Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sublime Environment: Materials and Applications workshop led by Judy Chicago


Housed in a newly constructed shopping center, Judy Chicago's 1968 collaborative installation, Disappearing Environments, consisted of 9 dry ice ziggurats and red road flares. Chicago's goals were "anti-monumentality, anti-consumerism, to transform and soften the environment." Each ziggurat contained 91 blocks of dry ice, weighing roughly 60 pounds each. That is nearly 25 tons of dry ice. Sublime Environment will be a reinterpretation of Disappearing Environments.

Volunteers met last Saturday for a meet and greet at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hanger. Judy Chicago and her husband, Donald Woodman, along with Materials and Applications' directors Jenna Didier and Oliver Hess, introduced us to the project. Ethereal projected images captivated our attention, but the real magic happened when Woodman pulled out a block of dry ice and began to experiment. 

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. Sublimation occurs when material transforms from a solid to gas, or vice versus, without becoming liquid. The process is sublime.

Clad in coats and gloves, we stepped out to the parking lot to play with blocks of dry ice, modifying their precise cube forms with tools, testing construction hypothesis and baring the weight of moving these forms. The foggy air caused thick gas to roll off the blocks, blurring the precise edges, transforming the light of the red road flares to a soft pink.

Each team will get 91 blocks of dry ice and 36 road flares. Concept, design and approach will be finalized during December's meeting.


Sublime Environment will take place on January 19, 2012, as part of Pacific Standard Time's Public Art and Performance Festival.

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