Connecting the not so obvious dots

Connecting the not so obvious dots

A.N.D. Social Practice – the project I am doing for my ZERO1 Fellowship - is also about connecting aspects of thought and practice that aren’t necessarily manifested; an intriguing and worthwhile pursuit. For this blog, I wanted to share two different projects by two different artists, and extracting what I see as a common aspect in both. These two projects were part of a six-project compilation I prepared for April's South First Fridays event at the ZERO1 Garage. The projects are shown in these two videos – by the way, if you are in a hurry, give yourself more time: the total duration is almost one hour (but it is well worth it)!

So Sorry, by Ai Weiwei, 2009
Sandbox, by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, 2010

After you watch the two videos, you may wonder what they have in common. In the first one, you see the investigation led by Ai Weiwei’s studio to identify the students who died during the Sichuan earthquake as a result of corruption and poor building constructions, which led to a confrontation between Ai Weiwei and the Chengdu police.  In the second one you see the magical play of small scale and large scale projections on the beach of Santa Monica, where people are virtually made very small and very large and have fun playing with the overlapping of these two different scales at the same time.

"Glow Santa Monica." Glow Santa Monica. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2013. 

While it is easy to see that surveillance on his daily life is an important point Ai Weiwei is making in So Sorry, it is only after Rafael Lozano-Hemmer tells the viewer that beyond the fantastical play of small scale-large scale he is also exploring issues of surveillance, that you see a connection between these two pieces. And do you start wondering how important is the topic of surveillance in your life, here in the USA? Do you ask yourself, how come Ai Weiwei is so in-the-face about it and Lozano-Hemmer is subtler, instead?

But how does the connection of less apparent aspects in artists’ projects matter for A.N.D. Social Practice? Here is the core: I want to allow for that not-so-obvious connection to emerge if a user will search artists’ projects by a certain keyword. I want to allow for a search that will provide for results that may appear more serendipitous rather than structured. (This of course will require my feeding the appropriate keywords to the web developer, so that he can work his magic in the back end of the platform). Joel Slayton made a point of “a navigator experience” at yesterday’s meeting with all the ZERO1 Fellows. Brilliant Joel, I so value those meetings!


Top Photo:"Ai Weiwei - So Sorry - Prestel." Die Verlage der Verlagsgruppe Random House: Autoren, Bücher, Hörbücher, eBooks & mehr. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2013,