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Oona Stern

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Image 1:
"Monacobreen" by Oona Stern and Cheryl Leonard
Kurant Gallery, Tromsø, Norway in conjunction with the Insomnia Festival for Future Music and Techno Culture. October 21-22, 2011

Monacobreen is based on glacier ice in Liefdefjorden, on the north side of Spitsbergen. A composition using field recordings is combined with video projected onto the floor of the gallery, overlaying a pattern of stones (continuous loop 3:40). A silhouette of the glacier is rendered on the walls.

This is the first of a series of installations for "Adfreeze Project", a collaborative venture about Spitsbergen in the Arctic Circle.

Images 2-3:
Canal St Station - A Train, Rector St Station - 1 Train, New York City. November 2008 - January 2009

Using the same material and process as commercial advertising, "deDomination" replaces a section of advertising posters in 2 NYC subway stations with wallpaper-like Baroque patterning. The intention is the absence of messaging. By applying a poster with a traditional interior pattern, the ad-space is returned to its architectural function, and the noise of advertising is temporarily cancelled out.

Project Description
Banner advertising is increasingly ubiquitous, especially in urban areas. It appears on free-standing billboards, building facades, subway walls, the exterior of vehicles – all surfaces are potentially subject to commercial advertising. In New York City this encroachment is especially poignant in the subway, where public space is commandeered for private profit, and the small confines allow no visual escape from the postered messages. "Station domination", where all sites in a given station are postered with the same campaign, is a practice designed to maximize a commercial message to a particular audience. Using the same material and process as traditional advertising, "deDomination" replaces a section of advertising posters in 2 NYC subway stations. The audience for "deDomination" is the average passerby, but the intention is the absence of messaging. By applying a poster without an overt promotion, the noise of advertising is temporarily cancelled out.

The image designed for this installation is a Baroque floral pattern. The poster is purely graphic. There is no message. The pattern is not just random decoration, but a traditional wall motif, certainly more appropriate to a wall than the advertising it replaces. The original artwork is a small scale drawing, which keeps its sketchiness when enlarged. The walls of the subway station play the role of a drawing substrate, and this project, in effect, becomes an act of drawing on the fabric of the city itself, though using means in stark contrast to the graffiti form of earlier interventions. These posters are paid for as any other advertising, and reflect our current economic and political culture in which free speech is really paid speech.

"deDomination" continues the "reSurfacing" series, which attempts to reclaim architectural surfaces from the pervasion of banner advertising. Similar to previous postering applied to walls, kiosks, and other urban surfaces, "deDomination" is intended to be experienced as part of the everyday fabric of the city, on both a conscious and unconscious level. The nature of "deDomination" is not to announce itself as an artwork. Rather, it acts as a commentary, offering a critique of current commercial and architectural practices. It creates a kind of public good, designed to improve the everyday environment. In applying the posters to a section of a station, "deDomination" seeks to generate maximum relief from unwanted messaging. The resulting installation generates a multifaceted dialog between drawing, architecture, and advertising practices, relieving the cacophony of consumer messaging while bringing a unique experience to thousands of passersby on any ordinary day.

"deDomination" was made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the NYC Department of Cultural affairs, and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

New York, NY
New York
North America


Web Links
adfreeze project
Antarctic Sun interview
the reluctant naturalist, Westchester Community College
art in odd places
Ice Notes
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