Monday, June 7, 2010

This is Not the World and How to See it: A Short Idiosyncratic History of Visual Culture in 10,000 Small Round Shiny Fragments



Readers who've been following this blog since the beginning (both of you) might remember a post I made in October of 2007 about a "button installation" I was commissioned to do in a boy's bedroom here in Logan Square in Chicago. His mother had seen two similar pieces I'd done at Lula a few years before. Recently I was asked to do another one. This time on a slightly different scale. The video below is a time lapse of the installation process, made by the folks at Ogilvy & Mather who commissioned the piece for their newly renovated lobby.

video
The wall is about 40 feet long by 10 or 12 feet high. I used close to 10,000 buttons, pressed by (the wonderful people at) Busy Beaver Buttons. what you see was filmed over the course of five days–roughly 45 hours–for the actual installation. Seen in the video, other than me, are Kelsey Zigmund, Dan McKee, Lillian Martinez, and Dorian Byrd, all of whom helped me IMMENSELY. Thanks also to Tereasa Suratt









About 20% of the content was provided by Ogilvy, from current/recent campaigns. The rest was chosen by me and consists of everything.

Including but not limited to:

Some Chinese propaganda posters
A diagram of the Sun
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus
The cover of Weirdo #4
a couple of different images of Krishna
"Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild"
randomly punched images from current issues of Newsweek, Rolling Stone and People
two paintings of Birds by John J. Audobon
some illuminated manuscripts
some Native American Petroglyphs
an 1884 ad for tobacco
Li'l Nemo
Rubens' The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus
a photograph of Minor Threat sitting on their front steps
a photograph of Public Enemy
The cover of Fantastic Four #248
some Byzantine mosaics
some Soviet typography
a shopping circular from my front stoop
the Mars Rover
a photograph of a tree


The idea is that it's a kind of (necessarily incomplete) catalog of visual culture from the beginning of time. I plan to use the occasion of the piece's completion to do a few posts in the next week or two about where this work came from and how it might or might not connect with what I do as someone who mostly spends his time drawing pictures with word balloons.

7 comments:

Z. Constantine said...

Impressive... most impressive.

Austin Kleon said...

This is so awesome!

Ale said...

This is the largest button mosaic in the world, right?

Here's an article about your installation on the Busy Beaver Button Blog:

http://busybeaverbuttons.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/anders-nilsen-buttons-up/

Beautiful work, Anders!

tom Neely said...

fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!

boyfren/girlfren said...

Hey Anders. I'm not an x-file. I like your blog. This is my blog:

http://boyfrengirlfren.blogspot.com/

cara said...

Love your comics and now I love your installations too! I wish I could see it in person. Very nice indeed.

Remi said...

Fantastic!

Watching the making of it is almost as fascinating as the work finished.
I love watching the creative repetition.

Thanks for sharing.
Ally <'v'>