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December 3, 2009 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Dutch artist Zeger Reyers has created some ponderous and messy installations in the past. However, his latest one, Eating the Universe, definitely needs to be cleaned up.

Reyers has made installations from all kinds of materials before. Partial list: Aluminum gutters, rockwool and winter rye; mussels; last night's dishes (and guests); all kinds of fungi; and steel drums. He now goes back to the pantry for inspiration.

The latest creation involves a rotating room (a kitchen) completely outfitted with all that you'd expect in said room. And no, things are not tied down. Just wait 'till the parents get home.

(Available in Turbo and Lightning versions for those who have to get back to cleaning their own kitchensinstallations.)
posted by Hardcore Poser (56 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It seems kind of buggy! If it can't rotate for ten minutes without assistance, how it it supposed to keep rotating until February?
posted by Dr. Send at 9:31 AM on December 3, 2009


So, it's time once again for "what is art?" to be asked? Is this art? Or is this someone with sufficient funding to answer a stoner's hypothetical:

Dude...the kitchen's spinning. Nah brah, you're just tilting your head. But...what if the kitchen really did spin? That...that'd be awesome!

I know art doesn't need to have a point or anything like that, but I just am not sure why this is particularly good art, or how to appreciate it.
posted by explosion at 9:33 AM on December 3, 2009


I know art doesn't need to have a point or anything like that, but I just am not sure why this is particularly good art, or how to appreciate it.

You thought about it. Point made.

For me, the art is in the chaos and disruption of a scene / environment we can all mostly relate....and it's messy fun.
posted by Benway at 9:43 AM on December 3, 2009


what
posted by jquinby at 9:45 AM on December 3, 2009


i have a suggestion (not necessarily directed towards you explosion)... if you're one of those people who feels compelled to rail against contemporary art with the whole "this isn't art!" indignation... just do yourself a favor, save yourself the rage, save those of us who do appreciate it the frustration, and just DON'T SPEND TIME LOOKING AT CONTEMPORARY ART. nothing useful will come out of the argument we will inevitably have.

ps, enjoy your paintings of flowers and sunsets
posted by nathancaswell at 9:45 AM on December 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


This would be better if he paid a guy to stand in there while trying to prepare a meal.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:54 AM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


save those of us who do appreciate it the frustration, and just DON'T SPEND TIME LOOKING AT CONTEMPORARY ART.

Way to live up to the holier-than-thou / elitist stereotype.

While I admittedly don't "get" contemporary art, I look at it because I want to get it. Attitudes like this do more to make me dismiss the art than the art itself does.
posted by fore at 9:56 AM on December 3, 2009


Also, they should've left it rotating so eventually whatever stayed in the box was ground down into an even mixture. Then they could bottle that and sell it in the museum gift shop.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


While I admittedly don't "get" contemporary art, I look at it because I want to get it.

For most of it, just listen to or read what the artist says about his work and then take that at face value. You can also interpose your own interpretation if you like. Pretty simple, usually.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:00 AM on December 3, 2009


Way to live up to the holier-than-thou / elitist stereotype.

I'm not trying to be elitist (well maybe with the flower/sunsets jab) but if it ain't your bag it ain't your bag.

You'll note that I didn't say "if you don't get it you never will, so don't bother." I said if looking at it makes you so upset that you storm around screaming "that's not art! that's not art!" just save us all the drama and don't spend your time looking at it.

I see tons of art that makes me want to shake my head and say "whatever, dude" (lots of field paintings, for instance) in galleries, but I just walk by and don't spend my time looking at it letting rage consume me.

If you're trying to appreciate it rather than picking a fight, by all means continue.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:05 AM on December 3, 2009


It's art if your rich, famous, and pretentious enough that other rich, famous, and pretentious people care. A good artists would have prepared a meal in there himself.

In grad school, a friend with a chicken and I once hit easter eggs containing oblique strategies around our courtyard for easter. I think the kids from family housing didn't understand the art.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:12 AM on December 3, 2009


It's no Rotating Maternity Ward, but it's okay, I guess.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:19 AM on December 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


Is this something I would have to be standing still to appreciate?
posted by chavenet at 10:24 AM on December 3, 2009


Well, no. I was thinking it would be more fun if the kitchen was fixed and the room rotated.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:28 AM on December 3, 2009


This must be Real Art, because I can't look at it without thinking, "Wow, what a goddamned pretentious waste of time and energy."
posted by jbickers at 10:35 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


just DON'T SPEND TIME LOOKING AT CONTEMPORARY ART.

