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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Currently Hanging: A Machine That Wants It All

Posted by on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

  • Courtesy the artist and Olson Kundig Architects

Mark VonRosenstiel is a Seattle artist who builds moving sculptures in locations from Pioneer Square to Hong Kong. He has a background in theoretical math. "As a kid I was obsessed with an absolute truth, the idea that math could be a savior to all, that all meaning in the world could be distilled into an equation," he said, as if he missed it. When he grew up, he became an artist instead.

His newest project is a hungry, obsessed arm. It writes "I WANT ALL OF THIS" on a 20-by-30-foot floor that's painted black like a chalkboard.

If it wants so much, why isn't it doing anything except rehearsing a phrase? What is "all of this"? Does the intensity of wanting something this much muffle its specific-ness?

And why does this display in some ways feel so familiar? How is it like me or you or everybody we know, talking more than doing? Or is talking doing? Is talking un-doing?

"It's as if I said, 'I want to be a better person,' and then went home and watched reruns of Community all day," VonRosenstiel said.

The project is open 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Olson Kundig Storefronts through Monday. Olson Kundig's offices are upstairs from the Storefronts project, which, with its changing exhibitions curated by Alan Maskin, acts as "an experimental work space for our firm." Upstairs in the offices is another work by VonRosenstiel, from a few years ago, when he programmed an algorithm that created a drawing of the light in the office on one of the interior walls as it fell. Kinetic architecture. The relationship between buildings and machines and bodies and wanting.


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