Large portraits hang on a wall in a curved hallway with a wood slat celing

podcast / art / president
October 27, 2021
Produced by: Christine Spines

Change Lab Podcast Episode 50

Ann Hamilton on the Power of I-Don’t-Know

To experience one of Ann Hamilton’s installations is to be transported into a world of invention unlike any other. Recognized for her large-scale public projects and performance collaborations, Ann uses space as her canvas and fills it with a sense of mystery and drama that is as inviting as it is provocative.

The ‘nose’ of your work knows where you want to go before you know exactly.

Ann Hamilton

Though much of her work is, by nature, transitory, its impact and ideas endure. To get a sense of the experiential texture of her work, look no further than her extraordinary 2012 installation, the event of a thread, at New York’s Park Avenue Armory. The hauntingly beautiful piece filled the large space with billowing white fabric panels and an array of swings inviting participants to experience a joy and weightlessness too often relegated to childhood.

In this timely and incisive Change Lab interview, conducted the day before the 20th anniversary of 911, Hamilton explored the ideas animating CHORUS, her public art installation at the World Trade Center Cortland subway station. The piece, visible from the platform and passing trains, consists of a field of marble mosaic weaving the texts of the Declaration of Independence and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights onto a wall beneath the spot where the towers once stood.

declaration of independence on the WTC wall

Change Lab listeners will recognize her ideas connecting making and exploration as core to the themes explored throughout this show. And her insights, offered liberally throughout this episode, artfully illuminate the creative power and exhilaration that comes from braving uncertainty and lingering in the mysterious “I-don’t-know.”

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