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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Giant Interactive Structures Take Over Man's Garage

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM

click to enlarge BERNIE LUBELL
  • Bernie Lubell

If you've walked through Bernal Heights recently, you may have noticed that one of the houses has its garage door open to reveal enormous wooden sculptures, standing anywhere from nine to 25-feet-tall.

These unique pieces of artwork belong to Bernie Lubell, an artist whose interactive wooden installations have been shown in Austria, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and all over the Bay Area, most recently alongside Scott Weaver's toothpick model of San Francisco at the Exploratorium. Lubell's sculptures combine engineering and creativity to create huge kinetic structures people are encouraged to play with in order to "become actors in a theater of their own imagining."

"I've always had a penchant for the way things work," Lubell says.

click to enlarge One of Bernie's other structures. - BERNIE LUBELL
  • Bernie Lubell
  • One of Bernie's other structures.

Bernie's latest installation, titled "Why Can't The First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?" will be at The Intersection beginning April 9. According to The Intersection's website, this sculpture uses wooden computers to "slowly get nothing to happen as we work together in surveilling the 'nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is."

This upcoming installation is the third iteration of a piece Lubell began constructing in 2011.

"The first iteration involved a bike and a treadmill, and I was trying to make them work together. I accidentally connected them backwards, and it nothing happened. And that -- two things canceling each other out to make nothing happen -- I thought that had much more resonance with me," Lubell says. "I am hoping the piece will make commentary on all this wheel spinning we have to do in our lives, this enormous effort that it takes to get almost nothing to happen, or even absolutely nothing to happen."

Originally 25 feet tall, the piece was named after the 1935 Marx Brothers' routine.

"They're reading from a contract and they end up ripping up the whole thing," Lubell explains. "And I had no idea how appropriate that was going to be, because by the end they have...nothing left. So it ends up being perfect, but of course when I first made it I had no idea it was going to end up like that."

If you want to see Lubell's latest gigantic structure for yourself, come check out his (free) show, premiering April 9 at the Intersection from 6-9 p.m.

And remember, as Lubell says, "if you want a full experience, you can only get that by actually interacting with the piece. That will change the way you see it."

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Jessica Nemire

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