Swoon's Global Sculptures

Swoon's art in Berlin. Wheat-pasted paper and ink. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The celebrated street artist Swoon tends to absorb her surroundings and combines wheat-pasted stencils with Realism à la Courbet. She creates larger-than-life images that suggest a momentary vision of a remotely familiar friend or place.Recently, BrooklynStreetArt.com co-founders Jaime Rojo and Steven Harrington sat down with Swoon at her New York studio, amidst a crowd of assistants. The interview is lively, honest, insightful, and leaves the impression that a retrospective isn't the end of the line for Swoon's plans.

In fact, Swoon briefly discusses her experiences while working for The Kombit Shelter Project in Haiti. Arduous and collaborative in nature, Swoon already has plans to return to this project and expand upon the art installation, which presents art as a sustainable living environment. (The interview immediately made me think of Rosalind E. Krauss, a noted feminist Art Historian who adopted psychoanalytic theory to address "masculine aesthetics" in art movements--what's not to like about that? Her imaginative discussion of the museum as an art object, as described in The Cultural Logic of the Late Capitalist Museum, changed the way that I understood Art History as a grad student, and it corresponds to Swoon's own realizations through public art projects.)

(Konbit Shelter: Super Adobe Dome Construction in Braddock PA from Sucka Pants on Vimeo.)

This is the appeal of street art in an increasingly global art community--have ideas, will travel; will travel, will make a positive impact, which is exactly what Swoon aims to do with her artistic career. In fact, she's been incorporating globally-themed public art projects into her career for awhile. Swoon was eager to discuss the importance of community and grassroots organizing; with that said, she also believes that the connection between NGOs and art needs a little fortification. This excerpt illustrates the gap:
Swoon: We borrowed this engineered architecture style and so it's like we took some working processes and we wanted ... I think ours was almost a thought process too. Like, how can you, as an artist who isn't a big NGO, that isn't an aid organization, still be involved in a way that is offering something permanent?
Brooklyn Street Art: Have people from NGOs taken an interest and inquired about the project in Haiti?
Swoon: I think a little bit. Yeah, not a ton.

Ultimately, the project could grow and many have become aware of the innate message--to bring together diverse individuals and create something enduring beyond fame. The Konbit Shelter Project site is an inspiring read; it describes how the shelters are made, and explains that "We are in the process of developing a long term building initiative, which, for each house will bring together one artist, one architect, and one family, to imagine and construct a home."

Here are a few images to give you an idea of the teamwork. I wonder if they're seeking volunteers--wouldn't this be amazing???

You can follow their progress here and on their Facebook page.

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