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    Lecture - Ann Hamilton

    By RMartz
    Feb 11, '14 3:26 PM EST


    Welcome back everyone. We had an excellent lecture this past week with our own Ann Hamilton; a full house. Ann is an artist known for her immersive environments and large interventions, the focus of our evening talk. “Proactive, prolific, and influential”, Ann’s studio is based in Columbus where she is also a member of the OSU Art department faculty. Speaking on the importance of early childhood experiences, in her case working with cloth, Ann began her early works through such a medium and over time has incorporated it to different degrees, whether as clothing in Grad school or a dynamic object in the armory. Following the clothing project, in which a suit became encrusted with spines, this project became a wall covered with spines in which she’s sat on a shelf in the middle of this. This was beginning of her work with and within architecture as she presented it.

    Credit: Phil Arnold

    Early on she presented two projects, the intent being to show difference in how she was able to work with the space. Returning to Ohio on account of this project, she exhibited in the Wexner Center taking over the main concourse of galleries. In all senses she took over the space, covering the walls in corn husks and the floors in corn meal, with the experience of the spaces being sequential, linear. In her work at Washington University she had the opportunity to take over the entire small museum and heavily intervene on account of the building soon being demolished or renovated. The buildings walls were all singed with candles, giving a cohesive feeling to the building, to me feeling as I was coming across the aftermath of an event. They attached to the entire floor a covering of metal tags. Walking through the space you hear nothing but your footsteps, and like a silent winter morning with crunchy snow (my own metaphor), you become very aware of the space, the soot reminding you that this space is not yours. Interestingly in a project in Japan they worked with just the ceiling (for the most part) to create an immersive environment. The gallery space was formerly used during WWII to load torpedoes onto ships and thus they used thousands of charcoal sticks that were hung above the space, to create a feeling of frozen movement. Their idea, to present the haunted history of the place.


    She was asked to prepare an exhibit for the American pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the site of which was a neo-classical, temple-like building. The style of the architecture, typically seen as stable and democratic, she worked to destabilize. The front of the building was fenced off by a glass wall, blurring your image of the temple. Installing an auger system, a fine fuscia power was distributed throughout the interior, dripping down the walls and marking the brail that was finely placed; the text being Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony: The United States, which speaks of court cases, accidents, and violence, “things not easily…held within an idealized projection of democratic space”. In a project with the Carnegie institute she had the opportunity to intervene in an entire multi-story building, which was fairly derelict and been reduced down to its studs on the interior. Mandating that only one person could be in at a time, she set up an environment of discovery. A large container of wax heads was placed on the upper floor with heat lamps on it. The wax was allowed to drip and over time penetrated through all the floors, setting up a mystery for the person within.


    Though she presented many more projects, one in particular, the last, was her recent work at the New York Armory, a rather huge space. She intervened, working with the architecture, by suspending a huge sheet-of-sorts hanging in the middle of the space which was attached to an apparatus of cables and swings. As participants swung back and forth the system of cables caused the sheet to move. It was a hugely popular event with many people laying under it, sometimes for hours (apparently Gordon Gee did so). It created an intimacy within the large space. There were several other layers of events that took place within the space too, which included at the end of each day releasing pigeons that flew throughout the space, until eventually they returned to their cage high up.


    I only touched a few of the projects she presented in this really amazing lecture. The way that her projects fill the space or take over all the spaces is quite amazing. If you want to find out more visit her website at ( Following the lecture we also had the release of event of the most recent issue of 1:12, a student run journal (

    If you are in the area, Neil Denari will be visiting on February 19th for a public lecture and you can always find more on Knowltons YouTube channel ( and the school website (

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About this Blog

This blog will be a feeder for recent news, events and student work occurring at the Knowlton School at The Ohio State University. Posts will typically center around updates from the school's lecture series, exciting projects from recent student reviews and updates from other school events.

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