Sound suit transforms wearer’s identity into art

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Sound suit transforms wearer’s identity into art

Jacque Bernatt

The Valley is home to a prominent art scene and one of the more exciting places Arizonans have access to is the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts. Otherwise referred as SMoCA, the museum currently celebrating its tenth anniversary has always been “exclusively devoted to establishing a thriving and expansive contemporary arts scene.

One that encourages ideas innovation curiosity, creative critical thinking, and dialogue about the often pioneering art of our era,” according to the Manager of Public Relation Lesley Oliver.

“I think as a museum we have always wanted the community to be able to come here and have valuable experiences looking at works of art, to open up their eyes and maybe see the world in new ways,” said curator for “Unexpected Wegman”, Cassandra Coblentz.

Nick Cave is an associate professor and chairman of the Fashion Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he teaches in the Fiber Arts Program.

He has created what he calls sound suits. The idea that led to these suits was first birthed as a reaction to the Rodney King incident.

“I started thinking of myself more and more as a black man, someone who was discarded, devalued, viewed as less than,” Cave said.

Cave began gathering objects that the world had disregarded. These found and recycled materials are what make up the sound suits.

The suits became a place in which the wearer may lose identity.

“The sound suits almost always cover the whole body erasing the identity of the wearer, the pieces can simultaneously provide disguise, near Shaman-like transformation and even protection to those who don the suits,” Cave said.

While Cave’s work in the neighboring gallery is provocative in a sense that it demands examination, Wegman’s is just as edgy because it demands close attention to subtleties.

“Wegman’s really clever use of language and humor and his straightforward deadpan way of bringing our attention to the way things in life make sense but there is something off about them.” said Coblentz.

“The photographic processes and his interest in photography came out of the video work and you can see it in the exhibition. You can see it pop up in different ways,” Coblentz added.

Unexpected Wegman runs through Jan. 24, Meet Me at the Center of the Earth runs through November.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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