This round of guides are soundbites taken straight from interviews with the exhibiting artists themselves, and they include a description of each piece as well as bonus commentary that covers a variety of different topics from how the artists created their pieces, to what it was like working at the Mattress Factory, and more. Here is a quick overview of each track and some highlighted quotes from the artists' commentary.
Jacob and Ethan describe their piece as a near future living environment in which a totally functioning bio system made to harvest and cultivate a kind of algae called Spirulina, is integrated into different kinds of furniture in a home environment.
Jacob Douenias: "...even now the first reaction when you talk to people about algae is they think of scum, the goopy pond stuff... Most people's first impression is not great, so with this piece it is a proof of concept, that this can be beautiful. Leaving aside the functionality, it could be a resource-efficient way of providing a supplementary nutrient, fuel and doing these things in a way so they don't take up extra space."
Track 2: [Bonus Commentary]
Jacob and Ethan tell us about their backgrounds in architecture and industrial design, and their unusual transition into installation art and how it's freed up their process.
Ethan Frier: "I've (always) wanted to make something that is more art, but I'm a designer... How do I make this thing practical? I've kind of realized that art and design - there is a very fluid border between them... There is art in everything and design in everything. I think working as an artist has freed up my design process a lot more because I feel more comfortable to go outside the bounds of what the profession is perceived to be."
Julie Schenkelberg describes the process of collecting materials from the area where she's building, the kinds of objects she collects and why, and the story that she's trying to tell in her work.
"Sometimes I explain my pieces as if they are tattered manuals and pieces are discarded or missing and then we have these objects in front of us that we're unsure how to operate. So I operate them the way that I would imagine and therefore pieces of molding become structure for the room. Dishes become pieces that support a chair... You walk in and it's completely chaotic and it is totally blended together as the same symphony and it becomes this quiet moment."
Track 4: [Bonus Commentary]
Julie talks about how she always thought she had a story to tell, and the lonely path she followed for a while after quitting theatre and trying to find a way to tell her story as a different kind of artist.
"It just sort of happened. I stopped painting and started touching objects, using objects and then a wise person told me I couldn't deny my theatre history. So the paintings came off the wall with objects and then it just started cascading onto the floor and up to the ceiling - that was a moment when it just took over. And it just kept taking over."
Anne Lindberg describes the intricate process involved in creating her piece and the performative quality that can only be carried out while working on-site at the Mattress Factory.
"So the piece is comprised of hundreds of lines of cotton thread that are held taught between two walls in the space and then between the floor and the upper edge of the bay window... In terms of a process, the lines that make up the work are stitched or threaded back and forth between the walls as if you are stitching the architecture. There is a person at each wall wielding a staple gun and there is a runner or perhaps one of us stepping down and moving the thread so it is a performance of sorts when it is being made."
Track 6: [Bonus Commentary]
Anne talks about how the history of the space in which she creates her work influences the way she designs and creates them, and how the Mattress Factory's willingness to give her the freedom to alter the space as much as she wishes is a truly unique experience as an artist.
"I try to visit the space and... look at it in a very diagrammatic way as well as a more human way. Who are the visitors? What is the history of the building? How will that tell me how to form the work? ...The thing I come away with is that it seems like anything is possible here. In a quite literal way I've been allowed to staple to the floor. That's not possible in 99% of the spaces you're invited to work in... that understanding that a space is a space and it has character and if you want to change it or alter it. That's a real testament to the leadership here... That all those spaces have equal value. And I'll go away with that and remember that."
Track 7: John Morris, "Life, Afterlife"
John Morris tells us about how he integrates everyday objects into his artwork that people may believe are ugly or unappreciated, and through a simple process he allows you to rediscover these objects in a new and beautiful way.
"I think to some extent the goal of the work is... that I would be able to integrate almost anything. Like by peeling, rediscovering the world and maybe appreciating it in a new way... and then learning to integrate these things together in some new way and accepting what they become."
Track 8: [Bonus Commentary]
John tells us about how he got started as an artist by doodling and drawing things and how that relates to his current work, and also how his work has to do with pushing boundaries and definitions of certain kinds of artwork.
"My major thing I'm known for is drawing and a lot of things I'm doing in that installation... there is some sense of drawing. Like doodling, I don't know where it's going... I think there is something about this work that is very much about pushing, you know really pushing boundaries and accepting what other things could be and just not defining it in any way. Is this a drawing? Is this a painting? Is this an installation? When does it begin? When does it end?
The audio guides can be found on the Mattress Factory Soundcloud page, or by clicking one of the two links on the Mattress Factory website's home page (the scrolling banner at the top or the "Listen Now" link on the bottom right). Listen to them at the museum or listen from the comfort of your own home!