Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

Living in a Zittel

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Ever since I first visited Andrea Zittel’s A-Z West outside Joshua Tree, Calif. in 2005 (more on that later today tomorrow), I’ve fantasized about living in a Zittel. Living in one of Zittel’s spaces seems to require the occupant to consider seemingly every element of how 21st-century Americans choose to live their lives, from their use of space to their accumulation of material what-nots to the land in which we choose to live. (Speaking of which.)

So far as I know, there’s only one Zittel-created place in America where Zittelians can actually live as Zittel determines: On Indy Island, Zittel’s floating sculpture/living space at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s 100 Acres sculpture park. Access is available via an artists’ residency program administered by the IMA (with input from Zittel).

So ever since I taped the second half of this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast, which features Katherine Ball, who spent much of last summer living in Indy Island (above left), I’ve been wondering anew. Particularly interesting to me was how the experience of living on a Zittel motivated Ball to install a greywater system that recaptured water she used on the Island. Maybe being put in an artist-determined space really does motivate the behaviors one takes on there. [This week’s MAN Podcast: Download the program, subscribe via iTunes, subscribe via RSS and/or view images of art discussed on the show.]

Ball clearly embraced her time at Indy Island. An MFA student in Portland State University’s art and social practice program, Bell created mycobooms that are intended to help control pollution in the lake. (Mycobooms are fungi-activated booms that clean water. Here’s a fascinating TED talk from mycoboom ‘inventor’ Paul Stamets.)

Next up for Bell: visits to and projects in Germany and Mexico.

Coming to Indy Island this summer: A. Bitterman, the pseudonym of Kansas City-based Pete Cowdin, will be the next artist to live on Indy Island. His residency begins in mid-June. His most recent project, conducted in Kansas City with support from the University of Kansas’s Spencer Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, was Point of Interest, an examination of how American society typically considers nature as something outside the built environment. He sure seems like a pretty good pick to live in a Zittel for a summer as Zittel’s art regularly spotlights how Americans have built out some of America’s most remote, seemingly human-inhospitable places.

For his Indy Island residency, Bitterman will lead 100 Acres visitors through his project titled “INDIGINEOUS: Into the Wild with A. Bitterman.”  Over the course of six weeks, Bitterman will show visitors the ‘wilder’ parts of 100 Acres by demonstrating how our experience with wilderness is often mediated by the way we’re encouraged to interact with it.
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