Blind Stream

1 stream, 8 week production period

In this stream artists are not bound to language or even understanding the topic rather they enter into an aesthetic game of not knowing. The first artist in the process attends the Science Seminar on January 20 and has 8 weeks to make an artwork. This artwork gets transferred via a digital file to the second artist who doesn’t know the science topic and has 8 weeks to respond with his or her own artwork. These two artworks are transferred to a third artist who generates their response. Again they have an 8 week production period. Following this, the first three artists’ works are transferred via digital files to a fourth artist for their artistic response.

Heather Kai Smith
Destruction Proves its Existence, 2017
Three charcoal and oil-based pencil drawings on BFK Rives Paper, 22 x 30, 22 x 14, 15 x 9 inches

Smith brings her interest working with analogy and metaphor into greater focus by exploring the flexibility of specific forms (e.g. the crowd, the mass, the party, the event). Not being an “expert” in physics has allowed her to work associatively. Fascinated by the overlapping and contrasting uses of similar terms that came up in the project such as symmetry, beauty, abstraction and elegance has allowed for a reconsideration of how language bears on research in the fields of art and physics. “Focusing on the topic, allowing myself time to consider a specific concept through my practice has illuminated my habits of thinking… I’m more interested in how to sit with a concept that might feel unnatural to me and observe where my associations lead. This pathway felt exciting, like taking an unfamiliar side road to weave back to a similar but more dynamic destination.”

Attended the Science Seminar on Antimatter.


Maggie Groat
4/7 fr HS > AY, 2017
Four collages on salvaged images on paper, 11 x 15 inches

Associative thinking is how Groat characterizes the process engaged in her practice. As the second artist in her relay and not knowing the science topic, she responded to the visual language within Heather Smith’s original drawings and the concepts in physics that might be derived from them as diagrammatic. Working with the existing matter of found materials, Groat worked with invisible logic, flows of movements, time travel, ideas of black holes and other kinds of voids in the universe. “To not know something, and that that something is directly orbiting or anchoring what it is that you are doing, was a freeing place to be in a way – while I was making the work I would stop and ask myself if one move or selection within the work “made sense” and then I would laugh out loud because what could possibly be the measure of that logic.”

Did not know the science topic.


Andrea Young
Attractions and Compulsions, 2017
Three computer-generated sound works, headphones, 2:57, 2:59, 3:30 minutes

Most often in collaborations, the given subject matter determines an aesthetic. Here Young felt free to associate the previous images by Smith and Groat in the relay with her imagination. In this circumstance, she was inspired by materials and imagery to make her own metaphor, whether accurate or not. Playing with ideas of crowds, attraction, densities, and compulsions, Young worked abstractly to find a less obvious undercurrent. “Currently, I have some works in progress that are derived from a fundamental seed (a point of cohesion for the work). As a result of this creative experience, I would like to open that “seed” so that it may breathe into other forms as fluently as it has within this project. Rather than seek cohesion, I am now more interested in letting things meander to other pathways and other mediums.”

Did not know the science topic.

Image: Works by Maggie Groat (left) and Andrea Young (right)





Robert Bean
Air Conditioning:
1. Études (for Marconi) #5
2. Sarin
3. a world of things is between those who have it in common (Hannah Arendt), 2017
Three inkjet prints, 36 x 26 inches

Bean’s response is based on environment(s) and acoustic spaces reminiscent of atmospheres. “Air conditioning” is a term developed by Peter Sloterdijk to explain how the atmosphere as an environment was made explicit by the implementation of gas warfare in World War One. Air is a location for divination (augurs studied birds in flight in order to prophesize the future); a narrow band of molecular particles and systems that secure organic life. “I was very engaged by the works of the other artists as an art making process that was premised on uncertainty and an open game structure of guessing. Rather than try to strategically guess the specifics of the question originally posed, I responded through the artworks presented and the work I was currently pursuing through a metaphoric path of entanglement, playing the guessing game across the role of observer and observed.”

Did not know the science topic.