Sarah Julson, This Way
“This Way delights in absurdity and the glitches that happen when objects do not quite live up to their intended function in structuring the spaces where we live.”
This Way is an installation containing a series of portraits focusing on spaces, movement, and infrastructure. I am interested in the subconscious familiarity we have within certain spaces. We understand to walk around fences, through doors, and over stairs. Some elements of built space have become arbitrary yet still define our movement and paths. This Way magnifies these infrastructures with humor and admiration.
This project is comprised of multiple components ― castings, video projections, and freestanding sculptures. These elements are arranged spatially into two categories: spaces found outside the gallery and spaces found inside the gallery. Two video projections on the gallery walls represent this idea of inside and outside, showing the actual spaces. The videos are recorded with a handheld feel, as if one is observing the spaces firsthand. The spaces show infrastructures that were built to be useful but have become useless (and a bit humorous) through age, design flaws, or overuse.
The signs between the two galleries mimic the invisible borders we pass through while crossing state lines or city perimeters on a highway. They tell readers where they are leaving and where they are going, but the exact moment of transfer from one space to the other is unclear. A traveler who has left one space but not yet arrived in the next space is located in an undefined middle ground. These signs challenge the ability to be nowhere or two places at once.
The smallest bits of visual information subconsciously define a place. The Soap Factory’s unconventional gallery maintains a specific aesthetic, and these casts celebrate the uniqueness of the space. My castings of holes and “scars” act as a database of the buildings interior while revealing the tiniest points of avoidance in our movement around the room. One might unintentionally trip over a dent or even purposefully extend stride to avoid a hole. Either way, these tiny obstacles influence our movement throughout the space, and explore the theme of the project in a smaller scale.
The picket fences represent the idea of obstacles and enclosed spaces that may be unnecessary yet create new paths or divisions. The wall and door also evoke uselessness by giving viewers the choice to enter the smaller gallery space by walking around the wall or through the door. If entering through the door, the viewer walks immediately into a column, an obstruction within the expected path of movement. Two mirrored staircases within the gallery also direct travelers to move around a wall, or over it, without achieving their intended purpose of reaching a higher elevation.
The borders and spaces between here and there are invisible obstacles of movement that can be difficult to define or acknowledge. This multipart installation teases out these often overlooked or ignored spaces to encourage a conscious awareness of our built surroundings.
I work through multiple genres such as filmmaking, sculpture, and sound to create a singular installation. I often require interaction or movement from my audience, making the piece fully realized only when activated by the viewer. By engaging the viewer physically, my work creates a feeling of sympathy or empathy, inviting greater observation, understanding, connection, or self-reflection. The content of my pieces generally settles around ideas of memory through time and routine; space and place; and experimental knowledge.
b. 1990, Sioux Falls, North Dakota
works in Richfield, Minnesota
mentor: Alexa Horochowski
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Sarah Julson moved to Minneapolis in the fall of 2008 to pursue her BFA in Web and Multimedia Environments at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). Throughout her academic pursuits Sarah has participated in and curated various gallery exhibitions including the Gallery 148 exhibition entitled Equal and Opposite in 2011. Her current work focuses on concepts of memory fragmentation, physical and virtual representation, and the record of routine. Sarah is a maker of interactive installations, sound sculptures, animation, and virtual environments. Outside of her studies she participates in various groups such as the Gallery 148 Board, while maintaining positions as a Resident Assistant, Student Union Representative, Student Activities Assistant, and Teaching Assistant for a high school graphic design course. In May of 2012 Sarah expects to graduate and continue her art practice in the Twin Cities.