Fuck that. Why is it that if a Serious Dutch Artist does this sort of thing, it's Serious Art, but in another context it's just some dudes at MIT or Stanford doing something hacky? Why does street art count as "graffiti" by some, "kitchy art" by others, and "genius" when it's done by Banksy?

I'm not even talking about the "my 5-year-old could do that" criticism, and I understand the world of difference between Duchamp's Fountain and shitting on a pedestal. But this? It seems to be "art" only because it was produced by someone who cared to call it "art." Without further context, it's a goddamn mess.
posted by explosion at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is that a permanent installation? Does someone put it all back together and start over again every hour or so?
posted by Cranberry at 10:37 AM on December 3, 2009


Fuck that. Why is it that if a Serious Dutch Artist does this sort of thing, it's Serious Art, but in another context it's just some dudes at MIT or Stanford doing something hacky?

I give up... where's the link to the poor unacknowledged MIT kids who built the rotating kitchen again? I seem to have deleted it because they weren't Serious Dutch Artists.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:38 AM on December 3, 2009


Fuck that. Why is it that if a Serious Dutch Artist does this sort of thing, it's Serious Art, but in another context it's just some dudes at MIT or Stanford doing something hacky?

Speaking as a guy with a fine arts degree, I can confidently assure you that this project is exactly what it looks like: A rotating kitchen. If there's any sort of Serious Message the Serious Artist is attempting (read: purporting) to convey, it is entirely secondary to the fact that a rotating kitchen is inherently entertaining.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 AM on December 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


but I just am not sure why this is particularly good art, or how to appreciate it.

There's no one particular way. One of the best Art History teachers I ever had broke it down pretty simply" Look at the art. While you're looking at it, what does it make your feel or think?" That's pretty much it. I think people have to realize that art is a conversation, so just as you wouldn't start a conversation with a person expecting them to carry the complete conversation, so to with art. You have to open your mind to the realization that someone is talking to you and be willing to think about what they're saying.

I thought this was neat because it literally turned order on its head and produced chaos. The pace was maddeningly slow, but that was the point. You know how it's going to end, yes, but the piece wanted you to experience that ending step by step as it built anticipation and excitement. The little kid in me loved watching something get completely messy as my adult mind was reminded of the slow progression of life to its inevitable conclusion. Along the way I pondered the importance of material things, the huge amount of effort required for creation vs destruction, the kitchen as metaphor for the heart of house, feminism turning that on its head, how slow change comes and finally the sheer luxury of being able to actually view this piece of art rather than worry where my next meal was coming from.

The piece pulled me outside of my world and made me think of other things and that's really the best kind of art.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:43 AM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


For me, the fun is in trying to figure out what the artist is trying to express, then checking my answer with their thoughts. They rarely match- and that's enlightening. I found myself thinking about how all this crap around us will destroy itself in time. And the quotidian setting had me thinking about our everyday lives that are becoming something else in tiny increments.

I do think this installation could have been more sophisticated. If it still maintained some kind of order around 90 degrees with stuff chaotically sliding into in a new place, I would have enjoyed it more.
posted by NicoleyDarko at 10:45 AM on December 3, 2009


Damn you for saying it so much better, Brandon Blatcher!
posted by NicoleyDarko at 10:48 AM on December 3, 2009


Why is it that if a Serious Dutch Artist does this sort of thing, it's Serious Art, but in another context it's just some dudes at MIT or Stanford doing something hacky?

Remember, the Impressionists were radicals in their day, so I wouldn't worry too much about what the others consider Serious Art unless you're in the field.

Why does street art count as "graffiti" by some, "kitchy art" by others, and "genius" when it's done by Banksy?

Because art is highly subjective.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:48 AM on December 3, 2009


Fuck that. Why is it that if a Serious Dutch Artist does this sort of thing, it's Serious Art, but in another context it's just some dudes at MIT or Stanford doing something hacky?

Also, I vaguely recall seeing a machine that some MIT(?) kids made several years ago that basically digested food and excreted feces. And I considered it art. Not because it was in a gallery, but because building an elaborate robot that only exists to make shit is interesting.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:49 AM on December 3, 2009


Also, I vaguely recall seeing a machine that some MIT(?) kids made several years ago that basically digested food and excreted feces.

Aw fuck, turns out it was a Belgian conceptual artist. But I somehow magically recognized it's art powers despite thinking it was engineering kids that made it. Maybe I saw it at MIT, I can't remember.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:54 AM on December 3, 2009


enh. Fred Astaire did it better.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:59 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked it a lot! I particularly enjoyed all the mini dramas in the piece, mini dramas like this one, which I'd like to call "The gentleman and the onion".
posted by soundofsuburbia at 11:00 AM on December 3, 2009


Another way to experience is just viscerally, as a sort high minded "monster track rally" where you go agree visit a space where the usual rules of society (or your society) are suspended in order to engage in actions or feelings that said society usually doesn't condone Haven't you ever wanted to blow something up or just smash that neat suburban kitchen? Well here you go!

