Left to Your Own Devices, 2014

Installation at Two Shelves, October 14th, 2014

Installation at Two Shelves, October 14th, 2014

A Participatory Digital Installation created for Two Shelves

Two Shelves is an apartment gallery which promotes site-specific installation. Rather than ask artists to simply show their usual work on a shelf, the aptly-titled project’s founders hope the intimate and minimal space is used as a springboard for new ideas. When invited to exhibit, my recent projects had all been digital, online exhibitions, and I knew that I wanted that work to carry over into this physical space.

After some time considering projections against a wall-piece, I decided I didn’t want anything tangible. I wanted a screen on the wall, or possibly multiple small screens, and after the sobering realization that I couldn’t afford a batch of tablets came the epiphany: nearly every visitor to the show would have a screen with them. I would simply request that the visitor load the project in some fashion and participate, contributing to the whole. This simple premise eventually led to Relinquish.Me, the piece which, iterated into a multitude of variables, generates the installation. Hence: Left to Your Own Devices.

To the exhibition space, I brought nothing physical: there was no install, and there was no wall text. Visitors were verbally prompted to enter the url into their mobile device, select a screen orientation, then participate by placing the device anywhere on a shelf. On screen, a video looped—a set of clips, selected randomly from several hours of video screen captures, documentations of operating system performances, created for the exhibition.

Here, for example, are several devices running a few sets of clips…

Live demo: devices on two shelves

The installation grew and contracted as the crowd did. It was remarkable to see the room of people stripped of their phones and the usual engagement that goes with them. Nearly everybody faced the wall of screens, like in a theater, and conversations flowed. At first, along with project founders Joe Rudko and Kelly Björk, I personally instructed people; in time, the visitors shared the premise of the show among one another. As Joe quipped, the url went viral.

Create your own unique installation!

Create your own unique installation!

My favorite part of this piece is that an iteration of it can be created anywhere, anytime. It is ready for you online. Simply load Relinquish.Me into any number of mobile browsers, choose your screen orientation, and place the devices together for your own unique, never-the-same-twice, digital installation.

Further reading: Interview with Greg Lundgren for ‘Between the Shelves’

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First Thursday Art Schlock, 2012-13

A hero emerges...

A hero emerges…

An anonymous Reaction GIF blog about the pitfalls of life in the art world
or an ongoing investigation examining the fecundity of Examined Investigations

During a period of deep dissatisfaction with the art world, I came across an animated GIF of Tina Fey’s peerless Liz Lemon. “Oh, brother,” she moaned, and as her eyes rolled on and on, the premise of First Thursday Art Schlock washed over me—a safe place to vent anonymous, honest critique. +lols

I setup a Tumblr and made a post…

"When your artist statement uses the word FECUNDITY." Inaugural FTAS post, May 17 2012.

“When your artist statement uses the word FECUNDITY.”
Inaugural FTAS post, May 17 2012.

Within the hour, I wrote a dozen more. I’d been following other reaction gif blogs and reddit threads, so I knew the format and what could work. I got so immediately into it that I’d made twenty posts by day’s end. Pent up anxiety and displeasure poured out of me so readily that I had to pace the output. Even with a rule to never repeat myself, I had over 100 things off my chest in the first two months.

In order to remain anonymous, I only shared the link with three close friends at the start. One of them posted it to Facebook and, awesomely, it quickly grew a devout set of followers. When there was a good group going, I publicly became a fan of the blog as well.

The response was surprisingly positive, considerate, and honest. I was overjoyed seeing people relate to the posts, share them, ask around who ran the thing. FTAS did several interviews and was even highlighted in best-of and year-end lists. But the most satisfying thing was hearing people bring it up in conversation, simply excited about it, not knowing—and getting to play along as a fan of the blog myself. Those were the salad days.

"I'm feeling lucky..." Screenshot of and collaboration with Google Suggested Search, 2012

“I’m feeling lucky…”
Screenshot of and collaboration with Google Suggested Search, 2012

Soon I started making parodies of celebrated work I encountered in Seattle. FTAS Originals had one clear statement: “If I can make your art in 5 minutes, I will.”

"Look Ma, No Talent" A First Thursday Art Schlock Original, 2012

“Look Ma, No Talent”
A First Thursday Art Schlock Original, 2012

I applied for The Betty Bowen Award, a highly sought-after artist grant, under the pseudonym Art T. Schlock.

"Betty Bowen Award Shoo-In" Stuff on a wall, 2012 18" x 18" x 4"  $15000.00 Part of 2012 Betty Bowen Award Application Entry series.

“Betty Bowen Award Shoo-In”
Stuff on a wall, 2012
18″ x 18″ x 4″
Part of 2012 Betty Bowen Award Application Entry series.

