SiteWork: Blending Space, Color, and Sound with a dash of Public Consumption

We all have those oh we should do that epiphanies, but how many of those brain babies do we actually follow through on?

Well, artists Lincoln Hancock, David McConnell and Harrison Haynes began discussing lack of opportunities for site-related artwork in the Triangle in early 2013.  Within just a few months, their discussions blossomed into SiteWork, a full-fledged artist-led organization whose mission is to support noncommercial contemporary art practices such as installation, video, and performance in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Their explicit goal is to bring the work of Triangle-based artists into a broader conversation with the public and encourage collaboration between local and international artists.

SiteWork debuted at the Hopscotch Music Festival in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina from Sept. 5 – 7, 2013.  The seven indoor and outdoor projects explore the relationship between music, sound, and contemporary visual art.  Like Hopscotch itself, SiteWork incorporates artists from all over the world.  However, the local artists captured the dialogue between art, sound, and space especially effectively.

Hopscotch attendees checking out artwork by Taiyo Kimura and Sara Magenheimer outside of Kings. Courtesy of the Duke Chronicle article "SiteWork promotes contemporary art in the Triangle" by Anna Mukamal

Hopscotch attendees checking out artwork by Taiyo Kimura and Sara Magenheimer outside of Kings. Courtesy of the Duke Chronicle article “SiteWork promotes contemporary art in the Triangle” by Anna Mukamal

Casey Cook, from Chapel Hill, NC, completed a mural outside of Lump Gallery/Projects entitled Marcel Mural. This mural was inspired by the performances of Marcel Marceau, who used movement, facial expression, and music to build evocative imaginary environments.  Painting can speak without using words in this same way. Through color, shape, and varying perspectives, a wall can be transformed into an abstract environment.

Casey Cook and assistants in front of completed “Marcel Mural”

Harrison Haynes, from Durham, NC, concocted No Concert, a site-specific installation consisting of sound, video projection and photography.  Using Francis Picabia’s 1924 collaborative, interdisciplinary event Relâche as a jumping off point, Haynes brought together his passions for photography, painting, video, and drumming under one roof.

A large projected video screen bisected the gallery and cycled through a series of scenes depicting assemblages of objects in Haynes’ studio as they are subjected to certain conditions of light. Large, unframed photographs showing tiers of metal work-lamps hung perpendicular to the gallery walls, obstructing the video screen and requiring viewers to move around the space. In No Concert, Haynes also unveiled an original percussion-based sound composition, which ran continually during the exhibition.

No Concert, 2013 (installation view), Lump Gallery/Projects, Raleigh NC — video projection, inkjet print and sound, dimensions variable

Lincoln Hancock, from Raleigh, NC, created Journey in Turiya as an homage to Alice Coltrane, the late musician and swamini of the Sai Anantam Ashram in California.  Though widely known as the wife of jazz giant John Coltrane—and a crucial member of his late quintet—Alice Coltrane continued long after her husband’s passing to explore the frontiers of sound they’d begun to chart together.  A genre-busting harpist, pianist, organist and composer who became a spiritual seeker, Alice Coltrane’s work and persona represent a relevant and timely model of hybrid artistic and spiritual practice.

The Journey in Turiya installation —which incorporates light, color, a levitating harp case, and continuous sound— presents Alice Coltrane as a kind of aesthetic guru and considers the possibility of transcendence through an immersive aesthetic experience.

Neill Prewitt, from Raleigh, NC, projected the 20 min video Bad Economy, a short epic musical about a young man’s journey to become an artist during the Great Recession, in the front room of Flanders Gallery.

Bobby is a rebel with a Liberal Arts degree, on the run from the “creative economy” that’s closing in around him. At every turn it instrumentalizes his critical stance, saddling him with low-wage work and student debt. The only way out may be a harrowing passage down to his own depths wherein lies the artist’s heart.

Other SiteWork artists include:

  • Taiyo Kimura from Kamakura, Japan, who presented a 2:49 min animation called Lose Me On the Way
  • Sara Magenheimer from Brooklyn, NY who presented two short films.  Mickrys is a 1:46 min short video about two letters and two anthropomorphized mice falling in love and serves as a parable about the power of love, the power of language, and the power of rhythm.  Nothing Comes from Talking (but Sound) is a 1:30 min instructional video about how to read the alphabet using tape, drawing, spaghetti, and a few other props.
  • Xaviera Simmons, a renowned artist from New York City, presented a 32 min video entitled Number 15 and Number 16, which features performer contemplating Jazz’s histories, implications, and colors.

Please visit to find out more. You can also view SiteWork/Hopscotch locations on the official festival map.

These artists didn’t sit back and wait for someone else to give their artwork a stamp of approval.  They created their own opportunities.

What oh we should do that epiphanies are tumbling in your brain now?  Make today the day you take the first step.  Open your heart to the possibility that it could happen.  Tell someone else who you know will encourage you.  Send that first email to people who may want to join forces.

Then take another step tomorrow.  No more, and no less.  Big bold beautiful powerful things happen that way. 


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