Thoughts On the Cyanometer and Quantifying the Unquantifiable

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Collectively and individually, Humanity has and always will strive to understand their existence in a world that often eludes them. While we have solved many mysteries of the universe, there is still so much we don’t know about the cosmos, or the depths of the sea, and even our own brains. In 1789 Horace Benedicte De Saussure, a Swiss botanist, created the Cyanometer: a tool for measuring the ‘blueness’ of the sky. Using this moment of invention as a jumping off point, Lindsay Tunkl will explore humanity’s attempts to answer unanswerable questions. Through a month long installation and a one night presention, Tunkl invites the viewer to explore greater constructs such as time, art’s attempts at making sense of our existence, and metaphysical inquiries such as connecting with the dead in an interrogation of humanity’s many attempts to quantify unquantifiable.

The Cyanometer is saturated with notions of adventure and intrigue, melancholy and nostalgia. Somehow this all points to our attempts at understanding and conquering everything. We constantly strive to master things around us in order to feel safe and certain in a terrain that is anything but. Two things are of interest to me here: The desire to quantify the unquantifiable, and the despair of quantifying that which we desire.
— Lindsay Tunkl
What does it mean to be human in the contemporary moment? When everything is seemingly tragic and absurd at the same time. It is  Lindsay Tunkl's  aim to create moments for this question to be answered, for the individual and for the human species. By researching and exploring subjects such as Affect, Death, The Apocalypse, Encounter, Solitude, Space (travel), Time (travel), Tunkl's work uses a tender and humorous hand to invite the viewer into reflexive experiences with their emotions, their perspectives, and their place within a world that is uncertain, scary and, more often than not, heartbreaking. Tunkl graduated from CalArts with a BFA in 2010 and is currently a MFA in Studio Practice and MA in Visual + Critical Studies candidate at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her work has been shown in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany

What does it mean to be human in the contemporary moment? When everything is seemingly tragic and absurd at the same time. It is Lindsay Tunkl's aim to create moments for this question to be answered, for the individual and for the human species. By researching and exploring subjects such as Affect, Death, The Apocalypse, Encounter, Solitude, Space (travel), Time (travel), Tunkl's work uses a tender and humorous hand to invite the viewer into reflexive experiences with their emotions, their perspectives, and their place within a world that is uncertain, scary and, more often than not, heartbreaking. Tunkl graduated from CalArts with a BFA in 2010 and is currently a MFA in Studio Practice and MA in Visual + Critical Studies candidate at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her work has been shown in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

Dimensions of Time and Space

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Lauren Marie Taylor

Dimensions of Time and Space is an exploration of the cultural constructions—historical, scientific, spiritual and metaphysical—that shape our understanding of what we experience as time and space. Through four workshops with artists and thinkers, the public is invited to investigate their relationships to time and space. During weekly classes with neighborhood youth programs, young people are called upon to reflect on their own cultural connections to time and space through video and storytelling. Over the month, the gallery will act as a laboratory for these ongoing inquiries.

We can portray our reality as either a three-dimensional place where stuff happens over time, or as a four-dimensional place where nothing happens; and if it really is the second picture, then change really is an illusion, because there’s nothing that’s changing; it’s all just there—past, present, future.
— Max Tegmark, MIT Physicist

Lauren Marie Taylor is a Bay Area conceptual artist. In 2013 she was the first Artist in Residence at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. In 2105 she was an Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome, through which she worked with the Vatican Astronomical Observatory. Recent projects include collaborative work on the Man in Space Collection at the WDFM, Satellite Engineering at the California Academy of Sciences, YBCA workshops for BAN 7 and a solo exhibition at SoEx on robotics in the Civil Rights Era. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, an MEd from Portland State University and an MFA in Social Practice from the California College of the Arts. Taylor is the currently the Senior Manager of Education at the Bay Area Video Coalition.  www.utopianrealism.org 

Machines for Absurd Living

Machines for Absurd Living

by The Absurdist
May 13–June 3, 2016

A man who has become conscious of the absurd is forever bound to it.
— Camus

Machines for Absurd Living: interactive tools to  prompt existential examination. By guiding the audience on a journey through essential and consequential concepts—time, detachment, the self and the sublime— these situational exercises address individual dissonance over the absurdity of inherent meaning through simple interactions that prompt existential rumination.

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Machine #1 / Life while-you-wait considers the most relentless of human struggles: our temporality in the physical world. Using statistical calculations, the machine determines how many hours one has left to live, prompting us to consider time as a currency to be well spent.

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Machine #2 / Guilt Deconstruction confronts the participant with a confession exercise: Using personal smart devices, the participant types out feelings of guilt, repressed desires, ill thoughts or wrong actions, and releases them— through encrypted technology—with a cathartic physical gesture onto a wall projection. "Healthy remorse" is then deconstructed to the essence of language: letters, fall in a random shower, piling collective layers of guilt and contradiction. Collectively and through this exercise, this ‘action’ opens a realization of the futility of ill conscience, offering a modern approach to absolution that provides the user with a way of resolving ill feelings into a healthier, conscious state.

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Machine #3 / The Self - Eye addresses the question of the self. A performance of self-awareness presents the beholder with a reflection of his/her own organic tool for ocular imagery: the iris. The self-examination room for such an exploration is as equally intimate: the bathroom.

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Machine #4 / Pantheistic Cloud, Questions of Meaning and Replies of Trees offers an opportunity to meditate on one's dissonance with our absurd human existence and the reduction of such feelings by a restorative communion with nature. Once you have entered the self, what else is there to do but to become one with everything?

The exhibit has been designed by the artist collective The Absurdist, lead by Manuelita Antonio and Johannes Seemann with collaboration and expert advice from Johannes Ma, Nick Forland & Waham. The collective was founded in 2014, driven by the need to find an outlet for philosophical inquiries of existential, absurd and situational nature. Inspired by their guiding stars Albert Camus, Guy Debord and Baruch Spinoza, they set out to create conceptual art pieces that address old and new existential needs in experiential ways.

This exhibit has been commissioned and curated by StorefrontLab.