Works by Participating Artists

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Philip Alden Benn & Peter Belkin

The Garden of Forking Paths

Ethan Dunn as Yu Tsun

Bamboo, Light, and Video Loop 8’88”



This installation is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges' short story The Garden of Forking Paths. The narrator of the story, Yu Tsun, proceeds through a labyrinth that serves as a visual metaphor for the abstract notion of time and the infinite.

The discontinuous surface of the work mirrors Yu Tsun's reality, as he navigates the Borgesian conundrum. He is left stranded in multiple dimensions, never fully grasping a single reality, bound between the shadow surface and the light within, a prisoner within the “maze of mazes.”


Philip Alden Benn's Statement


I am interested in working with light as a medium. The work of artists like James Turrell, Jim Campbell and Leo Villareal are influential for me in this area and Dan Flavin’s work with readymade flourescent tubes is the foundation. Intelligent LEDs activated by sensors offer exciting and visually rich possibility’s for this ethereal phenomenon.

This Concept page of mine is mostly oriented toward LED and video projection designs, some of which have been realized but most have not. I have worked with another Bay Area artist, Pete Belkin, on several projects represented here. The first, the Angular Light Matrix, was a 100′ hanging light sculpture we designed for a commission. We were given funding to build a 6′ prototype version of the piece. The second was the Warefield Project, for this one we used rear projection rigs to light up the famous Warefield Building on 6th and Market with video, LEDs and all manner of sculpture. This was a collaboration for our Spring Crit seminar class with Carlos Villa’s class in 2009.


The encounter forms the conceptual basis for my artwork, while the multimedia, prints and objects are derivative artifacts, which I stage as allegorical dioramas and immersive landscapes.

In addition to my work with the image, I use single and multi-channel video installations of virtual spaces and kinetic imagery as a strategy to situate elements of nature in alternate spaces.

My art practice is an extension of the long and varied tradition of landscape and earth oriented art and environmental activism. Within the context of this aesthetically driven conceptual activism, I choose various methods of art making in an attempt to bring into focus the often times surreal relationship between technology and the environment.

In my work, the city is a model for the technological dominion over the natural of the present era but ultimately just one of many layers of the geological formations.

Whether Armilla is like this because it is unfinished or because it has been demolished, whether the cause is some enchantment or only a whim, I do not know. The fact remains that it has no walls, no ceilings, no floors: it has nothing that makes it seem a city except the water pipes that rise vertically where the houses should be and spread out horizontally where the floors should be: a forest of pipes that end in taps, showers, spouts, overflows.

Italo Calvino

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