Continuing from yesterday’s posting about the Guggenheim show, The Third Mind, here is Ann Hamilton discussing her installation, “human carriage” from an article by Scarlet Cheng in the Los Angeles Times:

“You become aware of something through the culture and atmosphere you inhabit,” says Hamilton, who’s based in Ohio. “It’s an influence everywhere and nowhere at the same time.” She does recall that as a child she was fascinated by things her grandmother brought back from a trip to Japan — boxes and textiles. As an adult, one of her favorite books was Hideyuki Oka’s “How to Wrap 5 Eggs,” which presented the Japanese aesthetics of wrapping things in simple, often natural material.

This called attention to “the care and the process in which something is offered or given,” Hamilton says, and she sees that the carefully considered, low-tech nature of “human carriage,” commissioned by the Guggenheim, has some of the same aesthetics.

In “human carriage,” the artist also responded to the interior of Wright’s museum — and made use of the spiraling rotunda space. Throughout the day, a set of Tibetan hand cymbals, suspended in a carriage of silk cloth, will travel down a pipe hung from the curved balustrade — creating a ringing heard throughout the museum. When they reach the lobby, a “reader” at an upper level will load a stack of books — cut guillotine style and glued and tied together in bundles — onto a vertical pulley, which lifts the bells back to the top of the ramp. The work is an expression of the often invisible process of cultural transmission and knowledge. “You never know how a sound dissipates,” Hamilton says, “when it arrives and where it is carried.”

Always drawn to Hamilton’s work, I was deeply touched that she loved a book that left me breathless when I was young as well–Hideyuki Oka’s How to Wrap 5 Eggs. It seems so appropriately foundational for so much of the work she has produced. I still have my copy.

If this train of thought interests you, there is an excellent interview with Ann Hamilton with one of my favorite art observers, Robert at Ayers, at A Sky Filled with Shooting Stars which is best read in its entirety on his site.

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Ann Hamilton

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