String Theory Collaborative Installation

When I was asked to participate in the art show Eye Tea at Citadel Gallery, I had to say yes. My friend Anabella Piñon had not been showing her art as much in the last few years and we thought it would be great to do this show together. At first, we thought we would make separate pieces, but as we got talking we decided to collaborate.

The Eye Tea show asked artists to reflect on social media and information technology. I know one aspect I wanted to cover was overwhelm. I frequently get overwhelmed by the massive amount of information, likes, comments and emails the internet brings. Through multiple chats, we eventually came up with the idea of using the old can and string game of telephone. We were to each draw one life-sized child that would be mounted to the wall. 

 Anabella and our dyed string

Anabella and our dyed string

We met up at her studio multiple days, where we dyed string. It was fun starting with primary colors and eventually playing with pattern, leaving some areas white. 

 Pretty string

Pretty string

Anabella had these wood slices that made the perfect storage for our string. We even liked the way this looked and wondered about doing something like this for a future project.

 Anabella's studio

Anabella's studio

This is the corner of her studio where we painted the kids. She has a dream studio, with a lot of space and cool stuff everywhere. I loved working in it. It got the wheels turning for what I would like to do with mine. 

 String Theory - watercolor, paper, strings and cans

String Theory - watercolor, paper, strings and cans

The final installation, String Theory. As Anabella worked on her boy, she realized my girl was starting to look a little mad, trying to get him to hear her and her boy was starting to look like he was straining to listen. All the cans are voices and eavesdropping, conveying the chaos that internet communication can bring. 

 Girl close-up

Girl close-up

One special touch here: you can see the string connected between the boy and girl is blue and white. We thought this would convey a sort of active, Morse code communication between the two. 

 Boy close-up

Boy close-up

 Strings and cans close-up

Strings and cans close-up

One of my favorite things about the piece was all the colored string and the shadows created by their lines. It was difficult to capture this in photos, but you can get an idea here. Thank goodness for Anabella's efforts with family and friends to collect all these cans!

 Lines

Lines

 Eye Tea opening on April 11

Eye Tea opening on April 11

The opening had a great turnout! Viewers loved interacting with our work and used the cans we provided for them. Other artists also went above and beyond for this show. The tall sticks you see in the background were bamboo constructions. There were multiple installations and there was a lot of great two-dimensional work. We may be installing String Theory elsewhere in downtown San Jose. I'll keep you posted. For now, I'm scheming up an installation for the SubZERO Festival in early June.