The piece also reminded me of science, via its title (Eating the Universe), the slow spinning like a black hole and the dangling objects that almost seemed to be living representations of the invisible forces of gravity. Whatever man does, the natural world can and will undo, even if it takes forever.

Also, just because this piece works, IMO, doesn't mean that all contemporary art is worthwhile or good. I think people just need to realize that art can be more than just swirls of paint and that they their minds have to be open to experiencing the piece.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:23 AM on December 3, 2009


For most of it, just listen to or read what the artist says about his work and then take that at face value. You can also interpose your own interpretation if you like. Pretty simple, usually.

No! Nooooooo! Don't do that! I've never talked to an artist that thought that wall texts should even exist. If you have to read the wall text, do it after you've thought all you're going to about the piece. What the artist thinks or intends is no more relevant than anything else.

Why is it that if a Serious Dutch Artist does this sort of thing, it's Serious Art, but in another context it's just some dudes at MIT or Stanford doing something hacky?

Because they're different contexts. It has no bearing on value, unless you think it does, which you apparently do.
posted by cmoj at 11:46 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Neat! I thought the kitchen was pretty fucking great, slight tech issues aside.

as far as the art question is concerned, it isn't really an interesting question. There isn't some 'thing' to 'get' about contemporary. is it art? who cares! it's a fucking SPINNING KITCHEN! It's awesome!
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2009


explosion: I know art doesn't need to have a point or anything like that, but I just am not sure why this is particularly good art, or how to appreciate it.

I like being a wanky culture vulture - and I almost always read any small print explanations at modern installation exhibitions because I'm SO anxious about missing the point - and there's not a thing wrong with that question.

It's like religion. There is more faith in honest doubt...(and all that).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:56 AM on December 3, 2009


Why is it that if a Serious Dutch Artist does this sort of thing, it's Serious Art, but in another context it's just some dudes at MIT or Stanford doing something hacky?

Because they're different contexts.


Unfortunately this is true. Philosophically it isn't quite right, but as a comment on the majority of the art culture in the world today it's pretty spot on: George Dickie's Institutional Theory of Art. Basically, if an 'expert' puts it in a context for appreciation, like a museum, then it's art. I say unfortunately true because after so many years of art trying to emancipate itself from the elite, from the 'beautiful,' from history, we're right back where we started, allowing others with supposed 'refined taste' to make the determination of what is aesthetically valuable for us.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:59 AM on December 3, 2009


Screw that. It would have been an awesome ride. Okay, aside from all the glass and knives flying at you, it would have been an awesome ride.

And I don't get all the rantiness. Nobody here's complained it's not art yet, and at worst only asked whether it's good or bad art. Some art is just kinda' between those extremes, but is fun to watch for a while. Enjoy it.
posted by ardgedee at 12:04 PM on December 3, 2009


And I don't get all the rantiness. Nobody here's complained it's not art yet

We headed them off at the pass. It was on its way, believe me. It always shows up eventually in these fart threads.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:06 PM on December 3, 2009


It it was really "art" then the kitchen sink would have been running.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 PM on December 3, 2009


I have no opinion as to whether or not it's art, but I thought it was entertaining, and that's good enough for me.
posted by echo target at 12:14 PM on December 3, 2009


art (n.) Objects put on display for the purpose of aesthetic appreciation.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:43 PM on December 3, 2009


just do yourself a favor, save yourself the rage, save those of us who do appreciate it the frustration, and just DON'T SPEND TIME LOOKING AT CONTEMPORARY ART. nothing useful will come out of the argument we will inevitably have.
ps, enjoy your paintings of flowers and sunsets


Van Gogh and Turner not your cuppa tea then, nathancaswell?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:45 PM on December 3, 2009


You know what I mean.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:46 PM on December 3, 2009


I admit I was all on tenterhooks for the inevitable moment when the light stopped shining.
posted by not that girl at 1:17 PM on December 3, 2009


Yeah, you should probably get a new room mate. I'm sure this guy is your friend, and likes to split pizza with you, and whatever, plays two-player smash-tv, but none of these things have an bearing on being a good house-mate. A good house-mate maintains their living space with the same amount of care as you do and provides an amicable living environment. It has little to do with personality or hanging out or anything like that.