“Some Literary Reference”
Stuff on a Lou Reed record (video), 2012
Part of 2012 Betty Bowen Award Application Entry series.

"The Same Two Things on the Ground in Four Places" Photos of stuff on the ground, 2012 128" x 128" $15000.00 Part of 2012 Betty Bowen Award Application Entry series.

“The Same Two Things on the Ground in Four Places”
Photos of stuff on the ground, 2012
128″ x 128″
Part of 2012 Betty Bowen Award Application Entry series.

"The Eternal Struggle" Printed Screenshots of Google™ Images®, 2012 120" x 120" $15000.00 Part of 2012 Betty Bowen Award Application Entry series.

“The Eternal Struggle”
Printed Screenshots of Google™ Images®, 2012
120″ x 120″
Part of 2012 Betty Bowen Award Application Entry series.

Eventually the project yielded an unexpected product for me: peace. The honesty of the whole thing and its general embrace proved to be incredibly therapeutic. I also began involving myself less and less in all of the things that irked me, which in hindsight seems such a simple gesture. While this progress was great for me, it was the eventual death-knell for the project itself. A self-canceling system.

"Hold the Ketchup"  A First Thursday Art Schlock Original, 2013

“Hold the Ketchup”
A First Thursday Art Schlock Original, 2013

The project continued to gain steam and followers. For months I felt bound to its continued existence, that I had to keep up with this anonymous curmudgeon. Posting became as anxiety-inducing as the art shows that once spawned them.

"Typeface for the ineffective (and those who are 'on the nip')" A First Thursday Art Schlock Original, 2013

“Typeface for the ineffective (and those who are ‘on the nip’)”
A First Thursday Art Schlock Original, 2013

Nearing 180 posts and a year of existence, I reached my end. Three ceremonial final posts wrapped things up and I bid FTAS farewell. Friends who had eventually figured me out wrote with condolences and I even saw some goodbye shout-outs that really made it feel right.

It was a satisfying conclusion for me.

Months passed. I got a great new job at an art museum and had an incredibly busy summer of shows. I found myself once again embroiled with the art world in ways that were occasionally maddening—and as I did, more and more friends suggested that I bring the thing back. I took time to consider it, and ultimately felt it would be better in someone else’s hands.

So, three months after my end with First Thursday Art Schlock, I found my replacement, drafted and signed a Dread Pirate Roberts Scenario Pact, and handed off the keys.

It was the most rewarding, honest and engaging project I have yet been a part of.

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Souvenir (Disambiguation), 2011

Plexiglass (40 sheets, 8 x 8 x 1/8 inches) and lightbox. 10 x 10 x 7 inches. Collaboration with Troy Gua for ‘Bloom & Collapse.’

A sculpture for the taking.

From the group exhibition statement: ‘Bloom & Collapse’ presents the collaborative work of seven pairs of artists who have come together to address concepts of decay, fragmentation and decomposition. Paired with my good friend Troy Gua, with whom I’d collaborated once before, we knew a few things immediately: our work would be comprised of many pieces which would be free for the taking; the final output would bloom under our guidance and decay gracefully into the hands of many. Additionally, we wanted to address impermanence, artistic oeuvre, and a transition toward Light.

After a few rounds of preliminary sketches and planning, we arrived at this stacked pyramid approach, which merged Troy’s love of plastic sheen with my ever-increasing fondness for simple shapes made up of many carefully organized points. With the exception of the top piece, each of the 40 plexi sheets has four holes drilled into it. Stacked, a three-dimensional pyramid of light appears on the sides; viewed from above, a strangely refracted array of holes sway with the viewer, like the following eyes of a portrait.

Lastly, while installing, we shot a time-lapse-like series of photos to show how the sheets work with one another:

Souvenir (Disambiguation) – Installation Animation – Troy Gua / Shaun Kardinal 2011 from shaun kardinal on Vimeo.

Video: Installation AnimationWe are happy to report that all 40 sheets were taken during the exhibition’s opening reception.

‘Bloom & Collapse’ shows at SOIL Gallery through February, 2011. Visit for more of Troy’s work.

View work details »

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Hardcore, 2010

8:15 VIdeo Loop. Collaboration with Erin Frost.

One-take infinite make-out, created for the 2010 Seattle Erotic Art Festival.

Filmed through the viewfinder of Erin’s Hasselblad, we traded control of the shutter-release button. We loved how the released shutter masked the view, in direct opposition to the reveal it provides against film. While there were flaws in the first take–the camera shifts, the light changes drastically–we felt that the first take captured everything we’d hoped for, and more; these flaws were really just part of the whole and we welcomed them.

Displayed on a made-in-’85 motel TV, our video looped continuously throughout the festival.

Visit for more work by Erin.

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