“This project is an opportunity to continue to reflect on my own and others’ attachment to this historic and vital institution...”
— artist Susan Giles, 2019
As part of a spring research residency here at Hyde Park Art Center, artist Susan Giles (Jackman Goldwasser Resident 2014-2015) has returned to the Art Center in a collaboration with Manchester-based artist Sally Morfill to respond to their shared interest in the visual language of co-speech hand gestures. In this collaboration of Found Gestures, Giles and Morfill enact and engage the Art Center’s mission through a visualized oral history.
Using motion-capture technology to record physical movements, the two artists have created a series of visual representations of human gestures, in the form of wall drawings which are presented alongside identifying names and fragments of descriptive quotes. The project calls to attention how distinct moments of interpersonal communication can become as identifying as a fingerprint or a scan of the human eye—yet through an individual’s range of physicality. This specificity then becomes linked to individual and collective experiences of one meaningful site, Hyde Park Art Center, when Morfill and Giles prompt bodies within this community to describe recollections of exhibitions.
Thus, artist Fo Wilson (Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times, 2019) speaks about colleague Jefferson Pinder’s Onyx Odyssey that took place at the Art Center in Winter 2015/2016. Rodrigo Lara Zendejas, admired teaching artist in the ceramics studio, speaks about the solo exhibition of his work Laz Paz that took place in Spring/Summer 2016. Reaching the youngest members of the community, Found Gestures seeks perspectives from the teen programs that occupy the building, such as Molly Dunson, Ethan Larbi, Ashley Lazaro and Emanuel Wiley speak about Folayemi Wilson’s Dark Matter: Celestial Objects as Messengers of Love in These Troubled Times at Hyde Park Art Center, March 31 – July 14, 2019.
The Hyde Park Art Center’s mission and history focuses on making space for transparent interaction with artistic processes—inspiring creative exploration, and encouraging exchange between practitioners and public at every level. Quite complementary, Found Gestures functions as both a subject of artistic research and a method of exhibition. Again, the drive of this project is to capture the fleeting gesticulations of longtime community-members—such as Giles is herself—along with newcomers, such as Morfill. In addition to the gesture drawings, the exhibition includes a table of resource materials that documents the exhibitions and histories described in the project overall, as well as vintage video footage from an exhibition by Simparch (2000) that eventually traveled to documenta.
As part of Found Gestures, Giles and Morfill will continue to participate in the Art Center’s Residency Program in Studio 2 through May 2019 to gather research. The Art Center’s residency program is curated based on high potential for cross-cultural exchange; political, social, and interdisciplinary practices; and quality of artists’ work.