Part of Avalanche Dynamics
In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.
– Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias” (1984/1967) .,
The making of PALOMAR October 23, 1014 at Mt Wilson Observatory, 1:33–3:45 pm
In anticipation of Made in L.A. 2014 at the Hammer Museum.
From: Brian O’Connell [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 7:43 AM
Subject: Bodrum Tirhandil Project
Dear Professor Bass,
My name is Brian O’Connell. I am an artist based in New York. I am currently in Turkey planning a project meant to take place in the next year. I’m interested in the way that forms, ancient and contemporary, carry known and sometimes unknown records of their cultural and structural antecedents. In the spring of 2009 I made a 13 foot functional cement hull in Los Angeles (see: http://boconnell.org/ART/BOAT/Boat1.html). The form of this hull was based on that of an earlier boat used by Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader in 1975.
My current project involves a much more complicated history that I am hoping you may be able to lend some insight into. I’m currently looking for a disused and or no-longer seaworthy 9-10 meter boat in or around Bodrum. This boat will be used as a mold for a “new” concrete vessel which will bare the impression of the old structure on its inside surface.
I am hoping to find a tirhandil which according to some internet sources (I’ve been unable to find reliable literature on this subject) dates back some 2500 years. Apparently Tirhandil are the oldest form (and shape) of boat still used in the region. Furthermore, the name is said to derive from Greek for 3 to 1. Based on the working boats I’ve seen while here this seems plausible but I’m wondering if you have any ideas about whether or not this is true and where I might look to better source such claims. I also found it interesting and encouraging to note that many of the wrecks – e.g. that at Bozburun (15 x 5 m) – have similar proportions.
This form and its history (if true) is of particular interest to me because like ancient Greek sculpture, proportion directs all the boat’s dimensions. If one could start with a single dimension and go from there just as ancient mathematicians did (after all Pythagoras couldn’t and didn’t need to calculate Pi as long as he could define and use it) the implications for how form is transmitted over time and across cultures and disciplines are fascinating to me as an artist.
Thanks you very much for your consideration and I look forward to hearing any suggestions you may have.
All the best,
Brian O’Connell / www.boconnell.org / 436 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205 / tel. +1.917-553-4227
I left for Istanbul via Paris in mid-July. When I took this picture I had no idea of the closeness of the machine I was about to board to the ancient technologies for which I was setting out in search.
Home experiments in NYC with dryed indigo sold as “black henna” proved successful.
Homes for German Sculpture is a group of photographs and sculptures done for and in response to the show “Ideal City—Invisible Cities” (Curated by Sabrina van der Ley and Markus Richter) which took place in Zamosc, Poland, and Potsdam, Germany in the summer of 2006. A principal concern of this show, evident in its title, was the tension between preservation (i.e. the maintnance of an illusive ‘ideal’) and visibility. The photographs (Park Map: Schlosspark Sanssouci) were taken during a walk through the Schlosspark Sanssouci in early spring. The neo-classical sculptures of the former summer palace of Frederick the Great had just been uncovered after a winter literally housed in their own structures; wooden gable roofed houses. The panels used for these houses were stacked in front of the sculptures on which they had been placed. Each image foregrounds these stacks as if they were themselves placed as some sort of sculptural intervention. The photographs are hung in a grid temporally and spatially replicating the walk from top to bottom and left to right. The sculptural components of Homes for German Sculpture reproduce two primary types of these winter “houses” in a scale familiar to portrait sculptures on pedestals, one tall and thin, the other made up of three low long modules. They take their names (Cape Cod and Ranch Three Times) from Dan Graham’s seminal “Homes for America” in which he writes of American housing developments:
Each house in a development is a lightly constructed “shell,” although this fact is often concealed by fake (half-stone) brick walls. Shells can be added or subtracted easily. The standard unit is a box or series of boxes,.. When the box has a sharply oblique roof it is called a “Cape Cod.” When it is longer than wide, it is a “ranch.”
Homes for German Sculpture:
These are the first digital photographs I ever took. I think the camera was made by Epson, or maybe Sony. In 1998, I set off on a fin de siècle reconstruction of Walter Benjamin’s Childhood in Berlin around 1900 in the new language of pixels. I didn’t make it very far. I would again photograph near Berlin (Potsdam) in 2006 shooting 35mm slide film on an inherited Olympus with a broken light-meter for photographs that became Homes for German Sculpture.