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Art in Life Beyond

Read more to find about aspects of art integrated to locations outside the school and community of Episcopal High School

GLENSTONE

By Hayoung Lee

Published 01/29/2019

Multisensory art is a modern concept, where artists utilize both the visual and auditory aspect of art to create a piece, a piece that gives experience. Sometimes this experience involves in all 5 senses, including tastes and smell. Many artworks displayed in the museum, Glenstone give a physical experience for the viewer. 

Glenstone shows consistency in their building structure, color, and texture. All buildings are straight, rectangular, grey and show a smooth texture. Even all the clothes that the staff wear, are grey.

This minimalistic designed environment can be interpreted as an attempt to engage the viewer with the artwork in the museum. As mentioned before, many artworks in Glenstone give the viewer an experience. The hollowness of the surroundings may have been set up to not distrurb the viewer’s string of thoughts and feelings as they witness the art pieces. The grey layout of the building gives the atmosphere of physical silence, which may be a path set up to reach mental tranquility.

Untitled, 1992, is a room-scale, multisensory presentation made up of various components: darkened exterior pathways, a brightly lit interior chamber with a hand-painted 360-degree mural of a forest on the walls, sinks with running water mounted on the walls, and multiple “prison windows,” forged iron bars through which a view of a painted sky is visible. Around the room’s floor are piles of newspapers and boxes of rat bait. Together these elements form an immersive work of art.

The experience at the darkened exterior pathway that is first visible to the viewer upon their entrance, is quite mysterious as the piles of newspapers and rat bait boxes scattered along the pathway almost give the evidence that civilization and life were previously present.

 Yet the sound of the water falling suggests a waterfall, a forest, implying that life forms are still vigorously present in the room. 

Once one enters the rather hollow chamber to discover the water taps and a mural of a forest on the walls, with iron bars, the viewer’s conception of the room to contain vigorous life is erased, leaving them to view the chamber as an attempt to fabricate life, as an attempt to lure the viewer in and trap them.

The surreal and analog installation, Ever Is Over All, 1997, by Pipilotti Rist, is placed in a chamber, composed of videos projected diagonally on two adjacent walls. 

One of the videos depicts an exuberant woman holding a tall plant, similar to a flower, as she dances and walks across the road. She then proceeds to shatter a window of a parked car, remaining her jolly facade.

This video repeats itself, sometimes showing the woman’s encounter with a female policeman. Despite the viewer’s expectations, the female policeman does not arrest the woman for her vandalism.

The other video illustrates a close up of the plant itself, placed in a background of grass.

The shocking scene of the woman sabotaging the car window is undermined by the woman’s high spirited behavior and the playful, yet unsettling music. The beanbags scattered on the ground shows the intent of relaxing the viewer as they witness the shocking yet joyful act of repeated vandalism.

Swiss visual artist and filmmaker Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) is known for her short-length, engrossing video artworks, and multimedia installations. For many of her iconic projects, she took the roles of director, producer, composer, and actor—all of which reflects on her varied interests in human emotion, female sexuality, psychology, music, and her own body. Over and over, her films ask viewers to reconcile the duality, and often conflict, between what they see and how they feel.

LANDSCAPES OF GLENSTONE

The landscape of Glenstone was designed by PWP Landscape Architecture. Glenstone has 230 acres of landscape integrated with both architecture and art. The landscape includes paths, trails, streams, meadows, forests and outdoor sculptures throughout the grounds. Glenstone has used an organic method of landscaping since 2010, working to replace harsh chemicals with more gentle alternatives in order to sustain a healthy environment for visitors and native wildlife. 

Glenstone also maintains their own composting station and produce compost tea, to use it as fertilizers, amending the soil on the grounds. 

Glenstone planted trees and vegetation as part of their reforestation efforts. From 2013~2018, they planted more than 7,000 trees, in addition to thousands of shrubs, grasses, and flowers.

Glenstone is also selective in planting vegetation. They plant only native, species, which require the few resources to maintain, yet also provide appropriate food and habitat for local fauna.

The large meadow unifies the landscape as a whole, emphasizing the layout and contours of the terrain. Glenstone chooses specific grasses and wildflowers that will nurture a balanced ecosystem when cultivating the vast acres of meadow.