The Illuminated Underground Micro-Gallery (video)

    It’s somewhat disjointed, but I shot a few snippets of video on Friday as I was putting the Illuminated Underground Micro-Gallery into the ground at the Water Street Sculpture Park, and I wanted to share it with those of you who weren’t able to make it out and see it in person this past weekend.

    As for what’s inside the box, I wasn’t going to share it online, thinking that maybe people would be more inclined to go and look for themselves if they didn’t know what awaited them, but, now that a few days have passed, and some readers from out-of-state have inquired, I thought that I’d go ahead and share a few photos.

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    As I explained it the other day to someone who came out to see it, “It’s a locally sourced robin’s nest, lined with artisanally grizzled beard hair, and filled to the brim with enough heirloom apple seeds to either take the life of a full grown man or start a small community.”

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    It’s hard to tell from these photos, but it kind of hovers a foot or so from the floor of the gallery, in the middle of the box.

    As a rule, I don’t like artist statements. I don’t recall ever having read one that made me appreciate a piece of art any more than I did already. Conversely, though, I’ve found myself liking pieces quite a bit less after having read what artists had to say about their work. So, I’ll spare you the “message” behind my piece. What I will say, however, is that apple seeds have been interesting to me for a long time, as they hold within them such immense promise, while, at the same time, being so deadly. I’ve always appreciated that duality. On one hand you have these beautiful, compact seeds that contain the world within them, the blueprint for life. They’re explosive. They’re magical. They hold the promise of sustenance, both food and drink. And, on the other, they’re these tiny hydrogen cyanide pills. Granted, I exaggerated a bit when I said earlier that my work contained enough to kill a person. As I understand it, it would take about half a cup of dried, ground seeds to do the job, and my piece doesn’t contain nearly that many, but I wasn’t trying to be literal. I just liked the idea of a little, glowing “break glass in case of emergency” capsule in the middle of nowhere that would present you with a choice… either consume the contents and die, escaping all of the bad that is around us, or plant them and set about the difficult work of building a sustainable community. That’s as far as I’m going to go with the explanation. I’m sure, however, if you spend a few minutes thinking about the state of the world in general, and the state of Ypsilanti specifically, you’ll begin to see where I’m coming from.

    Also, I should add that I’m already in the process of planning another, which I think will be even better… So keep looking down.

    [If you'd like to see how the piece came together, you'll find photos documenting the construction here... And, again, I'd like to thank Dale Grover, Rob Todd, and the folks at Maker Works, without whom this never would have happened. They're awesome folks.]

    Posted in Art and Culture, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

    Given Snyder’s track record in office, it wasn’t a difficult task, but Schauer destroyed him on Sunday night

    According to a recent New York Times poll of 2,560 likely voters in Michigan, Democratic candidate Mark Schauer is leading Rick Snyder in the race for Governor by two points, and, judging from yesterday’s town hall event, in which both men addressed an audience of uncommitted voters, it’s not difficult to imagine that this margin could widen.

    Here, if you haven’t seen it, is video the of the event, during which everything from the rampant proliferation of for-profit charter schools across Michigan to the recent scandals concerning the privatization of our prison food industry were touched on. If you just have a few minutes, though, I’d suggest jumping in at the 44-minute mark, where Schauer calls Snyder out for his position against marriage equality. I think it really gets to the heart of who these two men are.

    [If you find yourself wanting more, check out my interview with Mark Schauer over beers in the basement of Arbor Brewing.]

    Posted in Michigan, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

      The Ypsilanti Underground Micro Gallery is now open for business

      It took almost the entire day, but the new gallery is now open.

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      Posted in Art and Culture, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

      The Quote of the Day…. by Ben Connor Barrie

      I’m not exactly sure what it was in reference to, but I turned a corner this evening and heard Ben Connor Barrie, the editor of Damn Arbor, make the following statement…

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      I know I should have stuck around and found out what in the hell he was talking about. Instead, though, I ran home and took a scalding hot shower.

      Posted in Other, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti | Tagged , | 10 Comments

      The underground micro-gallery is almost done

      That little art project I told you about a few days ago is coming along nicely.

      I could have probably done a better job with the construction of the box, but I imagine that it’ll support the weight of people walking over it once it’s in the ground, which is all that really matters.

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      I’d purchased a decorative porthole window for the top of the box. The more I looked at it, though, the more I knew that it wouldn’t be sturdy enough. Thankfully, after a little calling around, I was able to procure a 6″ section of pipe…

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      …and my friends at Maker Works were able to help me out by firing up their incredibly beautiful Cincinnati lathe.

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      It took about half an hour, but, by the time we were done, we’d cut a 3/4″ deep notch along the inside lip of the pipe…

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      …perfect for holding the plexiglass disk we’d just cut with the Maker Works laser.

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      With the addition of some clear silicone caulk, the pieces came together beautifully.

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      All that was left to do was epoxy the pipe to the top panel, which held the solar-powered LED spotlight.

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      Damn! Isn’t that incredible? I can’t wait to see it in the ground, glowing.

      [None of this could have happened without Dale Grover and the folks at Maker Works, who are just incredible. If you've never been, you should definitely check them out. They're awesome.]

      Posted in Art and Culture, Mark's Life, Special Projects, Ypsilanti | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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