Before You Read
Installation art is a recent art form. It is different from the art that we usually experience in museums. Installations are usually three-dimensional. They are designed to change the way we see spaces. They may be large or small, indoors or out, officially recognized or illegal but they all have a similar goal: to capture us in the art.
You often have to walk through or around the installation to experience it fully. Some installations are solid; others are so fragile that they last only a few hours and can be viewed only once.
What makes installation art different from sculpture or other traditional art forms is that it is a complete experience, rather than a display of separate, individual artworks. The artists' focus is on how viewers experience their works. They want to provide an intense experience.
In this lesson, we'll look at three artists and their works.
Installation art can be strange and mysterious catching you off-guard by radically changing the usual environment. You might be walking along one sunny afternoon, texting on your cell phone or thinking about an exam, and come upon this:
You stop and look. You take a second look, and a third. Are those really pieces of toast popping up? Out of a sewer grate! Is that woman really asleep? In a city parking space!
A moment ago you were absorbed in your own thoughts. Now you are intensely alert, your senses focused on what is right in front of your eyes; you are completely into the moment. Why are pieces of toast popping up from a sewer grate? Why is there a sculpture of a sleeping woman in the street?
American artist Mark Jenkins, who made these urban installations, makes lifelike sculptures and places them in ordinary streets and buildings. Sometimes called an "urban prankster," Jenkins jolts people out of their usual routines, leading them to interact with the world on a deeper level. Jenkins' installations are sometimes fragile, and are often set up without official permission. They sometimes gone in an hour.
Jenkins not only aims to disrupt the daily lives of asserts-by, he wants to disrupt the urban environment making them part of his installations. In his view installations are stages on which people become actors as they respond to what they see by expressing emotions such as shock and amusement.
When asked why he makes this unique kind of art, Jenkins says that he wants to challenge people to notice the world around them: "I like getting people to question their environment, what is real and what isn't. These days, people are so buried in their cell phones and I just want to get them to look up."
Tatzu Nishi is a Japanese installation artist was born in Nagoya in 1960. He lives and works in Berlin and Tokyo. Like Mark Jenkins, he creates installation which startle us. Nishi uses size and distance in his installations to give us a fresh perspective on things and places which we usually don't even see because they are so ordinary. As an artist, Nishi not only re-creates environments, he re-creates himself. For example, Tatzu Nishi is only one of his names. "I have changed my name several times," he says. '"Right now I am 'Tatzu Nishi, but I also operated under such names as Tazro Niscino, Tatsurou Bashi, Tatzu Oozu. I change my name every two years or so."
Nishi's installations are often rooms built around public monuments. The result is twofold: on the one hand, an "instant sculpture" appears in a private space, and on the other, a familiar sculpture disappears inside a new structure. Within the room, this dramatic shift from public to private creates an encounter with the sculpture that viewers find both fascinating and uncanny.
In 2011, Nishi came up with the idea of radically forming Singapore's national monument: the Merlion. The Merlion is a statue-fountain with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It stands at the entrance to Marina Bay.
Nishi decided to put the Merlion into a hotel room without moving it. What he did was truly remarkable, and even shocking for some people: he built a luxurious hotel room around the 8.6 meter-high statue.
From March 13 to May 15, 2011, the one-room Merlion Hotel was open to the public. It was even open for overnight stays. Nishi himself was the first guest.
When asked how he explains his art, Nishi said, "Art is not restricted to formal works in museums and galleries. In fact, 'art' does not reside in objects at all. Art resides in the vicwer who is spiritually connected to the environment. Art is a feeling in the viewer, not a property of the artwork itself."
Like Tatzu Nishi, Olafur Eliasson, a Danish. Icelandic installation artist, also specializes in big projects. Starting in 1998, he put dye into some waterways in Tokyo and other cities, turning them bright green. He built an artificial waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridge in 2008. And in 2016 he built a huge waterfall in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.
Building a massive waterfall in the gardens of Versailles may seem like a crazy idea, but actually it is not.
Louis XIV (1638-1715), the French king who made Versailles his home, always wanted a waterfall. That was also the vision of Andre Le Notre, the king's gardener. But it was impossible to build 300 years ago. If Louis had lived to see Eliasson's waterfall, he would have said it was a dream come true.
Eliasson is wall aware of Louis' wish. He says, "The waterfall is an attempt to make the impossible possible, to make dreams come true."
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Installation artists like Jenkins, Nishi and Eliasson are highly individualistic; there are remarkable differences between their works. But they share the same basic goal: to startle us and capture us in their art. How do these artiste want us to respond to their works?
Imagine that you are living in Tokyo during the Green River Project, which turned some rivers green. You look out the window one morning and see that the river near your house is bright green. How would you feel? What would you say?
You might say something like this: "What happened? I've lived on this street all my life, and I've never seen anything like this before. Nothing much changes around here, and when change does occur, it's slow. I've come to take all this for granted. Now suddenly the river has turned green. It's not just the river. Everything looks different. I am absolutely captivated! Wow!"
This way of experiencing art is very different from looking at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. This is what installation art is all about.
