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Heather Hart
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant



ARTIST STATEMENT: I am interested in generating a memory of an experience, giving the “viewer” some responsibility in the art “viewing” process and creating something that lasts longer than the interaction itself- longer than the direct art-viewing event. Each participant who engages with my work brings their frame of reference and their ideas to mingle with the environment I offer as a catalyst. Through play, humor, interaction, and medium, I want to propose a conversation that may continue outside of the art piece. In this age of advancing technology, there coexists an age of nostalgia. What is current is constantly outdated and we struggle to ground ourselves in a context that is our histories. There are forms and spaces that evoke a primal response without our having had direct engagement with that form. I’ve been drawn to certain spaces that have grown into icons for me: porches, dolls, wild west, trading posts, columns, bus stops, blankets, cotton- iconic, concrete imagery that has been passed down to me from my ancestors via oral tradition, and that intrinsically holds value and content because of that ancestry and regardless of my direct experience with that space. "But when you ask ‘what things are for a given society’ (noticing, by the way, how societies have taken the place of things as the given), surely the inquiry should include attention to those artistic and philosophical texts that would become sources, then, for discovering not epistemological or phenomenological truth but the truth about what force things or the question of things might have in each society."1 Maybe no logical relationship is recognized between a viewer and an image. But each person holds inherited associations with every form. I have never spent time in the South, but as long as I can remember I have sensed fear around white columns and only later have come to connect them to space between a field and a house on a plantation. An image creates a story that is relative and depends wholly on the viewer’s act of reading to give it, and the experience of reading, value. Walter Benjamin argues that an image’s authenticity, its truth, is jeopardized by reproduction, because it then erodes its place in history.2 But I think that the truth of an image (or an art object) is actually not in fact or originality. An object’s “aura” is in it’s essence, it’s soul, and that is the unique echo that a viewer may pick up on when reading a re-contextualized image or object, like a column, a porch, or a photo in a space. "To specify exactly what a phenomenology of the image can be, to specify that the image comes before thought, we should have to say that poetry, rather than being a phenomenology of the mind, is a phenomenology of the soul."3 I am interested in stirring the echoes, activating the inherited forms. I make environments that direct viewers to become participants. I believe people listen better when they are included in the process of discovery. 1 Brown, Bill. Critical Inquiry, Vol. 28, No. 1 “Things.” Autumn, 2001. 10 2 Benjamin 3 3 Bachelard xvi
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  • The Northern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother
    2010
    rooftop, gold and interaction
    A rooftop can refer to home, stability, shelter, but in this context, it is also an action of reclaiming power- of influence, direction and earth. I explore these ideas on paper in my series, Oracular

  • The Northern Oracle: We Will Tear the Roof Off the Mother
    2010
    rooftop, gold and interaction
    At the Roof, a participant is faced with two choices to engage, to climb the shingled rooftop or to crouch down and enter its ground-level attic. Within the grounded attic space is the heart of the o

  • New Numinous Negro
    2010
    interaction, gold, plaster and wood.
    Viewers may choose to press gold leaf to the sculpture and make a wish/luck/prayer in the South Asian tradition of temple visitors gold leafing Buddha. While a participant plays along, they are simul

  • Juju for the Blood
    2010
    mixed media and interaction
    Empty bags hang in a cluster to be selected, as directed, and then to be filled with the rootwork from recipes the participant chooses and follows from the display, then they can take their juju bag h

  • Barter Town (Trading Post V: Juneteenth)
    June 2010
    interaction
    Barter Town has the appearance of a street fair or block party, but no currency may be exchanged, i.e. everything is for barter.

  • Barter Town (Trading Post V: Juneteenth)
    June 2010
    interaction
    At Barter Town participants brought their ideas, services, songs, stories, unwanted goods, handmade art, appliances, anything they think may hold value and haggle for something that they want.

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