Detritus: Watching a Salt-Plotting Art Machine From a Hot Tub

September 30, 2013 | Kyle Chayka

Over the weekend, Jonathan Schipper‘s newest installation opened up at The Boiler, Pierogi Gallery’s large scale exhibition space housed in a repurposed factory boiler room.

There is about twelve tons of salt dispersed throughout the gallery, knee-high in some places. These salt piles are accompanied by a mysterious “salt-plotting” machine, carefully dangling and moving along a series of wires. This unusual contraption is controlled by a laptop, collecting portions of salt and forming them into abstracted shapes of everyday objects. In the rear area of the gallery, there sits a hot tub, open to visitors.

To use the hot tub, viewers must first trudge through the salt piles, subsequently destroying these newly formed objects in the process.

It is quite clear that the entire installation is grappling with notions of creation and destruction simultaneously, while providing visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience.

…an ever-changing environment composed of salt, human will, and hot water bathing. This installation consists of twelve tons of salt and a mechanism suspended from the ceiling by cables. By varying the length of the four cables, the machine moves about the room where it extrudes three-dimensional, abstracted objects in salt — representations of man-made objects that we take for granted as part of our every day world. Viewers have the option of observing these objects being created from the comfort of a hot tub.

Oh, and that hot tub was pretty nice too.

“Detritus,” Jonathan Schipper, The Boiler, Sept 27 – Nov 24, Williamsburg, NY (Photos and Vine: Kyle Petreycik/ANIMALNewYork)