Optional Reading - Breaking Out, Breaking In
Installation artists believe that art should be accessible in public places. They want to set art free, to let it 'break out" of museums.
Nearly one hundred years ago, another group of artists had a similar insight. They felt that museums kept out many objects which deserved to be viewed as art. 'These artist took everyday objects, placed them in frames or on pedestals, and insisted that they were works of 'art." They were asking, "Who is qualified to say what is art: artists or museum directors?" They were trying to help art "break in" to museums.
The French surrealist Marcel Duchamp was one of the most famous of these artists. Here is a photo of two of his works: a hat rack and an ordinary toilet fixture which he had purchased at a hardware store, placed on a pedestal, and given the title, "Fountain."
He also displayed this "sculpture": a bicycle wheal. If the artist says it's art, is it art?
Duchamp was playing a little joke, but he also had a serious point to make. Recently, 500 art critics called "Fountain" the most influential works of modern art.
In 1917 the idea of dignifying commonplace objects by giving them titles and placing them on pedestals was a shocking challenge to the accepted of what was art and what was not art. Critics believed t of art, an object must, at the very least, have been modified the hand of an artist.
Today, however, many art critics argue that simply relocating object and giving it a title constitutes a modification of that object because it changes our perception of its function or its status.
Michelangelo picked up a block of stone, modified it, and called it "David." Duchamp picked up a toilet fixture, modified it, and called it "Fountain." Are they both "art"? You decide.
Before You Read
Globalization has brought great benefits to the world. Between 1981 and 2012, the percent of the world's population living at or below $1.90 a day declined from 44 percent to 12.7 percent. In East Asia, poverty declined from 80 percent to 7.2 percent. But not everyone has benefited. In most developed countries, the difference between rich and poor has increased. Economic inequality is one of the most important problems of our time.
If the rich would share their wealth with the poor, inequality might not be such a problem. But this does not seem to be happening. Pau Piff, an American social psychologist, wanted to find out why.
Piff set up some studies to find out how being rich affects your sense of empathy and compassion. He wanted to find out if money makes you mean. This is what he discovered.
Do rich people think and act differently from poor people? Paul Piff has explored this question in dozens of experiments. His findings suggest that as people's wealth increases, so do their feelings of entitlement and their self. interest, but their empathy and compassion decrease. Piff worries that as economic inequality increases, the idea that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and prosper will suffer.
In one interesting experiment, people played a board game in which two players compete in buying and selling land, buildings and houses. The goal is to see who ends up with the most money and property. Each player begins with the same amount of money (of course, it is play money) and each must follow the same rules.
Piff decided to change the game. He wanted to see what would happen if the game were rigged so that one player got more money than the other player and the rules also favored the "rich" player. More than 100 pairs of strangers were asked to be either a "rich" player or a "poor" player in a rigged game. The rich players got twice as much money, and the rules worked in their favor. Piff watched through hidden cameras what happened.
As the game went on, dramatic differences appeared between the two players. The rich players began to show signs of power and celebration. They became loud slapped their pieces down on the board. They took more than their share of the pretzels which the researchers had provided. The rich players became more boastful. The were less and less sensitive to the plight of the poor players. In some cases, they were actually rude.
According to Piff, the rigged game can be used as a metaphor for understanding a society in which a few people have a lot more wealth and status than most other people.
In dozens of studies involving thousands of participants, Piff is finding that as people get richer, they lose their sense of compassion and they feel an increased sense of entitlement. Wealthier individuals are actually more likely to feel that greed is good and that the pursuit of self-interest is good and moral.
Piff set up other experiments. He asked people about their family income, levels of education, financial security, and how much they valued the way they look. Piff even tested how much time participants spent looking at themselves in the mirror. He found that rich people looked at themselves more often and were more narcissistic.
Piff also looked at helping behavior. He was interested in who is more likely to offer help to another person. Rich and poor members of the community were each given $10. They were told that they could keep it all for themselves or share a portion of it with a stranger. The researchers monitored how much people gave. The poorer people, who had incomes between $15,000 and $25,000 a year, gave 44 percent more of their money to the stranger than did people making between $150,000 and $200,000 a year.
Another study examined whether anybody would take candy that was reserved for children who were participating in a developmental program. People who felt rich took twice as much candy as those who felt poor.
Of course, it is not only wealthy people who show these patterns of behavior. In fact, most of us regular daily lives struggle to decide when or whether put our own interests above the interests of other people. That is understandable because most people like to think that we all have an equal opportunity to succeed and prosper as long as we apply ourselves and work hard. Sometimes we need to put our own interests first. But Piff's studies show that the wealthier people are, the more likely they are to pursue personal access without thinking about others.
Today, the world is experiencing unprecedented levels of economic inequality. In America the top 20 percent of the population owns close to 90 percent of the total wealth in the country. The dream that hard work and honesty will lead to success is increasingly out of reach for many. This pattern will never change if the wealthy feel that they are free to do whatever will serve their self-interest. There's every reason to think that things will only get worse.
