Presenting visual and performance art in unexpected public spaces.

AiOP Number: Toisha Tucker at the wishing hour

With the start of October, Art in Odd Places’s (AiOP) 2013 festival draws ever closer.  From October 11-20, AiOP artists will be taking over 14th Street from Avenue C all the way to the Hudson River, presenting works that relate to this year’s theme NUMBER.  Numbers, which are ever-present entities in almost all aspects of our lives, will be explored in each and every work, in both literal and abstract ways.  For this year’s festival, artist Toisha Tucker is telling time in order to make peoples’ wishes come true.

Tucker’s upcoming work, “wish|clock,” will feature thirteen clocks, each set to different times and consecutively running towards the “wishing hour” of 11:11.  Audience members are encouraged to make a wish when they see a clock reach that time.  Tucker, on the other hand, is hoping to show how time and number are a fabrication; time is not watching or counting down to anything, it’s a construction.  Yet, it is this constructed quality to time, and the magical powers that we contribute to it, that inspires her and her piece.

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“wish|clock.” Photo courtesy of artist.

AiOP was able to talk to Tucker, learning more about who she was, her inspiration, challenges, and what she learned when putting together this piece:

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the kinds of work that you do?

I love appetizer samplers and Bud Light. I don’t enjoy long walks on the beach, but I love meandering through Redwoods. I just completed my MFA at PennDesign. I started the program as a painter and given its interdisciplinary nature, I began to develop as a conceptual artist as well. If I had to describe what I do, I would say I was a visual artist and a creative writer. A lot of my work deals with time, memory, epistemology and has a great deal of personal and literary reference. I use a lot of mediums to manifest pieces: photography, video, sound, installation, text, painting and paper.

What attracted you to this year’s AiOP festival?

The theme. I had just completed a calendar piece One Hundred Years and One and it just felt serendipitous. I’ve always had a fascination with numbers and specifically with watching time and this notion that it’s not marking anything. It’s a complete construction. And just sort of my limitless awe at the notion that there is no greatest number: you can always add one.

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“wish|clock.” Photo courtesy of artist.

How are you interpreting the theme number?

Through physical representations of time and timelessness and the perceived magical power of a clock face with all the numbers the same or a consecutive run and how it draws our eyes to it.

What challenge did the theme present you when creating works for public space?

My biggest challenge was my insistence that I use real clocks and just finding a space big enough for thirteen clocks and figuring out how to put them up. Also, people like to touch things.

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“wish|clock.” Photo courtesy of artist.

What excites you about the prospect of presenting this work?

Giving people the opportunity to make wishes and believe in their power to come true.

How has adapting your work to 14th street affected your process?

I participated in the New Museum’s Idea City preview in May so I felt pretty prepared. However, there are less expanses of open wall space along 14th street so I had to go further along to find a place to install wish|clock.

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“wish|clock.” Photo courtesy of artist.

Did you take anything from this experience that you plan on applying to future works?

Yes. Things that seem so ingrained in your life (like wishing on clocks) aren’t necessarily as widespread as you think, so sometimes your ‘everyone knows about this’ moment is really a ‘you learn something new everyday’ moment for other people. I’m excited to facilitate more of those moments of enlightenment in the future.

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