Archive for Monday, August 27, 2007

All signs point to a unique art experience

Lawrence artists Maria Velasco, left, and Janet Davidson-Hues goof off near one of the "way-finding" signs designed to lure viewers inside the Spencer Museum of Art for an audio installation called "Stop // Look // Listen," which opens Thursday.

Lawrence artists Maria Velasco, left, and Janet Davidson-Hues goof off near one of the "way-finding" signs designed to lure viewers inside the Spencer Museum of Art for an audio installation called "Stop // Look // Listen," which opens Thursday.

August 27, 2007

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Even if you've been to the Spencer Museum of Art before, you've never seen it quite like this.

Artists Maria Velasco and Janet Davidson-Hues have created a playful "way-finding" system for the museum called "Stop // Look // Listen." It starts in the parking lot with bright yellow traffic signs and spills into the museum in the form of mp3 audio tours that offer offbeat looks at certain pieces in the collection, encouraging visitors to slow down and experience them anew.

"Our hope is that the viewer/listener will participate in the variety of content, be provoked by the playfulness of both the signs and the audio, and perhaps experience a new way of looking at art that they've looked at before but never really seen," Davidson-Hues says. "Hopefully expectations will be thwarted and replaced with enlightenment, and there will be a renewed vitality in the museum experience."

Commissioned by the museum, 1301 Miss., the installation will debut at a public reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Visitors can download the audio and synch the tours to their own mp3 players at www.spencerart.ku.edu, or borrow a player from the museum.

The signs continue inside the museum, denoting stops on the tour with iconographic black images inspired by the artworks. Creating the audio was a bit like making a collage, Davidson-Hues says.

"It started by researching the artists and the particular pieces, writing the scripts for each piece, inviting people to read (the voices), recording, editing the many tracks, adding sounds, music, effects, piecing it all together, and layering it until it worked as a whole," she says.

The tour eschews the traditional, historical information found on typical museum labels, instead offering mischievous, insightful or ambiguous comments, and unanticipated words and sounds, contributed by a variety of voices.

"It adds dimension," Velasco says, "and hopefully makes it enjoyable, fun and intriguing."

Comments

matahari 7 years, 9 months ago

So, I can post a metal sign with same dimensions and colors as road signs anywhere in the US on my property (or entrance to my property),, with no one complaining to the city that I've confused the elderly or sight impaired?

Must be great to be rich~

"adds dimension" ...yes, one dimension~

"Hopefully expectations will be thwarted and replaced with enlightenment,'' hmm~

KLATTU 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't know what being rich has to do with it. I've seen all sorts of fake traffic and street signs up on private property. You've never seen green street signs that say "Jayhawk Blvd" or "Wildcat Lane" or "Old Fisherman Crossing", etc...? You should get out more often.

Google "street signs" and the first several hundred sites are selling personalized street and traffic signs. They aren't expensive.

matahari 7 years, 9 months ago

Oh, you are right, I forgot! The poor have just as many rights in this county...sincerest apologies...I have never encountered any on these metal (cloned) signs during my 30 years in Larrytown, perhaps I don't get around much..and what was the price to park on KU properties for non students or teachers?

tolawdjk 7 years, 9 months ago

gag street signs are a right that is denied to the poor?

Did they pass that one about the same time as Prohibition? Man, I knew I shouldn't have slept in that day in civics class.

And what the hell does a sign have to do with the price to park on KU properties?

For someone with such an enlightened handle, you sure seem bitter.

I'm guessing that the new WalMart will have several of your "mythical" signs for your viewing pleasure once Dale Ernhardt settles on a sponsor, colors, and a number. Parking to view them will even be free.

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