The Indianapolis Museum of Art is currently holding a call for proposals to customize and reside on Indianapolis Island. Students of art, architecture, and design within the area are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to participate in this six week residency. During construction and residency, the 2011 island resident will be provided with a blog on the IMA website to be used to connect with an audience on a national and international scale.
Situated on a 35-acre lake in 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, Indianapolis Island is an inhabitable structure complete with boat dock, sink, countertop, shelving, and an outdoor seating area. During its inaugural summer, the island was customized by Herron School of Art and Design (Indianapolis) students Jessica Dunn and Michael Runge, who developed the conceptual basis for their accompanying project titled Give and Take.
Although this is a reoccurring residency (as of now, it’s planned for a call for proposals to be held for the next three years), each summer will inevitably pose a new set of opportunities and challenges. While the 2010 residents were provided with a blank slate, future residents will have to decide which traces, if any, of the previous inhabitants to incorporate into their island residency. With each successive residency, Indianapolis Island will depart further from its initial pure form, becoming naturally scuffed and cluttered over time.
Often islands represent a respite or escape, even vacation, as is demonstrated by their inclusion in television, fiction, and travel magazines. While accessible only by boat, Indianapolis Island is physically remote, yet it can be seen from several points on the lake’s shore. Rather than being secluded, the island becomes a focal point of the Park, sparking the interest of 100 Acres visitors who hope to catch a glimpse of the residents. Dunn and Runge engaged this contradiction within their project by offering Park visitors tours of the island. Through “Island Trade,” a system of exchange established by the artists, visitors could even change the contents of Dunn and Runge’s living space, debunking the notion of the island as removed and autonomous.
Indianapolis Island does provide an attractive break from everyday tasks, but, as is true of its many contradictions, the island also creates a new set of restrictions and limitations. While inhabitable, the island is rather primitive, forcing the residents to develop their own conclusions about how to live on this unique structure. Although residing on Indianapolis Island is a singular experience, findings about how to live in this situation by the residents are transferable to everyday living experiences by those who are willing to question their day-to-day actions. As Andrea Zittel stated in an interview in Artforum,
‘Indy Island‘ brings into focus fundamental issues of need, comfort, security, and privacy… It is an interesting exercise for anyone to examine their own day-to-day lifestyle and consider what they could live without, or live with.
I’m interested to see how the future residents operate within these contradictions inherent to the Indianapolis Island residency, and encourage both undergraduate and graduate students to apply. Please visit the IMA website for more information and to submit an application.