For the Open Studio Weekends, visit 171 E. State Street, Ithaca, NY pop-up installation. Located in Center Ithaca on the Ithaca Commons,
Their Beyond Workshop and Residence is in Dryden where our large illuminated and interactive artwork takes form.
In the winter of 2018 my friend Doug Shire approached me with a strange drawing on a paper napkin. His drawing is a rectangle with four circles, one in each corner. On top of the rectangle is what appears to be a human figure suspended from a pole, an image similar to the end result of the children’s game “hangman”.
Doug explains to me that this drawing represents an electric vehicle that he would like my help building. He further explains that the man figure in their drawing represents a 30-foot-tall bamboo puppet that he would like to construct and bring to a festival in the Nevada desert next summer. He says that he and his friend Karl had built a similar such puppet last year, and had carried it around the desert using a backpack, but the high winds prevalent in that area had made it very difficult to transport the large puppet comfortably. So they had conceived of a four-wheeled electric vehicle with a wide platform to carry the puppet instead, and they were asking for my help to build it. I winced. The whole idea seemed beyond crazy. My initial urge was to decline, and to respond with the word “Why?” But something deep inside me made me respond instead with the word “Okay!” I didn’t know it at the time, but that response marked a turning point in my life. (Laurence Clarkberg)