Meet Kristina Larsen and Sebastian Martin
This year we have a collaborative team coming to Project 387. Read on to learn more about what Kristina Larsen and Sebastian Martin will be up to in August.
P387: Tell us briefly about the focus of your work.
We are trying to make tools which bridge -- or at least exist within -- the space between a person and the environment, and which help you to see or allow you to interact with the things around you in a different way. We seek multiple entry points into what is already there. We create objects and experiences which inform and reflect people’s understanding of the world. The things we make are the products of our own investigations into properties and characteristics, whether of materials or phenomena; wood and clay or the ocean and shadows.
P387: What themes are you currently exploring?
Relationships between people and their environment. Methods and processes of understanding the world. Inquiry. How to inspire people to act without giving them instructions to do a very specific thing. How people collect evidence and how they make sense of things, or how they don’t make sense of things. Maybe you experience something but you don’t ever make sense of it.
Special places. Both places made by people and those made through natural processes. What makes a place special? How do you perceive that, how do you decide that? What are the qualities or the feelings that add up to specialness?
Visualization. How to translate something into an object or arrangement or sculpture that then reflects a finding. How to express things like variety, uniformness, smoothness, connectedness, disruption, etc.
P387: What are you looking at, reading, or listening to right now that is influencing your work or process?
Our process is currently highly influenced by the tools and techniques we’ve accessed through our residency at Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop. We have been inspired by by our recent travels together, including Marcel Wanders’ survey at Stedelijk in Amsterdam, and separately, to the places mentioned below. Also, World Cup soccer.
S: The former outdoor Bar 25 on the grounds of the Holzmarkt. The area is now an ‘undefined place’ in Berlin, that people call “The Pampa”. “Pampa” is used colloquially in German to describe a place where there is nothing, a vast plane.
There are preconceived ideas of what you can do or can’t do for about every place in a city, but not for the Pampa. It made me think about how every environment changes us and our behaviour, even when we are exposed to it for a very short time.
K: Roni Horn’s Vatnasafn/Library of Water. I visited it while in Iceland and since then have been reading anything I can find about her decades-long body of work engaging with the island and its inhabitants. I’m also poring over Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison’s The Serpentine Lattice exhibition catalog.
P387: What does a typical day in the studio/office look like for you?
We’re always working on many projects at once. We start by talking about what we want to make and set a course for the day, kind of roughing out a plan for the time we have. We give ourselves tasks. Often K makes drawings, S plays with materials, we work independently for a while and come back together. We work pretty differently but it’s very complimentary.
S: I do something physical for a while and then walk away and do another thing, like find and experiment with materials or do some research. My mind wanders. It’s like the way kids play, jumping away and coming back, not finishing things. I’ll start with something small, with a few pieces of material, and making that little thing will get me to what I need to do next. Maybe that leads to some place where we have to make a bigger decision about how to continue.
K: I begin with a task where I know what I want to do or have a specific question to answer and go from there. I am slow to change modes, so once I’m doing something involved like making a drawing or something I get way into it and it’s hard to switch to something else. When I reach a place where I’m uncertain or stuck, we get together and talk things through and adapt the plan to accommodate whatever discoveries we’ve made. At the end of the day I like to talk through everything that we accomplished, which is especially important when many of those things are intangible.
P387: Is there anything unusual that helps you stay focused while working?
S: Walking. Changing locations or work spaces, taking small breaks. Doing something to shake up my thoughts. Like constantly pinching myself.
K: Talking to myself.
P387: What's the best advice someone has giving you about your work? The worst?
Best: Do what you love. Worst: Do what you’re good at.
P387: Are you involved in any upcoming shows/events/happenings?
Right now we’re part way through our Autodesk residency at Pier 9. As part of the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory project we’re collaborating with professors at CCA on a class for this fall, which will be focused on designing resiliency. One of the products will be an exhibition of artifacts created by the students as part of their design process. S will be leading some teacher training workshops in Costa Rica at the end of August.
P387: Is there one particular thing you are most looking forward to at Project 387?
S: Waking up next to the project that we work on and having that be the very first thing that I do in the day. No bus riding or email checking before I start to work.
K: Having full consecutive days to spend completely immersed in the project, and not having to switch out of that mode.
Thanks Kristina and Sebastian! Here is a glimpse at some of the early Project 387 garden harvest. We'll be dining off some of this bounty in August.