Tagged: Cornell Box Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Vanessa 14:23 on 25/09/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cornell Box, ,   

    ## It’s About the Box As Christa can… 

    It’s About the Box!

    As Christa can testify, I’ve been thinking about the wonder and compelling nature of things like Cornell Boxes. And the amazing, immersive bookfulness of books. And records, amazing records like Camille’s Le Fil or The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper.
    (More …)

    • Vanessa Blaylock 07:49 on 26/09/2014 Permalink | Reply

      I think this is an interesting and worthy goal. One thing to note, is that in a way what I’m trying to create is “preciousness” in a time of Abundance. Abundance is a good problem to have, at least compared to the alternative, Scarcity. But in a time of Scarcity, almost anything can be precious. In a time of Abundance, there’s just so much competition for Attention. Entities like Art Galleries and Churches all try to create the experience of Preciousness, and in our time of Abundance, they’ve really got their work cut out for them!

      • Christa Forster 14:01 on 03/10/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Van, I’ve been wanting to comment for several days, but finally I have the time.

        Perhaps one of powers possessed by a Cornell box or any precious object in the non-internet world lies in its ability to arrest, to STOP us in time. The object captures us in a way that allows us to experience it in time, but the object itself has a kind of permanence to it, a stasis: the object itself does not change. Because we can return to the object (artwork, album, poem) over and over, we both are relieved by its constancy (not everything changes; what a relief), AND, also, we have time to notice how WE have changed in relationship to the object (artwork, album, poem), and this may be the REAL draw of the physical thing: we are more curious about ourselves and our own lives than we are about the lives of others, and these static objects help make ourselves clear to ourselves.

        Who hasn’t felt the “whoosh” effect of FB, or Twitter, or the internet in general — move along, move along, move along — there’s more, always more — to see, to learn, to do, to watch, to read? It’s exhausting! But these static objects — the Cornell, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s, the epic poem (currently, I’m reading The Odyssey again for the 10th time in 20 years) — do not “whoosh” us along; WE may whoosh, but they restore us; they give us back to ourselves, despite the way the world takes us away from ourselves over and over and over (so like the internet — life). The object’s stasis is the very thing that provides this restoration: it offers us the time and space (constant, reliable) to be moved emotionally — at our own pace, in the directions we choose (or that our unconscious minds choose).

        The internet moves similarly to the way the unconscious mind moves, but I think we feel that we’re being moved from without rather than from within, and this makes all the difference.

    • Vanessa Blaylock 11:05 on 26/09/2014 Permalink | Reply


      Although I am a Documentation nut, I am not a Object maker. My work is in Ephemeral Experiences. Hopefully these are engaged and immersive experiences. Participants at these experiences may have some of the “Box” like experiences I’ve described. I do wonder if my yearning for this “Box” like experience isn’t a sort of desire to turn the ephemeral experience of performance art, or cyberspace, into a sort of virtual object?

  • Izzy 13:26 on 15/03/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cornell Box   

    I Send You this Duchamp Dossier 

    cadmium red photoPhoto by CraftyGoat

    Ysidora! I’ve been struck by the dialog from your performance:

    Your mom throws everything away and that’s why she has no history

    She has no history because she is a woman

    As you know I’ve been thinking about the magical qualities, the bounded serendipity of Cornell Boxes. Today I was thinking about that lovely collaboration I Send You this Cadmium Red, and another famous collaboration between 2 legendary box guys: Joseph Cornell & Marcel Duchamp’s Duchamp Dossier.

    Weather it’s stolen land or a damnatio memoraie from your misogynist brother, we’re 2 dead women who’ve had some of our history erased. Would you care to start a correspondence? We might trade Spanish Land Grants, Cadmium Reds, Duchamp Dossiers, Renaissance Portraits, Lost Journals, or anything else. We could do it right here on react, or I know someone who just loves to make new sites and could set one up for us.

    What do you think?

    cadmium red photoPhoto by Niecieden

    • Ysidora Pico 18:07 on 15/03/2014 Permalink | Reply

      I would be pleased to start a correspondence with you, Izzy. Let’s do it. I will find something to share with you. You let me know where to send it. Besos, su comadre, Ysi.

      • Isabella Medici 22:21 on 15/03/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Where to send it? How about here to .Re/act?

        Unless you’d like a separate Box/Blog for it…

  • Izzy 12:24 on 05/03/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cornell Box   

    I gave a try to creating a little… 

    I gave a try to creating a little bit of a Cornell-like experience online. Here’s a simple page that just uses mouse rollovers. What I like about the rollover is it’s a tiny anthropomorphic thing. Like someone nodding their head when you converse, it’s just a bit of feedback that says, “yes, we’re talking!”


  • Izzy 01:48 on 21/02/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cornell Box,   


    Fluxkit, 1964/65. Fluxus edition, assembled by George Maciunas. Mixed media (vinyl attaché case), printed matter. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, Detroit / Photo: Walker Art Center. All you need to make Fluxus art is in this suitcase.

    Fluxkit, 1964/65. Fluxus edition, assembled by George Maciunas. Mixed media (vinyl attaché case), printed matter. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, Detroit / Photo: Walker Art Center. All you need to make Fluxus art is in this suitcase.

