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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Poems and Public Art: Poetry Chairs @ the Library

"Public art," states the website of visual artists, Mags Harries and Lajos Héderze,"is a lot more than placing large objects in public, it can reach every aspect of the environment and real its poetic possibilities. In all of our work we make art which shapes community places, creates community rituals, makes public places resonate with history, memory, and imagined possibilities. The completed projects presented on this web site take diverse forms but they all share these intentions and a highly site-specific approach." http://www.harriesheder.com/

The new public art project, of which I have the honor of being selected as one of the featured poets, is titled Passage which can be found at South Mountain Community Library in the Phoenix area of Arizona. One of the features of the work consists of what I term "poetry chairs"--large, solid structures which, when a person sits in it, recites poetry! Below please find additional information taken from the artist's website. http://www.harriesheder.com/projects/streets-walks-and-plazas-2/passage/




"Passage is a multi-faceted, collaborative public artwork.  The South Mountain Community Library is operated jointly by the Phoenix Public Library and South Mountain Community College.  Used by students and the community at large, the Library is a magnet for community identity and the spirit of learning.  To reflect this energy, we wanted to integrate visual elements with words.  With the help of noted local poet, Alberto Ríos, we focused with poetry onto the South Mountain landscape,  the quality of words, and the contents of the Library.  The project consists of four Poetry Trellises and three Acoustic Chairs.



Poetry/Curation: Alberto Ríos 
Poets: Dick Bakken, Jefferson Carter, Jeanne E. Clark, Ralph Cordova, Cynthia Hogue, Will Inman, Sydney James, Susan L. Krevitsky Law, Jimmy Lo, Rick Noguchi, Fernando Pérez, David Ray, Christine Rhein, Iliana Rocha, Lois Roma-Deeley, Jana Russ, Peggy Shumaker, David Sullivan, and Olfelia Zepeda



Acoustic Chairs
The three Acoustic Chairs are grouped in front of the Library’s main entrance.  They extend the architecture of the Library into the landscape, relating to South Mountain.  The seat surface of the Chairs is made of local Hualapai stone. The sides of the Chairs are made of colored concrete with steel letters cast into the surface.   Letters are also embedded into the surrounding pavement, as though cascading from the Chairs.  Each letter of the alphabet is represented in the jumble as well as the letters that make words that reference the landscape such as “desert,” “stone,” “mountain,” and “water”.  The scattered letters encourage visitors to make their own words and poetry.



Speakers inside the Chairs play recordings of poetry when activated by  motion sensors.  The poems play softly to create an intimate experience.  Ríos curated the collection of poems, featuring 19 poets writing about South Phoenix and the landscape of the area."



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