ARTIST’S PROJECT: HOMELAND SECURITY (IT’S HARD TO FIND A GOOD LAMP)

by Charles Stankievech*

Sept 22 – Oct 9, 2012 Marfa, Texas

The electromagnetic installation, HOMELAND SECURITY (It’s hard to find a good lamp), is the latest fieldwork and publication by artist Charles Stankievech, emerging from his time spent as a researcher-in-residence at the Fieldwork: Marfa residency in the southwest border town of Marfa, Texas.  It is a site famous for two reasons: on the one hand, Marfa was the home of Minimal artist Donald Judd and his long-term project, the Chinati Foundation, which houses his 100 aluminum boxes and Dan Flavin’s epic six building light situation. On the other hand, Marfa has a 100 year militarized history, from a base established to stop guns being smuggled south during the Mexican Revolution circa 1910 to the current War on Terror and War on Drugs focus on Chihuahua (Mexico’s most infamous state for drug cartels and violence) directly south of the town. HOMELAND SECURITY consists of 36 electrifying fluorescent bug zappers suspended in a grid from the ceiling of the town’s central public space—an enormous outdoor canopy. For two weeks (including the open- house weekend of the Chinati Foundation), during the dark hours of the night the lethal devices will fill the site with their blue glow and crackling sounds hinting at the paradoxes of security and beauty.  A small book presents the artist’s typical associative matrix through his selection of images and texts from the related cultural field, ranging from archival letters to country music lyrics, from historic patents drawings to recent scientific studies. The book is co-published by Marfa Book Co.** and Paper Pusher (Toronto).***

HOMELAND SECURITY (It’s hard to find a good lamp), Fieldwork Installation View, 2012, 36 electric inset zappers, 200ft x 50ft x 20 ft

Fieldwork Installation View, 2012, 36 electric inset zappers, 200ft x 50ft x 20 ft

HOMELAND SECURITY (It’s hard to find a good lamp), Fieldwork Installation View, 2012

Fieldwork Installation View, 2012

HOMELAND SECURITY (It’s hard to find a good lamp), Fieldwork Detail, 2012

Fieldwork Detail, 2012

Prototype Installation, 2012

Prototype Installation, 2012

Installation Prototype, 2012

Installation Prototype, 2012

Book, ISBN 978-0-9865678-9-6, 2012

Book, ISBN 978-0-9865678-9-6, 2012

HOMELAND SECURITY (It’s hard to find a good lamp), Poster, 2012

Poster, 2012

All images copyright Charles Stankievech 2012 ©.

All images courtesy C. Stankievech and Marfa Book Co.

*Charles Stankievech (b.1978, Canada) is an artist whose fieldworks, lectures and performances have been presented at Palais de Toyko (Paris), 10th Biennale of Architecture (Venice), Musee d’art contemporain de Montreal, NGBK (Berlin), International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA2010, Essen/Dortmund), and the Canadian Centre for Architecture.  Recent work includes the exhibition Oh, Canada at MASSMoCA and a performance at dOCUMENTA(13). A founding faculty member of the Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City, Stankievech splits his spacetime between the Yukon and Berlin.  Fieldwork: Marfa is the joint project of three major European schools, ESBA Nantes Métropole, HEAD- Genève and Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. This international researcher-in-residence program is dedicated to the practice of art in public space, critical approaches to landscape and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. 

**Marfa Book Co. is a bookstore; publisher; gallery; film, music and performance space located in Marfa, Texas, operated by Caitlin Murray & Tim Johnson. http://marfabookcompany.wordpress.com

***Paper Pusher is a small-batch publisher and craft print service located in Toronto, Canada. Exploring the future of publishing, we operate our own cottage-industry print production facility. Utilizing a Risograph stencil duplication process, and a careful selection of salvaged and new paper stocks, we publish highly considered art & literary books, posters, and other experimental paper-based objects.  http://paperpusher.ca/