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subdivision (part of a work by Allison Lacher & Jeff Robinson)

  • University Galleries of Illinois State University 1 Uptown Circle #103 Normal, IL 61761 United States (map)

With its seven framed-out wooden façades,­­ Allison Lacher and Jeff Robinson’s Subdivision transforms two galleries into a faux neighborhood where, on a weekly basis, additional artists are invited to manipulate one of the home-like structures in any manner of their choosing. Glossy white sheets of acrylic are attached to the face of every façade, each bearing its own vinyl decal depicting a common household object such as a vent, light switch, or power outlet. The installation immerses visitors in a landscape that evokes a recession-stricken, partially developed subdivision that is strangely populated by utilitarian-looking, Mondrian-like sculptures surrounded by decals of picket fences.

Subdivision will continually evolve during its six-week duration as the artists selected by Lacher and Robinson incrementally build upon, alter, or reinvent one of the aforementioned sculptures “causing,” according to Robinson and Lacher, “the exhibition to develop in ways not entirely within anyone’s control.” As people gather for the exhibition’s opening on Tuesday, February 21, at 5pm, Andy Roche and Selina Trepp will be the first participating artists to respond to their assigned structure. Following suit on successive Fridays, artists Amanda Bowles and Erin Hayden, Alejandro T. Acierto, Thad Kellstadt, and collaborative duo Melissa Oresky and Zak Boerger, will “perform” their work with a free public event in the gallery. In the last week of the exhibition, the “subdivision” will have changed from a conglomeration of similar architectural forms to a mash-up of different aesthetics, styles, practices, materials, and tastes—from a series of houses to a community of neighbors.

Friday, March 10, at 7 pm

Alejandro T. Acierto will activate the space through an experimental participatory project that considers the nature of political organizing in the era of Web 2.0. Using a real-time social media monitoring program as a backdrop to activate a set of megaphones within the installation, Acierto engages the structure as an open framework that student organizations and activists can inhabit. After a preliminary solo performance for megaphones and voice, the structure will offer various communities a temporary site to return to, work in, strategize, and recoup for the rest of the exhibition. Using open source technologies, Return, refresh, sustain attempts to embody and present a framework that enables collaborative interactions between organizers, communities, and the public.