Conceptual Art

These works were created together with writer and filmmaker Daedalus Howell.

airport bar luggage tags

Airport Bar

As a response to President Trump’s attempts to implement a “travel ban,” we hosted “Airport Bar,” a participatory public performance and protest (with wine) that invited the public to acknowledge what it means to be trapped in the bureaucratic purgatory of international travel in the only place where humanity still feels as one when traveling — the airport bar.

The scenario: guests downloaded their event ticket, in the form of a travel visa. They arrived at the event space — a downtown wine bar — with luggage full of canned goods to be donated, and showed their visa, which we immediately stamped “cancelled” and sent them into the airport bar (actually the wine bar) to wait.

There they could drink wine, donate their canned goods (ultimately given to the local homeless organization: Committee on the Shelterless (COTS)), and write letters to congress opposing the travel ban. More>

le drama club band

Le Drama Clüb

Really, it’s just a story of love, loss, leather and clove cigarettes against a backdrop of Reaganomics, the Berlin Wall and the burgeoning AIDS epidemic.

Into this tumult Le Drama Clüb formed – or would’ve if it were real… Instead, its members, songs, images and band-related ephemera have been invented.

The idea was simple: Consolidate the collective narratives of a particular time and place and reimagine them as a new story – one born from forgotten memories and dreams broken over the knobby knee of adolescence. 

The scenario: We curated an exhibition at a downtown gallery showcasing ephemera and the narrative from this manufactured vintage 1988 band, with an invitation to add one’s own 80s ephemera to the wall. We recorded an album (playing on a cassette tape player at the exhibition) and made band t-shirts and buttons, all of which were available for sale at the exhibition. Click here for the Story and the Exhibit.

lost roomba

Lost Roomba

Taking into account our contemporary anxieties regarding artificial intelligence, where better to start than with the concept of a lost Roomba? It must happen, right?

We created the flyer, and launched it into the world. Antics ensued.

The project was even mentioned in A Bestiary of the Anthropocene by Nicolas Nova and published in 2021 by Onomatopee Projects (an editorially-led public gallery and print shop in Eindhoven, Netherlands — that Roomba sure got around).

The scenario: We made a flyer with a sharpie and a photo of the roomba with a plea for its recovery, copied it, then set up a phone number with a voicemail box for messages. We placed the flyer on telephone poles around town and waited for the messages about the roomba’s whereabouts came pouring in…which they did. More>

nobo coffee

Nobo Coffee

Sometimes you just need a good cup of coffee. Nobo coffee is a conceptual art product based in a conceptual café in a conceptual neighborhood. It’s brewed in a surrealist café in the North Boulevard area of our town, an arts district we dubbed NoBo.

The district is a place for artists, an experience that would be both nostalgic and futuristic, if it existed.

There’s not a Nobo district or a Nobo Café IRL, but we did create Nobo Coffee, just for you, an artist at home toiling away during a pandemic, because you need a good cup of coffee.

The scenario: We partnered with a custom roaster in New York and created a coffee brand replete with various lines and labels (like Chiaroscuro Blues) that evoked the café writer’s life and made them available via an e-commerce website at Nobo coffee became a more conceptual art product than a project. We’ve since retired the project but be assured it was good to the last drop.

stairwell video

Stairwell Video

Stairwell Video recreated an 80s-era, VHS-only video store and invited participants to “rent” a video for the night – but the video can never be returned (the video store vanished in the night, erased like magnetic media and the dreams of a generation).

The installation explored what happens when you squeeze nostalgia and a dead medium into a 110-foot Victorian-era stairwell. And then add late fees…

The scenario: We created a one-night-only pop-up video store in our stairwell with carefully curated VHS tapes and invited the public to come “rent” movies.

First they had to sign up for a membership, then receive a member card, and only then could they check out the tape. We later sent customers late notices by email, even though the store had vanished. More>

Kary Hess

Can we be made of place? Who would we be if we all spoke the languages of our landscapes? The living relationship we have with land and its aliveness in our own bodies is what drives my work.

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