San Jose Artists Participating in Zero1, By Julia Bradshaw

A handful of local artists received commissions to participate in ZERO1 this year and in anticipation of the four-day festival’s events I will highlight their involvement here.

SJSU graduate student, Sarah Lowe, is fabricating an inflatable and ephemeral 25-foot-tall monument titled Ice Age on Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park on Saturday night, June 7 2008. With a footprint of over 58 feet by 30 feet this inflatable iceberg and performative sculpture will anchor one end of the plaza from 2pm to 10pm and is probably best viewed at night. Construction of Ice Age is currently taking place in the Berkeley Repertory Theater’s scene shop in West Oakland.

Sarah Lowe and technical assistant Rachel Hospodar, seal the seams of Ice Age and project intern Ali Sajjadi measures the footprint for the Ice Age inflatable sculpture.

Photo credit: Sarah Lowe and Ali Sajjadi

Continuing with the ice age theme and also on the Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Saturday from 4pm – 7pm, artists Robin Lasser (Professor of Photography at SJSU) and Adrienne Pao (SJSU MFA 2005) will perform Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent. Taking the form of an imposing Ice Madam, this oversized dress looms about 10 feet above passers-by. Perched above the crowd, the dress-wearer holds a white weather balloon to which is tethered a small video camera. Observers can enter into the dress-tent, where they will be greeted by a projection from the tethered video camera and a sound component giving real-time climate data along with the sounds of chirping crickets. The pair describe the dress tent as a polar weather station referencing global warming and glaciers. Two of Lasser and Pao’s photographs from the dress tent series are included in the Superlight exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art. Lasser and Pao will also perform this dress tent at the Circle Of Palms, San Jose Museum of Art, Wed. June 4 from 6:00-8:00 PM and SOFA District, First Street, Friday June 6 from 7:00-10:00 PM

Ice Queen: Glacial Retreat Dress Tent photographed at Mt. Shasta, California, April 2008 by Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao

Graduating with their MFA’s this year; Digital Media Artists Bruce Gardner and Ethan Miller are working alongside architect Michael Herrman in the coding and construction of Urban Observatory. Installed on the Circle of Palms the team describe the Urban Observatory as “a nomadic context-responsive space that serves as a vehicle through which the surrounding environment, both near and distant, can be experienced.” Internal screens inside the structure will allow visitors to explore the Bay Area in a mediated manner – promoting a critical investigation of the mediated city environment. Michael Herrman has been working on this project as an artist-in-resident for the Montalvo Art Center. The piece is best viewed at night from 9pm – midnight from the 4th through the 8th. All these projects are commissions supported by the James Irvine Foundation.

On Friday night, the South of First Street festival will include many local artists and musicians. Among other local artists look out for participants from SHARE San Jose creating a musical and visual electronic mediated melodic experimentation. SHARE San Jose is the local chapter of a global organization supporting collaboration and knowledge exchange in new media communities. And SJSU Digital Media artist Thomas Asmuth will perform with fontanaBot, a robotic artist which makes paintings in the gestural style of Lucio Fontana.


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