Ivory Tower, Contemporary Wing

A multi-work video installation concurrent with Art Basel, Miami Beach. Co-curated by Ginger Shulick and Lauren Gentile Thu, 12/01/2011 to Sun, 12/04/2011

Tiffany Carbonneau, Alex Villar, Phillip David Stearns, Paul D. Miller, Sean Capone, Nia Burks, Paul Moakley Since the 19th century, the term “ivory tower” has been used to designate a world or atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. As such, it usually carries pejorative connotations of a willful disconnect from the everyday world; esoteric, over-specialized, or even useless research; and academic elitism, if not outright condescension.

The commencement of the 21st century in general and the state of America’s economy in particular have marked an ever-increasing divide between what artists want to create, what galleries want to sell, and what people want to see and buy. Never is this more evident than during the first week of December, when thousands of aesthetes flock like wintering geese to Miami. Ivory Tower is an attempt to bridge the gaps between the experimental/experiential and commercially-viable art, if only for a moment in time. The diversity of works shown span the fields of science, documentary film, user-generated and theoretical content, and the space between the familiar and the bizarre. Ivory Tower is set high above the downtown skyline in the glittering Marquis Miami, “downtown Miami’s most elevated address”. Participating artists to date include: Alex Villar, Nia Burks, Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Paul Moakley, Phillip David Stearns, Sean Capone and Tiffany Carbonneau.

Alex Villar will be showing his latest work, “Breaking into Business”, created in Lublin, Poland for the 2011 Open City Festival. The title ‘Breaking into Business’ provides a literal description as Villar utilizes moveable scaffolding to access a variety of establishments, serving as a humorous critique on gaining successful entry into a field of industry. Taken together, these actions suggest a more direct route into a desirable space.

Paul D. Miller’s “Antarctica Project” concerns the intersection of mathematics and music composition, taking the hexagonal design of the snowflake and overlaying the image over a logarithmic sound track of beats coupling sound and repeating numbers. Inspired by Penrose Stairs, the Sierpinski Triangle, and cellular automata, Miller visualizes the applications of these visual anomalies onto an aural paradigm. Similarly, Phillip David Stearns’ “DCP Series” and “Apeiron | Peras” are created through data generated by either sonifying or visualizing raw electronic signals, thus rendering raw data into images.

Tiffany Carbonneau explores the impact of our surroundings by presenting familiar structures in an unfamiliar way. Carbonneau allows the viewer to experience subtle architectural influences through means of video and projection, documenting and re-contextualizing. Nia Burks too re-contextualizes work, primarily found digital material. By rearranging pre-existing data, Burks is able to completely transform user-generated content by altering it as little as possible. Minimal interference by the artist is the trademark of Paul Moakley, Deputy Photo Editor for Time Magazine. Moakley remains pure to the documentary video and photography aesthetic as he records surroundings that are simultaneously familiar and alien to him. Projection artist Sean Capone will completely transform the “alternative” spaces of Ivory Tower, commenting on the intersection of lowbrow and high art.

Contemporary Wing
Marquis Residences, 50th Floor
1100 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132

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