Erik Sanner Home Visual Other About

location hunting

sometimes people ask me how i come up with projects, or how they evolve. it's always different, and i say that, and then they say yeah, but do i find the space first, or have an idea and then decide to make a piece, and then it gets a little awkward when i give an example of something i'm working on, because then it's a thing of "but i don't understand how you came up with that." so, one of the purposes of this blog, probably the main purpose, is if you're curious about how my work gets made, this should be tracking it.

where ideas come from and how thoughts make themselves known to our consciousness is one of the more basic everyday things i believe most of us have no clue about. and i pay a lot of attention to a sort of "inner voice" - any hint of a desire, if it seems to repeat itself, i'll follow instinct or intuition, and just believe that some part of me knows what it wants to do, what i'm going to want to do really, and that has really made my life feel more authentic. the more i try to figure out what i really want to do (and again part of this goes back to friendship, a long long time ago i had just a few conversations with michael, and he said, repeatedly, in a very memorable tone of voice, bluntly, "what do you want to do?") the more capable i seem to become at doing things, and the more passionate i am about my work, and the more other people seem to want to step up and help me. and sometimes i really need a hand, and it's an amazing feeling to have a friend say "yes, i'd love to help you tape and stack boxes" or "is there anything i can do?" but what triggers the impulse, it's very mysterious and i don't know. sometimes you can come up with airtight rationale in hindsight, but it's hard to believe that was the reason.

one of the triggers for chess was wandering around at night and seeing this handball court.

similar feeling to genesis of unfulfilled, this big blank canvas that so clearly wants video art on it.
and during this project, incidentally, i met the wife of a man who organized a film festival to be shown on that wall, but it was cancelled - anyway, i'm not the first to feel the call of the handball court on 10th avenue at 48th street, that's for sure. this surface wants to support art. given that there are chess tables nearby, the chess project seemed to fit, this actually goes way way back, i can't quite piece the timing together clearly, but it has to do with my earliest thoughts about collaboration. if you wanted to make a painting with another person, what are some of the ways you could regulate it? brush size, sure. same amount of paint, whatever. the chess timeclock came to mind. i always enjoyed the precise fairness of chess. same number of pieces, same amount of time, who goes first is subject to chance - level playing field right?

anyway now i'm deep into chess and there has been a development or a stall depending on your point of view. my goal is to always get the work more distilled, to really make it the thing that seems to make it the most it it can be, if that makes any sense at all. thats a goal, anyway, an aspiration. make things that have integrity and somehow express the core of what they are. now, the recent body of work i've been engaged in making, as a whole, for a few years, i began to thin
k of as moving paintings. whether they are or not is an argument in progress, between myself, olun, maybe other people, i can't tell, certainly internally, i have it every day, in this pre-nanotech crude undeveloped world of ours, without paint that actually moves, are these video-projections-on-pigment really moving paintings? can they really be thought of like that? ok so one thing that was driven home to me recently was the harder definition of painting as opposed to say drawing or photography or collage. i tend to very inclusive definitions sometimes, so a painting has been color arranged on a two-dimensional plane. what about photography? what about drawing? then you get into pigment and brush, right? and so, i want to make more painterly paintings. all of a sudden this call-of-the-handball-court and the commitment to doing chess in the park, and the painting is all there, it's this projection i need to make, is not something i can just do, just like that. a projection on a handball court would feel like video art. it wouldn't feel like a painting. and it wouldn't feel very much like chess or rules either, which are important. but what i really want to do, i want to project onto a black-and-white grid, with grey on either side of the square section. yes, that will look very chessy and very interesting and very beautiful, i hope, i believe. and anyway, that's what i want to do, even if it's boring or ugly to someone.

does the handball court still make sense? unlikely i can get permission to paint on it. hang panels? drape with fabric? hours of nervous thinking. the big one lately has been "what if it rains?" i have this fear of my laptop and projector getting wet, and that's it, no more art for the evening, folks. nightmare. so, re-evaluating, yes, there's probably a way to do this thing at that site. but is that site so important? i'm starting to think no, that's not the most important thing. the way the paintings were made, and the actual construction of the actual piece, that's what important. actually i believe that once complete it can be shown pretty much anywhere in the world. electricity and lack of water pouring onto the equipment would be prerequisites, but otherwise i can conceive of a limited edition of sixty-four new media installations.

so starting with the first one, back to hell's kitchen, to the birth of these paintings, and now i'm looking for somewhere to show. so yes this piece started off in a way because of a location which was calling for art, not just to me. but now the piece just wants to get out of my head and studio and computer and do it's i'm-art-look-at-me thing. i think. i believe.

here's hell's kitchen:

hell's kitchen park isn't on that map, but it's pretty much dead-center. some other parks are listed

but does it even need to be a park? somewhere it can be up for longer than a night, maybe a month, wouldn't that be better? and somewhere the rain doesn't fall on the laptop, that would be nice, too. maybe project through a window onto a big painting, or maybe do something translucent hanging in a window and the projector is deeper in the building - so, yeah, looking for that place.

some initial thoughts today:

this hospital might be great. not on
ly do they host the community board meetings:
but one of my nieces was born there. could project from inside through that center window. already chess-grid pattern.

one drawback, view from across the street not so great during leafy seasons.

hudson hotel is nice and dark inside, with lots of beautiful spaces, but it's not super-public. would be a great space for something.

time warner center - well, there are a lot of great windows, that's for sure. and it's nearby. but it doesn't feel like hell's kitchen. and i bet they really just want advertisers. but i can approach them.

anyway this isn't list-narrowing time, it's consider-some-options time, and if i still feel that
roosevelt hospital makes more sense than the handball court at hell's kitchen park on sunday, might be time to change the plan and figure out who to talk to.

one advantage of wandering around looking for a good place to show chess is the opportunity to view traffic cones i wouldn't otherwise encounter. (with these, it's all about the surroudings, the colors and textures and materials that are distinctly not orange and plastic.)

to close, here's a self portrait, with cone. goodnight.