If a tree falls, does it make a sound? – E.Aaron Ross and Samuel Glidden

E.Aaron Ross
“204 Hits Illuminating, Exhausting”

This piece follows a previous piece of a similar format where I find a tool that seems out of place in its environment and use it to make a performance and sculpture in the environment it was found in.

While the last piece was an urban tool in a rural setting, for this new piece, “204 Hits Illuminating, Exhausting”, I wanted the reverse. I purchased an ax from the Swap-O-Rama on Chicago’s South Side, and located a group of cement pillars only a few blocks away at an abandoned factory. In the pitch black and silent night, I swung the ax into the pillar until I was too physically exhausted to continue. The sound of the ax hitting the pillar created a sharp and metallic echo, triggering a pair of audio sensitive flashes to fire, illuminating the scene for a brief moment for two video cameras and one still camera.

With each swing, dust and cement filled the air before audibly sprinkling the ground. Towards the end of my performance (approximately 8 minutes), the battery life of the flashes also became exhausted, firing less frequently (sometimes only every few hits or out of sync with the hit, allowing sparks from the ax to be visible). Eventually, the flashes stopped firing all together, and I myself stopped soon after from physical exhaustion.

This work produced a 2 channel video installation, 23 photos from the still camera connected to flash (when the two fired in succession to create a lit image), and a 3 piece photo installation using 1 photo of the performance, 1 photo of the pillar after the performance, and the ax itself mounted in a light box.

“204 Hits Illuminating, Exhausting” seeks to embody a fruitless anger and masculinity that I find repulsive, but intrinsic in myself. This work is an exercise in futility and aggression and its necessary expression.
204 Hits - 1C6A9527

204 Hits - freeze_frames

204 Hits - IMG_8357

E. Aaron Ross is a 29 year old single white man living in Chicago. He grew up in the Western Suburbs,skateboarding and playing music in punk and hardcore bands, before attending the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he graduate with one B.F.A. in Moving Image (video/ film/ studio art), and a second B.F.A. in Graphic Design. He is the product of a blue-collar conservative father from the South-ern United States, and a workaholic single mother from Indiana.

Samuel Glidden
“Digging Graves/Buried Dreams”

It is snowing and I walk for a while down side streets until I reach a dead end and climb over some clusters of rocks and end up on a beach next to a wooded area I have never seen before. I blindfold myself and walk down the beach, recording whatever was in front of me. I reach the woods and wander into it, cutting my hands and face on branches and thorns. As time passes it begins to snow harder and I am overwhelmed with fear of the cold and the fact that I couldn’t see anything around me. I could feel the snow and wind hitting my right side so I walked against it, figuring it was coming from the ocean. I eventually feel nothing around me so I take my blindfold off and am on the same beach I began on and walked home. I was lost in the woods, blindfolded, for about an hour.
digging graves

” I am a native of Massachusetts and spent most of my formative years in Springfield, MA. When I was 18 years old I moved east and have been residing in Beverly, MA for the past two years, studying at Montserrat College of Art with a concentration in Book Arts.” -Sam Glidden

Technology Doomed for Obsolescence: Suzy Evans

Suzy Evans
“Crypt Lick” 2012

Suzy Evans "Crypt Lick" 2012 photo by Sandrine Schaefer

When I was in college and working in the audio visual checkout center, slide projectors were a much sought after piece of equipment for presentations in class. The technology was flawed, of course, and it was a weekly headache to fish out mangled slides that the projector had decided to eat from its bowels. These days, most of the people employed at that same checkout center don’t know how they work and few have even seen them in action. Suzy Evans’ performance ”Crypt Lick” at “Thank You,” a performance event held at The Studios at Porter Mills in Beverly in December, marks the first time, I myself, have seen one being used in… well I can’t remember the last time, but it’s been a while.

From where I sat, I was directly down wind to the exhaust of the projector, not on purpose, but by chance. It’s smell was that of old technology, things you inherited from a family member or found at an antique store. It was, for me, a very nostalgic scent. It was not, however, the first powerful scent to overcome the room. The artist had already dragged in a dead x-mas tree, put it on the floor, and covered herself in peanut butter.

For most of the performance, Suzy stood on the dead pine branches, using a remote to cycle through a carousel full of what seemed to be original works on slides. Slowly, I began to remember the order that the slide went in. What was on each one. The ones that started to get stuck and made a funny noise. I wondered what the artist was experiencing as she stood in the light of the slides, patiently cycling through the slides, eyes closed. When I closed my eyes too, I found that this performance had a whole other level of visual experience. The changing colors from the slides experienced through my eyelids casted a plethora of colors and hues that felt strikingly similar to experiencing Stan Brakhage’s hand painted films.
The final action in the piece, was possibly one of the most honest displays of joy I’ve ever witnessed. A pitbull enters the space, and begins to lick the remaining peanut butter from Suzy’s skin. When the dog had had enough, Suzy was still covered in a significant amount of chunky peanut butter. An audience member volunteered to bring their own dog back to the space to finish the job (coincidentally another pitbull). The piece ended with two beautiful dogs reveling in the audience’s attention and peanut butter! Is there anything more joyful than a dog that is eating a treat in the presence of many adorning human friends? No, I don’t believe there is.

– Philip Fryer

SUZY EVANS “Crypt Lick” 2012

Suzy Evans "Crypt Lick" 2012 photo by Sandrine Schaefer