Mary Miss and the city as a living laboratory

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Monday 5 November 2012
Ron Brownson

The Indianapolis Museum of Art are leaders in the use of online media in their programmes. 

Recently, New York artist Mary Miss gave an illustrated talk about her project FLOW (Can You See the River) where she mapped people living in Indianapolis with their environment. She is fascinated with how people communicate in the place that they inhabit. Her recent work has many points of comparison with Hou Hanru’s theme for the 2013 Auckland Triennial – what is it like to live here?

Installation photograph from the Mary Miss FLOW (Can You See the River) 2012 project for the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Courtesy: Indianapolis Museum of Art

Mary links urban planning and the arts by focusing on home territory. Instead of making art in, and for, other places, she wants to address where people live and how artists shape public space.

Mary’s project was for City as a Living Laboratory (CaLL) where sustainability became a tangible reality through the arts. This was a project developed by the artist and Marda Kirn, Executive Director of EcoArts Connections.

You can see Mary’s projects for the 100 acres surrounding the IMA. This is one of the key environments in the USA where artists and museums collaborate on the environment. Mary’s lecture about her citywide project FLOW (Can You See the River) is fascinating.

Looking at such use of media in relation to art projects reinforced my belief that we should have similar media arts initiatives. Building arts projects with parallel website/YouTube/Twitter etc components. How often have you wanted to hear an artist’s talk that you were not able to attend? How regularly do you need visual updates about ongoing arts projects?

With our recent Home AKL project, we involved the larger community virtually. The public interacted way beyond the physical exhibition.