window, they can pause and text the artwork, which will respond using words culled from the books.
Turning left onto Market St., walkers will soon pass a third installation in the windows of 119 Market St. Featuring the powerful documentary work of Justin Cook, viewers will see the faces of friends, neighbors, and strangers. The images are part of Cook’s COMMITMENT | NC documentary project, an initiative he started in order to communicate the injustice of the proposed amendment to the NC constitution, which will be voted on by North Carolinians on May 8th. The exact words of the amendment read “Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.”
Cook’s images show couples and families building their lives together. They convey an ongoing struggle for equal treatment under the law, revealing truth through personal stories and real emotion in a way that is unique to documentary photography.
Crossing the CCB plaza and passing the city’s iconic bronze bull, walkers encounter another storefront installation at Through this Lens (303 E Chapel Hill St.) In “Bringing Nature In,” artist Marc Russo creates an uncomfortable and harmonic combination of digital and natural elements. Surrounded by natural textures, foliage, and falling leaves, two video monitors play abstract documentary footage of places throughout Durham.
Walkers can continue on to Roger’s Alley at 200 North Mangum St. where they will can view an installation by Gabrielle Duggan. Entitled “Wrapped Interiors: Sinew and Synapses,” the piece reveals ideas of survival through adaptation and the impact that has on the mind and body. The installation itself is evidence of adaptation as the fibers create a site-specific network connecting found and makeshift talismans and transform an empty window into a site of public art.
Looping back to Orange St., walkers can journey through downtown with the interactive installation “Depiction.” The installation starts with the large, hand-painted QR code featured in the window of Scratch Bakery. The artist Parasol B created a series of QR codes, which take participants on a tour through downtown and prompts them to contribute to a photo album of less-noticed details about Durham. Parasol B destroys and maintains the traditional boundaries of fine arts, creating works that are both interactive and participatory, thus defying the “don’t touch” rule, while creating barriers to accessing the meaning of the work – the QR codes require new technology and expertise if the viewer wants to move beyond the surface of the painting.
The spring series is accompanied by live public performances during the Durham Art Council’s Annual Spring Art Walk on April 28-29 and May 3rd Friday on May 18th. The Triangle Performing Arts Network, an organizing umbrella for Triangle-area performing artists, will gather downtown on Saturday, April 28th for a live, public performance that travels throughout downtown. In addition, the Sacrificial Poets will perform on Sunday, April 29th.