By Vadim Fainberg
This past week, Smith Gallery hosted Intentional Stands, A Foreshadowing, an exhibit created by Daniel Feinberg. Feinberg is a third year sculpture MFA student at the University of Iowa.
Spanning the entire length of the room, Feinberg’s sculpture incorporates the space with his work, both as a support for the sculpture and as a set for its ‘performance’. The gallery allows viewers to experience the exhibit as participants rather than observers—Smith becomes an interactive, rather than a passive, space.
“I wanted to try to integrate a lot of stuff into that space so students, who may not get exposed to that type of practice, would have the opportunity to see something different than they’re accustomed to,” Feinberg said, “Tailoring the show to what I knew about the Grinnell student body was important.”
The work is taken from Feinberg’s larger work, a 30 minute film that combines sculpture and performance with a larger philosophical framework.
“What I showed is an odd assembly of objects that were intended for the film that I’m working on, repurposed for the gallery space,” Feinberg said, “The goal was to get some concept of what the film was about across in that setup.”
The film focuses on paradox and our relationship with uncertainty. Intended to be viewed as a narrative, it spans several performances centered around Feinberg’s sculptures. One scene involves Feinberg running at a red Pontiac sports car held stationary along with its driver by Feinberg’s sculpture. Feinberg runs at the car several times until its airbag deploys.
While the performance plays off of a bleak scenario, it instills a sense of optimism in reversing this relationship.
The Smith sculpture is repurposed from a yet-to-be filmed scene and plays off of these same themes of paradox and uncertainty. Ideally, the viewer enters the space with the intention of sitting in the sculpture’s chair-like structure and viewing the film being displayed. The good intention quickly turns to frustration however, as the sculpture sinks under the participant’s weight.
It’s impossible to interact with the work properly and watch Feinberg’s film. Neither the elaborate mechanism of the sinking sculpture nor the film itself are observable by the viewer. Rather, the participant becomes part of the sculpture’s performance, part of the installation to be observed.
Feinberg hopes to finish his film Deployment: The Plight Of Ought within the next two years.