Autumn 2018: Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts

I love the seasons especially autumn and spring. The weather is not too cold or hot, and it gives everyone beautiful nature colors. At spring you have vivid colors of the leaves, and flowers are blooming. In the autumn, you see beautiful fall colors, getting the trees ready for winter.

The best place to experience it is in the town of North Adams in Massachusetts. It’s such a quaint town I’d keep coming back. It’s about a 4 hours drive from New York, my husband was tempting me to go, so I booked a flight back to New York and told him, I’d go with him so we can experience the fall together.

The drive to MA was scenic, although there are rain showers, the drive up to North Adams was charming.

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The visit to Massachusetts is not complete without a visit to Mass MoCA. In this visit. I get to see Taryn Simon’s A Cold Hole where in the participants are invited to take a plunge in the icy cold water.  It’s facilitated through an online registration found in Mass MoCA’s website. Visitors can view the public performance in an adjacent gallery.

Cold water plunges symbolizes a personal reset as exemplified in baptisms and preparation for young men before a war. It involves readiness of the individual to perform an act. The clearing of the mind and the courage to do it.

In another room, Taryn’s Assembled Audience is set up in a dark room, as the visitor goes deeper into the room the clapping becomes louder assuring the participant of praise. Both art installation demonstrates the need of people to be admired and to be praised for personal fulfillment.

Liz Glynn’s The Archeology of Another Possible Future was an ambitious project consisted of five parts. It explores the transformation of industries from manual labor to technological advances. From the age of the cassette tapes, to the age of the internet.

In part 1, “Analog”, the shipping pallets are transformed into caves with different sensory experiences.  Visitors are encouraged to sit and listen to recordings and smell the scents contained in the vessels in the third cave.

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Part 2, the shape of progress features different sculptures modeling human progress in the ideas of Plato from the age of Enlightenment to the present day. The treatment of each sculpture challenges the notion of linear progress.

In Part 3, Liz incorporates three shipping containers envisioning the past and the future. The first container contains a workshop containing tools and moving objects connected by different objects. It represents the manufacturing trade. The second shipping container contains drawings of failed and obsolete inventions and the third shipping container contains three TV screens with a video montage of doomsday (year 2000). “Speculation” embodies the progression of industrial landscapes from workshops to inventions and interventions.

The Age of Ephemeralization, the 4th part of the series is composed of a network of three scaffoldings towers. Each has a 3-D printer. It represents the factory of the future. Each station is connected by a bridge which is about 14 feet off the ground. The elevated scene gives the viewer a change in perspective seeing the different shifts from Analog to the Digital age.

In Post-Industrial Vacationland, Liz shifts the perspective that humans will be in a depressive state as machines replaces manual labor. The fifth section of the exhibition shows torn down columns and stretchers.

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For someone working in the technology space it struck a chord. While it is true that technology is advancing, it is also important for people to understand that humans have the capacity to adapt and as we go through transformation, the people who are behind these transformations are also making a way to make the transitions easier.

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Also on exhibit is Laurie Anderson. Laurie’s virtual reality exhibits were extraordinary. Reservations are required to be able to experience the exhibits. We were lucky in a sense that there were not a lot of museum visitors, the wait time was quick.

I tried Aloft and the Chalkroom. Both exhibits were immersive. In Chalkroom, participants have the option to choose their own adventure. You can choose to fly or explore rooms or write on the walls. I absolutely like the concept but if you are someone who is afraid of tight spaces with no windows, this may not be the experience for you.

There was a moment where in I felt trapped in a room which made me feel uneasy. Aloft was a relaxing experience which I enjoyed more. Participants are invited to grasp objects and to look around.

 

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