Scrolling through endless exhibition sites, we came across Samara Golden’s work that gave birth to a sentence we don’t use frequently: “Well that’s original.” Samara takes on a mission to create spaces that are not what you would expect; sometimes upside down, sometimes tucked away under staircases, but always impressive. How, you ask?
An “actual space” has so many elements that need to be captured; the energy, the smell, the aura, the vibe, the feeling it gives someone. How do you achieve this in your installations?
I don’t really think about ‘capturing,’ I think about making something that can build up enough of its own momentum to become something that feels some way. I don’t want to manipulate the viewer; the piece unfolds in the process of making it, and slowly starts to become something. Sometimes I fight against what it is becoming by adding contradictory elements but its really a puzzle, and I never know how to solve it ‘till the end. Often times I’m not sure if I ever actually solve it.
Fiziksel yönden, işlerin ayrıntılı ve kendine özgü olması hoşuma gidiyor. Çoğu zaman ayrıntılar büyük resmin içinde kayboluyor ya da izleyicinin gözünden uzaklaşıyor ama kendi önemince onlar hep orada ve bence bu, mekana fiziksel gerçeklik katıyor. Aksi halde parçaların hissini güçlendirmek ve ayrı bir boyut katmak adına ışık ve sesi kullanıyorum.
In terms of the physical side, I like for things to be really detailed and really specific, a lot of times those details are lost in the big picture or too far away from the viewer to be seen, but to its important that they are there, and I think that brings a physic reality to the place. Otherwise sound and light are sometimes things that I use to shift the feeling of piece, and give it another dimension.
You create rooms that are often living spaces. Personal areas are mostly very, well, personal. How do you want art-goers to try to perceive a piece of your world?
Usually I make things because I get an idea or I see a possibility and I want to see if I can make it real. Mostly the actual making of it is beyond my ability and resources, so for me it’s a personal challenge. I guess I believe in a certain kind of alchemy, I believe that in order to make something good, one has to put a real effort and struggle or joy or whatever they are thinking of into it. A bad analogy would be putting a solar panel in the sun, having it store the energy, then at night plugging your lamp to have light. In that structure, my thoughts/ emotions/feelings would be the sunlight, and the light from the lamp would be the work. I’m not interested in telling the art-goers how to see or what to see, I’m just creating a situation so that they can see it.
Have you ever though about doing interior decoration, considering your talent in creativity and design?
Yes, only recently, because it pays more (ha ha). Seriously though, I know I would enjoy it. I always know what I want things to look like from the big picture down to the small details. Interior design is a commercial field though, so you need to think about what the client wants not what you want to see, so its really a collaboration – which could be really enjoyable if you were able to work with interesting people.
Your multifaceted videos are as awe-inspiring as your work. Do you find it hard to create in multiple areas?
Most of the videos are a part of the installations, like my “migraine” videos, which are collections of photos flashing at milliseconds so that you can only subliminally perceive the images. I made some of those as 3D anaglyphic videos (the simple red blue kind) and I made 3D glasses for people to look through with lighting gels. The other way I’ve used video is to color code it into a live image of the work, so that something in the actual space is altered. Sometimes its words scrolling through an object. I’ve also projected images on objects. But to answer your question, I don’t think of the videos as a depart from the other ways of making things, I think of them all needing each other… Another way to say it is that they are slowly building a dialogue between more sculptural parts; it develops as the piece develops.
Your inspiration process derives from surfing on the Internet. How does easy access to information contribute to your creativity?
I really wouldn’t say that my inspiration process derives from surfing on the Internet. Earlier on, I was enjoying it because it was more like having a huge illustrated or photographic dictionary. Its amazing to be able to look up a detailed version of something that you vaguely remember, like say, a fireplace. I think the Internet probably allows me to research the richness of all the design in the world, but also it can be too much, and can derail you into a world of distraction…
How “transferable” are your room installations? Do you create them site-specifically?
Mainly they are pretty site specific. Some can be moved or reinstalled in a new space as long as certain features exist, or can be made.
Do you think your perception of a space is different than any other person there with you – considering you are looking for certain things? And what are the things you look for?
I think everyone’s experience and perception is different, I’m not sure because I’ve only ever been myself – haha.
How reflective are your exhibitions of your mood?
Very. I used to talk about it as giving the pieces a high emotional pitch, but its not something I really set out to do, it’s more about something that needs to be built inside of the structure of making the thing. So I wouldn’t ever say its a one to one equation. I’ll have a million moods during the making of a piece, and a million technical things to solve. Its more about an evolution.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming exhibition and projects?
Right now I’m making a site specific installation at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The Installation takes place in a 2000 sq ft gallery space that has 40 foot high ceilings. The actual ceiling is made up of 18 vaulted skylights, and I made each vault into a’room’. (To be clear, the couch, tables, etc are all installed upside down on the ceiling.) The skylight in each room takes over a whole wall and functions like a big picture window. The gallery floor is covered in mirror with the exception of a walkway around the perimeter, with a railing that separates the viewer from the mirror. Looking over the railing is like looking down into an atrium, and seeing 18 rooms from aerial view 2 stories below you… (Sort of like an seeing an apartment building with the roof torn off.)