HERE TODAY/Ephemeral Folks (temporary public art installation, Olympia, WA, USA, summer 2006)

The Explorer, tape sculpture by Diane Kurzyna

The Explorer at Capitol Lake in Olympia, WA, with Lake Fair in the background, July 2006. Made from unwanted plastic wrap (thank you, Olympia Food Coop) and tape; stuffed with used bubble wrap collected from downtown Olympia businesses. Our friend, sixteen year old Jeremy Cooper, was the model for this sculpture.

View slide show HERE

In the summer of 2006, the City of Olympia commissioned eight Thurston County artists to create temporary public art for downtown Olympia. The most ambitious of these projects was Diane Kurzyna’s HERE TODAY project entitled Ephemeral Folks, an installation of four archetypical figures that roamed the city in a variety of ways. Created from humble materials such as unwanted plastic wrap, used bubble wrap, and tape, these sculptures became a metaphor for the transience of life, their presence a reminder that even commonplace moments may possess a quiet magic.

The Observer appeared in various storefront windows, holding a mirror towards the viewer, blurring the distinction between who is the observer and who is the observed. The store owners were encouraged to have an interaction with the figure, and all were disappointed that she could not stay for more than a few days. She was transported to each new destination via wheelchair, which, to the delight of passersby, became a mini-performance. She was on view from the start of HERE TODAY on July 15 until its finale on September 15.

The Explorer also moved around downtown, but was the most adventurous figure: the Explorer read a book in various outside locations, including the steps of the old Carnegie Public Library, the new Timberline Public Library, the old synagogue (now K records), the new synagogue, Sylvester Park, Yashiro Gardens, Capitol Lake, Percival Landing, the Farmers’ Market, the Artesian Well, and other places. People encountering the Explorer felt like they were the discoverer of a new art; the Explorer encouraged them to explore downtown and discover new worlds through reading. His modes of transportation were also adventurous: after riding the free Dash bus for three weeks, he rode in a convertible, a bike, a boat, and horse drawn buggy.

The Dreamer spent time contemplating in the garden at the Olympia Farmers’ Market, where folks enjoyed relaxing with her. A mirror in the palm of her hand reflected the sky, emphasizing her ethereal, otherworldliness.

The Actor was a doer as well as a performer; this figure appeared at the Capitol Theatre Building, which encompasses more than just the Olympia Film Society and the theatre; it is also where Cast Off Art Studio is located, and there are other studios, businesses, and offices there as well. This is an historic building and is of course, haunted. The Actor haunted the place, being moved around to various places inside and outside of the building, including the ticket taker booth, the concession stand, my studio window, the Free Wall in the alley, and in reference to a George Segal sculpture, even hung out on the marquee for 4 days and nights.

See more pics/learn more about the project HERE