In February, Annie King sat down with guest blogger, Sam Decter, to discuss her installation piece SEED (on display at 180 Projects), SEED's previous showing as part of her BEARINGS exhibition, ads, art, insects, and pedagogy.
Sam Decter: I have stood with SEED, while an ominous buzzing plays, and some effect of simultaneous repulsion and softness is there. Did this effect manifest differently in the last installation? How does the effect differ in this installation from your previous exhibition?
Annie King: There was a little more subtlety to the last installation, the noise level was able to be more controlled the result was more calming and reflective. I am really interested to see how the space can change and modify a piece. With this piece I aim for a balance between seduction and irritation, and in Shifters, Seed, is more irritating, nagging. I am happy I get to reflect on the differences.
Decter: How does the crook of the wall itself alter the experience of the piece? In the context of SHIFTERS, how does the sonic aspect of SEED interact with the other elements of the exhibition?
King: I am pleased with the crook in the wall. It offers some sound reverb back. It holds the seeds, it almost looks like the seeds blew into that crook by a breeze and were stuck there by natural forces.
Decter: What other ways have you used sound in your work?
King: I have used sound as a counterpart to other sculpture installations, as an extra layer, another attempt to know a little more.
In another piece titled Moth, the audio component is of a lecture on Quantum mechanics, inviting the viewer to interact, it starts with “please please come in” and is followed by things such as “if X were equal to the probability of Y then…”
I took the lecture and spliced it up, and rearranged it, (to a laymen) it still sounds seamless, as a lecture droning on however an expert would instantly recognize that it is nearly completely nonsensical.
Decter: Other than insects, what kind of natural sounds are an influence on your work?
King: Every natural sound I have experienced is an option. Wind, Rain, bird call. Crashing Superior wave. Nature has a huge influence on me and she has a large vocabulary.
Decter: How do you feel about contemporary commercial arts and the aesthetics of marketing?
King: To put it bluntly it freaks me out. I struggle with commercial arts. On one hand I am really uncomfortable (cringe-worthy) with the notion that those ideas would influence the creation of a piece of artwork. And if I ever noticed myself being influenced by it I would be disappointed in myself. It doesn’t align well with my values. I mostly try not to think about it. But on the other hand... I don’t think artworks should be valued less monetarily.
Decter: What other projects are you planning with 360 and/or your work? What's in your studio these days?
King: So many ideas!
I am currently on the hunt for dead bird specimens. I would really like to find (and freeze) some starlings that have met their untimely demise naturally, so that I can work from them as reference to create a kinetic sculpture. It will be an installation that again blends sculpture, audio and perhaps video into one piece. I have been talking to other SMACers who have experience in robotics and electronic sensing techniques to perhaps have the work interact with the viewer based off of their location in the space.
Decter: How would you describe your experience of the SMAC fest and SHIFTERS exhibition?
King: Bees humming, buzzing. Projectors, old, and new. Shifting, turning, There is a collective sound, click.hum.buzz. Soft words. The noise accumulates. I get a headache. I am pleased. I was really pleased to see the wide variety of selections within the exhibition and in the film fest. There is such a wide range of talent in the Algoma District.
Decter: What does it mean to you to be a part of the 360SMAC collective?
King: I like to think that 360SMAC is gently nudging the Sault to expand what their idea of art is.
Decter: How do your teaching and artwork influence each other?
King: I haven’t been teaching long enough to really understand how it will affect my studio practice, except that I am still learning how to manage my time to be able to get into the studio while I am teaching.
But my studio practice has influenced my teaching. I received my MFA in Intermedia (inter meaning between) so I often find myself seamlessly jumping between media, (jumping is not the right word... it feels like a continuous and fluid practice ...when I have shifted from one media to the next). It is this flexibility that I try to introduce to my students. I feel it has served me well to treat every aspect of the work process with as much respect as the last.