The Institute of Cultural Inquiry is pleased to announce the reopening of its space and the launch of an ambitious project: 100/10 (100 days/10 visions). Beginning January 31, 2011 and running for 100 consecutive (business) days, the ICI site and its archives will undergo a multitude of interpretations. Ten visual researchers—artists, writers, and other visual thinkers—will “play” with ideas that blend contemporary visual practices with aspects of the ICI Earth Cabinet, Ephemera Kabinett, and a 2,500+ volume library along with the nooks and crannies of the eclectic and historically layered ICI space. With little time to conceive of their vision (approximately two weeks), curators will work in a designated ‘laboratory’ modeled on the transparent workspaces of 19th century natural history museums. Working with and at the ICI, each curator will conceptualize a new trajectory within the ICI “body” and will use their unique vision to slowly change the ICI display by the end of their residency. 100/10 does not merely represent but enacts the creative process. It is a spontaneous, malleable and constantly evolving ICI project that reflects the nature of ideas right at the moment they come into play.
For the premier iteration of this ten-part project, we have invited and collaborated with curator Alex Harvey to bring a number of rich and complex ideas to the “table.” His vision is anchored by Anna Ayeroff’s installation, Clarion Calls, a research-based exploration of place that includes prints, sculpture, and lens-based media. At the center of the display is an 80-slide slideshow from which we are given a fragmentary story about a failed Jewish colony with a resident who shares the artist’s last name. Does the personal story and its nostalgic retreat underlie all studies of history and its documents? Harvey’s display invites the single question that continually haunts the ICI archive. Ayeroff’s answer comes in the form of a large Mylar sculpture that invades the ICI space through an open window. The artist employs the form of a cosmic dust particle to build her own utopian place, integrating her sculpture and abstract drawings into the visual history of the colony, Clarion. By utilizing the fractal patterns of this celestial form, the artist revitalizes her photographs of a ruined past. If the call of family apocrypha initially brought Ayeroff to Clarion, Utah (study documents from that Interpretive Field Project are included in the ICI display) her laborious and repetitive remappings create a clarion call to the infinite “better world” possibilities that once drove the ruins’ builders.
Harvey’s display illuminates a struggle between the forms and content that ‘troubles” any archive – be it a collection of stories, a chest of documents or an assortment of shapes we imagine might build a “perfect world.” A series of small displays throughout the library and in other ICI “small spaces,” will engage visitors to Harvey’s complex, and multi-layered ideas. Also on display is a print portfolio that includes a series of lithographs by Ayeroff and prints made from filmstrips found in the ICI Ephemera Kabinett. Visits to the ICI space are by reservation (available on the website). A $5 fee is suggested but not required.
Additional participants to the 100/10 project will be announced as they are selected.
Since 1991, the Institute of Cultural Inquiry (ICI) has explored the role of visuality in imagining, perpetrating and perpetuating the intangible and ever-changing phenomena known as “culture.” The ICI sponsors displays, symposia, workshops, performances and provides numerous opportunities for both the artist fabricator and the curious spectator of visual culture. The non-profit organization also maintains an active publishing program, releasing the critically acclaimed Searching for Sebald: Photography After W. G. Sebald in 2007. 100/10 is the first project conceptualized within the 2011-12 ICI study theme of Phantom Worlds.