If you were a disgusting filth-lover then this chap would be a fine match for you, but it seems like you prefer a clean living area, so he isn't a good house-mate, to you. It doesn't have to be personal. I've lived with people that I'm actually not fond of, and will hopefully never have to interact with again, BUT, living with them was really nice because they insisted on cleanliness and had procedures and routines and etc to keep the common areas and actually helped me to become a cleaner, better house-mate.

So, you should first talk to him strongly encouraging him to clean up. Talk about how you feel, talk about how neither of you are going to be enjoying college sex because of your environment, talk about vermin, mice, roaches, bedbugs, screwflies, etc. Teach him some basic cleaning techniques. Hire a cleaning service if you must, and split the cost 50/50.

Don't be a bastard and start putting dirty dishes in his bed. That's very disrespectful. DO NOT enter his private space without explicit permission. If you do that then YOU are the bad house-mate, and much worse than just being messy.

You signed a lease, so you are stuck with the filth. You may have to be his mother and clean up after his nasty ass all the time because he may be unwilling or unable to change his ways and breaking a lease is never a good idea.

This is the most likely scenario: You will be the one who keeps the apartment habitable and you will gradually stop being friends with the slob and begin to resent him. You will eventually move on and learn to pick better roommates and the slob will end up entombed in filth, probably alone.
posted by fuq at 1:22 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


art is fuq's comment. Anyone who keeps a kitchen like that is not fit to be a roommate of mine!
posted by frwagon at 1:35 PM on December 3, 2009


Unrotated version.
posted by effbot at 1:38 PM on December 3, 2009


A definition of art that I like: if the creator of the piece says it's art, then it's art.

This comment is art.
posted by stepheno at 1:39 PM on December 3, 2009


effbot, you forgot that Jamiroquai video, or does that not count?
posted by nathancaswell at 1:44 PM on December 3, 2009


Needs a hundred or so random folks rearranging and adding extra stuff all at the same time.
posted by jquinby at 2:02 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down...
posted by rusty at 2:09 PM on December 3, 2009


Oh man. The original, that was neat, cause hey, a rotating kitchen! But the Unrotated version? Now that is art.
posted by rusty at 2:11 PM on December 3, 2009


explosion: "Is this art?"

Is that a criticism? On second thought, don't answer that question, because it is just as useless as the one you are asking.
posted by idiopath at 2:24 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's surprisingly satisfying to watch a kitchen rotate - at once pleasingly chaotic and reassuringly orderly (technical glitches aside.) It's like a choreographed earthquake!

I agree with Burhanistan in that I would like this even better if there were someone in the kitchen valiantly trying to make himself a fried egg sandwich or something.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 3:31 PM on December 3, 2009


I had a lot of the same reactions as Brandon up there, especially regarding order/chaos, inevitability/patience, and luxury/waste.

I also wanted to add that once my brain resigned itself that there was a mess being made and it could do nothing to intervene, I appreciated the musical quality—long stretches of silence punctuated here by gentle rustling/tinkling, now by heavy percussive thumping, now an incessant clamor before sudden silence again...

Also, I got inexplicably excited when that kitchen implement (a whisk or something) actually fell out of the confined "kitchen" space and on to the platform like—whoa... shit just got real.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2009


I appreciated the musical quality—long stretches of silence punctuated here by gentle rustling/tinkling, now by heavy percussive thumping, now an incessant clamor before sudden silence again.

I love that! There would be all noise and and then silence as things settled and you wanted for the next explosion of sound and then BOOM, something would fly outta the cabinets suddenly. Even in trying to predict and thereby control the known conclusion, you're still surprised.

Plus it's fun to make a big mess!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:36 PM on December 3, 2009


Jamiroquai? I'm clearly missing some context here.
posted by effbot at 6:20 PM on December 3, 2009


Every time I see one of these conceptual art pieces I wish Johnny Rotten would jump up and shout "EVER FEEL LIKE YOU'VE BEEN CHEATED?"

Sorry nathancaswell, I really do try to give them a chance, but I always come away thinking they're just hoaxes perpetrated by no-talent hacks who get by by tricking people into thinking they're not smart enough/not smart enough to get it. Maybe if we live long enough posterity will prove one of us right and we will laugh about this over a microbrew at a MeFi meetup.

My vote for best comment of the post award goes to fuq.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:53 PM on December 3, 2009


effbot, you don't remember this? A bit of a stretch, but I was trying to make a dated pop culture reference.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:41 AM on December 4, 2009


The only art that isn't art is the art that YOU have not made yet.
posted by Area Control at 1:45 PM on December 4, 2009


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