    What would a “Fluxus Briefcase” or Fluxkit be in cyberspace?
    What would a Cornell box be in cyberspace?

    Is all of cyberspace a Wondercabinet?

    • Christa Forster 18:30 on 21/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m fascinated by the fact that you are fascinated with this question! You keep asking it; and in doing so, a response is starting to form in my mind. What a wonderful phenomenon: if we ask the same question over and over, the mind continues to solve the problem (find the solution), slowly but surely.

      I’ll let you know when it’s clear! It’s still inchoate.

    • Patrick J. Sweetman 00:11 on 26/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Izzie and Christa, This is new to me not have lived through the 1960s. What defines a Fluxus Briefcase? I must go and dust off the old travelling case and fill it with stuff and things. But I feel I’d probably be a bit random at the moment.

      • Isabella Medici 21:09 on 27/02/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yes Patrick, I think you’ve got it! A briefcase filled with stuff and things. Everything you need for a fluxus performance.

        Or to put it in Ysidora friendly terms, you might say that a Fluxus Briefcase is like a Spanish Land Grant for your mind.

  • Izzy 10:38 on 24/01/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cornell Box,   

    What does an altered book artists book look… 

    What does an altered book (artists book) look like when books have become websites?

    I’ve been thinking about the idea of Cornell Boxes in cyberspace. Say in a 2D space like a website. Yes the “messy desk” blog themes are kind of contrived, remediation, and skeuomorphic… yet critiqueable as they are, they’re also an attempt, no doubt at least sometimes successful, to give an embodied being a tactile experience in a 2D place. Do you think a compelling Cornell-like experience in cyberspace would look Cornell-like? Or entirely different? Is Pinterest not a Cornell Box because it has hard edges and is on a grid? Or does it depend on the depth of the investigation of the pinner?

    • Molly Ross 10:49 on 24/01/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Isabella! Fabulous questions and ideas to ponder. I’m always struck by cyberspace’s ability to act as a portal–transporting me from my space to yours (or where ever you take me). You seem to be time traveling at the moment–see a portal from your time to our time! The thing about Cornell’s boxes is that they too are portals into miniature worlds–that represent collections, thoughts, emotions, spaces, times. Pinterest is an obvious parallel but because the pinner (artist/maker/collector) has little control over the display (the site dictates the grid pattern, the colors of the page) you are right– it does not manifest in a way that is very “Cornell.” I wonder how can you play with scale in the magical way the boxes do on a screen and in cyberspace–is that possible?

      • Isabella Medici 11:17 on 24/01/2014 Permalink | Reply

        Yes Molly, Pinterest, like Facebook, demands that you pour your content into their template. vs. WordPress, Tumblr, etc, that allow you more flex in how your ideas are displayed. Do we care too much about surface? Do FB’s 1B users care about aesthetics at all?

        A Cornell Box does seem to be the nexus of form & content. The same ideas in a book by a French culture theorist certainly wouldn’t have the quality of a Cornell Box. These “portals” (great word!) are remarkably tactile and fetishistic in their presence. Still, an awful lot of the general public might look at one and say “Old crap, so? Can we eat lunch now?” So I think the portalfulness is as dependent on the depth of investigation of the experiencer as the creator.

        The rabbi Lawrence Kushner tells the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. He asks, “Why a burning bush?” He notes that a burning bush is a pretty cheap trick. That you’re god, after all! Why not materialize the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, standing on the wing of a 747 Jumbo Jet, hovering over the mountain, as they sing the Hallelujah Chorus? Wouldn’t that be a better way to get Moses attention?

        Kushner notes that it takes 5-7 minutes for a piece of wood to combust. So if you see a burning bush, you can’t know if it’s “just a burning bush” or a divine presence, unless you stand there and watch it burn for more than 7 minutes. Kushner concludes that god was not trying to GET Moses attention, rather that she was trying to see if Moses was PAYING attention.

        Is it not the skeuomorphic details like “sloppy desk” or “layers of detritus” but the depth of attention paid by the viewer that creates this immersive Portal/Cornell experience? And if so, is it impossible to have such an experience in our ADD age? In our vastly-more-websites-than-you-could-ever-see-in-a-human-lifetime-even-if-all-you-did-was-click-“next” age?

        Or, as McCluhan said, when things become really important and ubiquitous, they become invisible. Almost everything we do is based on electricity, yet we rarely think of it. Is the entire Internet an infinite set of Nesting Dolls of Cornell Boxes that we don’t even have to try to make because it is already the journey that all the web surfers take every day for however long they are “awake” in this place? Do we live our online lives in Virtual Cornell Boxes?

    • Christa Forster 11:00 on 24/01/2014 Permalink | Reply

      Cornell’s boxes had layers, where things were seen on top of other things. At the Menil collection in Houston — where there was a great Cornell show in the mid 90s — there is a cabinet of curiosities, which seems to me what Cornell’s boxes do — create the cabinet of curiosity writ small.

      I think Molly’s right in that it’s a playing with scale and maybe layers issue. Holographs! Hey!

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