St. Louis, MO
For the 2016 Kranzberg Exhibition Series, Laumeier presents Alison Ouellette-Kirby and Noah Kirby: Arena at the outdoor Amphitheater in the Way Field. The massive structural installation consists of five sheet-metal megaphones with an interactive audio element. Inspired by their previous Tone Deaf series, the artwork incorporates a mechanism that translates and projects visitors’ voices into harmonic gibberish as a response to the flora and fauna in the Park.
In their collaborative practice, the Kirbys create forms through the traditions of casting and fabrication. Their combination of material confidence and technological play often develops into environments and scenarios that are complex, ambiguous and situational. This large-scale commission expands on their shared artistic production by utilizing the public’s language and speech to more directly communicate with the natural environment at Laumeier.
In the Kirbys own words, "Arena addresses the inevitable distortion of a singular voice when expressed in the public sphere. Acting as a space that magnifies this distortion, Arena becomes a closed-off space within a larger, public realm that explores the vagaries of the power of one’s voice."
The Kranzberg Exhibition Series is a longstanding annual program funded by Nancy and Ken Kranzberg that supports the development of exhibitions and large-scale sculptural commissions for regional artists. The series helps to place local artists inside international contexts of larger thematic group exhibitions curated at Laumeier.
Exhibition overview from museum website