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Karen Kazmer: Wreck and Hover 

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"The wrecking ball. The great leveler. A medieval device with no purposes other than to ruin and destroy. The mammoth 3-tonne wrecking ball can swing out to 75 feet and impact at over 30mph with a momentum of 300 tonnes. With a jib arm 80 feet high, the steel ball can also drop like a bomb. The wrecking ball is the instrument of choice if you're looking for mayhem."

This immersive installation, consisting of two mutable soft lurid yellow luminescent forms, interacts with the space and the viewers on a multisensory level. The two forms ("breathing wrecking balls") made of lightweight semi transparent nylon stretch fabric and plastic corset boning is suspended from the ceiling and hovers 2' above the floor. One air bag/wrecking ball, approximately 18'H x 14'Diameter when fully inflated, dominates the gallery. The other smaller air bag, with a larger air supply and more momentum, approximately 16"H x 1 2'diameter, will move up against the larger form and try to gain space for itself. Both forms at times swing into the walls and windows of the gallery, and will gently but threateningly annoy, persist and swish. Together, these two inflating and deflating forms invade and take up most of the space when fully inflated, but allowed viewers to move through the space when the forms where in their deflation cycles.

Artist Statement

My work investigates the spaces and objects that we exist with on a daily basis and how we respond to situations that may occur in them. Since 1995, air driven mechanisms have been incorporated into mixed media works and immersive installations to simulate various forms of respiration. Most recently, appropriated and enlarged instructional drawings on regulated breathing forms have been incorporated into the installations, in order to further engage with the viewer on a multi-sensory level.

"In our mediated environment we have developed a new spatial sensibility, tailored to in between spaces neither virtual nor real, that finds its artistic expressions in installations involving bubbles, balloons, or cocoon-like environments reflecting our body's capability to function as a permeable sensor, transcending man's limitations of its physical shell."

- Carin Kuoni, Thin Skin: The Fickle Nature of Bubbles, Spheres and Inflatable Structures, Independent Curators International, New York 2002

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Born in the Chicago area, Karen Kazmer studied at Loyola University, University of British Columbia and York University. Her work centers on mixed media installations and public art that address issues of the body and social spaces. Previous site-specific works have been constructed in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and San Fransico.

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