Monday, November 19, 2007
Marches for Visitors, Cars, and Passers-by, 2006
Band Uniform, Photographs, Marching Band
I’m Nick Sousanis. I’m a hip-hoppapotamus.
I’m Nick Tobier. And what else was I supposed to say?
I’m a Libra.
I teach here at the school of art & design here in scenic Ann Arbor.
I’m Nick Tobier. I’m Nick Sousanis. I’m Nick Tobier. I am.
I’m Nick Tobier, and I like sliced bread, and walks in the woods, and kissing in the rain. If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. “I was getting tired of my lady.”
I’m Nick Tobier, and I do things in public. I also do things in private, but maybe we won’t talk about that. I say I do public performances, that’s how I’ve been describing my work recently. Most often I describe it as Situational, not Situationist, but Situational. That is if there’s a situation, I’ll try and do something to disrupt it, and if there’s no situation maybe I’ll make one up.
Why do I do these things? Why do I act out in public? I think, for the most part, I’m aware of this time when I used to go to my studio all the time, and I’d walk through New York where I grew up, where I was living, and I’d see all these amazing things in the street and I’d open this big door with a padlock and I’d go inside my studio and I’d make wood things. Wood sculptures that had absolutely nothing to do with what I was walking through, but was what I did in the studio. What I realized at a certain point, was that I had a studio life that was completely separate from the life around me that was the parts of it that were engaged by walking through the city and wandering and getting to know people and getting lost. So I gave up my studio. Which I always think, was either the bravest thing or the stupidest thing. And I just started to work on the street and being responsive to whatever I came up against. The first thing I remembered doing was finding myself trying to cross the street, the snows had melted, and there was this enormous puddle that actually had become sort of a lake. I watched people walk to the middle of the block so that they could get around the puddle. So I made a bridge to help people cross puddles. The projects that I do now I think are an outgrowth of those things that were utilitarian. They seemed to have an urgency and a purpose, that is, I could make something that would affect someone’s day. And they were structural. Like the bus stop I made in Detroit, it provided a comfort or service. But I also do things that are services of different sorts, things that are more celebratory. Choreographed sequence for a group worker/dancers in a wading pool in Toronto. Because I think those things are utilitarian as well. I think that celebration is something that we have less and less of in everyday life. If I can bring something to the public realm that is celebratory then that does become part of everyday life. And I think that sort of in a nutshell what I’d like to do is open the possibility that everyday life can be quite extraordinary if someone is willing to step out of daily routine and do something that seems at first eccentric but maybe after a while you can’t live without it. Maybe you can.