a build-it-yourself (multi)verse

A few questions with Liz Sales about her thesis show:

a build-it-yourself (multi)verse
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 10, 2010, 6 – 10 PM
On View: Sunday, April 11, 2010, 12-5 PM

ICP Studio Gallery
24-20 Jackson Avenue, 3rd Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

How did you come to title your show a build-it-yourself (multi)verse?
The title is an amalgamation of two of my favorite episodes of Radiolab: DIY Universe and The (Multi) Universe(s).  Both feature Brian Greene discussing the multiverse.  We generally think of the universe as everything that exists even though we know physicists speculate about the existence of multiple universes.  According to Green, it would ”only” take ”a tiny black hole, a dash of reverse-gravity and a lot of luck” for any of us to build one of our own universe, or at least he believes the laws of physics don’t rule it out.  This is how I think about making work, as creating a new universe or at least a new world.  A photograph exists outside our experience of space and time, similar to what it depicts but not the same, with its own laws.
I bracketed out ‘multi’ to delineate that it could be omitted leaving ‘verse’ as its own word. I wanted to draw attention to the relationship between images and text and to suggest the images in my exhibition be viewed as multiple verses in a single piece of writing. Plus, I love round brackets, they remind me of front and back lens elements both in shape and function.

Any good stories about bringing your show together?
Not really, I just had the usual mishaps and catastrophes.  I’m very grateful to Alejandra Dillon, Holly and Róisín for helping me paint both rooms of the studio grey.  If they hadn’t I’d probably still be there painting now.

Did you have to pull pieces you wanted for your thesis show for the group show? (was that difficult)
It was a little confusing at first.  I have some duplicate images in the group show but my book sculptures are one of a kind.  The I copy of Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan converted into a music box and its corresponding ICP Library Record work best where it is at ICP group show across from the library so that decision was easy.

Do you have a favorite work in this show?
Yes! Orlando. I’m exhibiting Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, one of my favorite books, laying flat, face up with three 1” cubes cut from the cover down to three separate illustrated pages in book, the illustration of Orlando as a young boy, the illustration of Orlando as a woman upon her return to England and the final illustration in the book and its caption, “Orlando at the present time.” I filled the holes with small prisms that extend past the book cover.  I laid more prisms atop the untouched potions of the book cover so that together the prism create something akin to relief cartography.  To see the revealed images and text through the prism you need to look through them from different angles.  Humorously the optics of the piece make it a difficult one to document photographically.

How long have you been shooting with marbles?
I enjoyed building homemade camera for awhile before I returned to school.  Before graduate school I worked in motion picture as a technician so, I guess I’m a tinkerer by nature.  I love many makes and models of cameras but I also love the idea that cameras are not exclusively commodities, anything can be turned into a camera.  I started using marbles as lenses about a year and half ago after I found a small chest full of marbles amongst my old childhood things. Before I figures out the correct flange focal distance for achieving discernible images, the ones I got were totally abstract. I’ve been able to make marbleoptics images similar to the one’s in me show for about a year but, I’m still tweaking the camera design.

How long have you been working with books?
I’ve been working with books for a little under a year.  I took a bookbinding class and decided that rather than binding my own books I’d like to bind the open side of existing books shut and then cut threw the shut books to create new things like stereoscopic viewers, music boxes or planters.  I’m currently turning a copy of Frankenstein into a marbleoptics camera.

Why did you start working with books?
I was not threw morning the death of analog photography when I found out about Kindle. I remember saying, “No, not books too!”  I think part of the my bookmaking or unbookmaking process is sublimation, a way of grieving the loss of my two favorite things, analog photography and books, things I can interact with physically without an incomprehensible intermediary.  A way of dealing with impermanence.

Is there anything you want people to know before they see your work and/or show?
As much as they already know, even if that’s nothing.  I think one of the benefits of having a thesis show is the opportunity for dialog it provides.  I’m looking forward to discussing the work with people, answering questions and getting a read on the work additional to my own.

Is there anything you want people to take away from your show?
More than anything, I hope that what people get out of the show is pleasure.  I tried to make a fun show.

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