Economic inequality is something everyone should be concerned about. Social mobility, physical health, and social trust all decline as inequality increases. Not only that, violence and crime increase as economic inequality increases. These outcomes are felt across all levels of society. Even people at the top experience these outcomes.
To sum up, economic inequality is not just a personal issue, or even a national issue. It is a matter of great international concern. In 2016, research showed that just eight individuals owned the same amount of wealth as the 3.6 billion people who made up the poorest half of humanity. And inequality is expected to increase.
So what can we do? The situation seems to be out of control and there is nothing we can do about it. But, in fact, laboratory research has been finding that small nudges in certain directions, small changes in people's values, can restore levels of empathy. Reminding people of the benefits of cooperation, or the advantages of community, causes wealthier individuals to be just as generous and empathetic as poor people.
In one study, people were asked to watch a short video about childhood poverty that served as a reminder of the needs of others, After watching the video, researchers looked at how willing people wore to help a stranger. Rich people became just as generous and willing to help out a stranger as poor people. That finding suggests that these differences in empathy and fellow feeling are not innate but are easily influenced by slight changes in people's values and by little nudges toward compassion and empathy.
Beyond the walls of his lab, Piff feels he is beginning to see signs of change in society. Bill Gates, one of the world's wealthiest people, has called inequality the greatest challenge of our time. He has talked about what must be done to combat it, saying, "Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity. "And there's the Giving Pledge, in which more than 100 of America's wealthiest people are pledging half of their fortunes to charity. They are using their own economic resources to combat inequality. In the end, they hope to restore people's faith that hard work and honesty will lead to a better life for themselves and their children.
Optional Reading - Can Money Buy Happiness?
Paul Piff's research suggests that money makes you mean. But many people act as if they believe that money can buy happiness. So, what do you think; can money buy happiness?
Since happiness is highly personal, the final answer to this old question may never be found. Recent research provides a tentative answer: money can buy happiness, but only up to the point where it lifts you of extreme poverty.
People all over the world were asked in a survey to rate their sense of happiness from 1 to 7. One meant "not at all happy" and '7 meant "completely happy." You will not be surprised to learn that on average the millionaires gave their lives a score of 5.8. And you will not be surprised that homeless Indians rated their happiness at 2.9. But you may be surprised to learn that people living in Kolkata slums, just a step above being homeless, rated their happiness at 4.6. Not only that, the Inuit people of northern Greenland, who have a very hard life in the Arctic, rated themselves at 5.8. And the Masai, who are cattle herders in Kenya and live without running water, flushing toilets, or electricity, rated their happiness at 5.7. Both the Inuit and the Masai gave themselves the same rating as the American millionaires.
Many happiness studies from around the world contradict they can buy happiness. Take the United States, for exam hardly changed. gross domestic product (GDP) per person in the U.S. has tripled since World War ll. Have Americans become happier? No. In fact, the sense of happiness has not changed much at all. The same thing is true of Japan and of Western Europe. Prosperity has increased dramatically while happiness levels have
The conclusion of many happiness studies is that economic factors do not seem to predict happiness. Even though people in the developed world have grown richer in recent decades, they seem to be no happier. In fact. there seem to be even more depression and distrust among them.
046I saw a girl walking toward me.
047She heard her name called from behind.
048My mother made me finish my homework before supper.
049My mother forced me to eat a lot of vegetables.
050I will have my secretary send you a copy.
051Emily have her brother help with her assinment
052Jane had her bicycle stolen in the park.
053He helped me to find a post office.
054There are many people standing in front of the store.
055Can you make yourself understood in English?
056John kept me waiting for a long time.
057He was sitting on a bench with his eyes closed.
058Heaven helps those who help themselves.
059I gave her what little information I had.
060Reading is to the mind what food is to the body.
061John is not what he was ten years ago.
062Studying is what college life is all about.
063Tell me what your trip to Seoul was like?
064He is what we call "encyclopedia."
065This blog is interesting, and what is more, very instructive.
066I said nothing, which made him angrier.
067She is crazy about tennis, which love I do not share.
068Mike is late coming, as is often the case with him.
069A person who I thought was unkind helped me.
070John is as handsome as Bill.
071The U.S. is 25 times as large as Japan.
072My brother's room is 10 times the size of mine.
073He studies as hardworking as any students in his class.
074Nothing is important for children as their own birthday.
075Studying is not so much a duty, as a right.
076The population of Tokyo is larger than that of Washington D.C.
077The harder he worked, the more successful he became.
078I like the story all the more because it is true.
079Bill can no more swim than a hammer can.
080Sleeping is no less important for your health than food.
081The memory card is no bigger than a stamp.
082If I were a bird, I would fly to my first love.
083If she were a boy, she would have been named Ken.
084If it should rain, the concert will move indoors.
085If I were to live again, I would like to be a scientist.
086If it were not for the snow, the plane could take off.
087Without languages, there would be no thought.
088I wish I could sing like her.
089I would rather go to gym than go to movie.
090That boy talks as if he were a grown-up.
091It's about time I was leaving.
092A person of sense would never say such a thing.
|Palace of Versailes|
|Andre Le Notre|