Installation Nation opens tonight 

Ben Valentines Shipping Hazardous Material Never Solved Anything, from Installation Nation 2010.
  • Ben Valentine's "Shipping Hazardous Material Never Solved Anything," from Installation Nation 2010.

Sometimes a blank page (or an empty space) is just too overwhelming; restraints can help encourage creation, particularly with others along for the ride to encourage and hold one accountable. Something to keep in mind with the return of Installation Nation, a juried installation art exhibition featuring nine pieces, each installed in its own 640 square foot metal shipping container.

This will mark the third time Primary Colours has hosted the event and the first time it will take place at Big Car Service Center; previous incarnations took advantage of empty lots in the Mass Ave area. Food trucks and the like will be on hand, with adult beverages available. The show runs from 6-11 p.m. tonight (June 15) and 4-11 p.m. on June 16. Admission is $5, or free for 12 and under.

This year's lineup - drawn from applications collected on an international scale - includes plenty of Indy-area talent. The list: Aaron Nemec and Jordan Cleland, Nathan Gorgen, Brandy Graham, Jeffrey S. Martin, Jessica Dunn and Justin Shimp, Chad Sines, Jacob Stanley, Matt and Holly Sommers, and David Yosha.

Let's take a look at previous Installation Nation reviews, starting with Susan Watt Grade's take on 2009's inaugural effort: "Can evocative environments be constructed within the confines of a shipping container? Absolutely. Some artists attempted to provide conceptual and sensory contrast, such as the smell of a pine forest in work by Brent Aldrich and Julie Cifuentes. Jeff Martin's "Conditioning p2" successfully coaxed viewers, one at a time, to lie on a motorized, Styrofoam bed that transported them behind a black curtain into a confusing, claustrophobic MRI-like construction. Michele Bosak's installation questioned past/present consumerism and design through transforming the shipping container into a retro living room lined with watercolors that documented her acquisition of specific vintage furniture items. Will today's mass-produced, imported goods be collected and recorded with such care?"

And Dan Grossman visited the 2010 edition (Installation Nation took 2011 off): "One of the most engaging installations was the cannon-sized kaleidoscope created by Andrew Ball with Todd Bracik and Matt Warren. They attached two 55-gallon oil barrels together lengthwise to construct the torso of said kaleidoscope; they lined the barrel interiors with acrylic mirrors. While this contraption had to be turned with a hand-crank, Sala Wong's "To Tell a Secret" brought you back into the 21st century with the latest technology and projected the images of words spoken by visitors into four microphones onto the shipping container's inner walls; you could have taken the title of said installation to heart by absorbing others' very intimate sentences strung together in cool blue-lit lettering and/or by telling your own. Xiaoou Sun's confused paper moths (confused by artificial light, that is) were also conceptually intriguing."


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Scott Shoger

Scott Shoger

Scott Shoger staggered up to NUVO's door one summer afternoon, a little drunk, poor and crazy-haired, muttering about future Mayor Ballard. He was taken in, hosed down, given NUVO-emblazoned clothes to wear and allowed to work in exchange for food and bylines. Refusing to leave the premises, he was hired on as... more

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