t e x t s c a p e
t e x t s c a p e is a meditation on constructed worlds, communication and connection through the gesture of text messaging. Combining old and new photographic processes, Scafati creates a multitude of iterations of the ubiquitous smartphone textbox, extensively layering and enlarging its form from its familiar handheld size to up to 8-feet. This play on scale shifts its physical relationship to the human form and suggests a metaphor for a greater psychological impact on human experience. This body-of-work takes the form of large-scale archival pigment and supreme mesh scrolls comprised of cyanotypes and photograms, and wood, marble, acrylic, and textile installations.
Recent commissioned, site-specific projects include a permanent, 4-story installation at the Facebook office as an Artist-in-Residence; an exhibition with artist Sean Ripple at Co-Lab Projects DEMO Gallery; and at Canopy Austin in conjunction with the East Austin Studio Tour. See selections of press and installation views below.
This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future, and sponsored by Big Medium.
Scafati was commissioned to create a permanent, site-specific, 4-story art installation in the Facebook office in downtown Austin as a 2017 Facebook Artist-in-Residence. For the final story, Scafati invited the FB Austin community to co-create the work, resulting in phrases added to the textbox forms in 11 different languages. The interplay between the installation and the geometry of the cityscape outside the Facebook office windows presents filtered, constructed worlds in flux. It invites viewers to think about the ways in which everyday forms influence individual and collective behavior.
The book, titled "Open Form: Facebook Artists in Residence 2012-2017," includes introductions by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and FB AIR founder and director Drew Bennett, as well as a long-form essay by scholar and curator Natasha Boas that traces the evolution of Bay Area counterculture and cyberculture and examines the intersections between tech and art and the creative minds working in both fields.
An artist video was also produced by Facebook about the making of this project.
Additionally, this installation has been published in Austin Business Journal, Curbed Austin, and various Facebook promotions amongst others.
INSTALLATION VIEWS: (Additional views available).
Co-Lab Projects' DEMO Gallery
In this exhibition, Susan Scafati and Sean Ripple created artworks on-site responding to the gallery space as well as around its neighborhood in downtown Austin. The interplay between Scafati's artworks and their environments presented constructed worlds in flux — at times filtered, layered, or reflective, yet void. The artworks morphed day-to-day, subject to the light, sound, and movement that filled the space. Light refracted through the acrylic window panels, flickering colors and forms across a large white wall with slightly recessed textboxes titled "Relief." An air draft would make dormant acrylics suddenly spin or jitter. Compositionally, the acrylics evoked different metaphors depending on their context — up high their curved edges and colorful hues contrasted the right-angled, monotonous geometry of the cityscape, while down at ground level they reflected the fluctuating energy of people in the streets. These surrounding scenes flashed like fleeting avant-garde film vignettes across the acrylic surfaces, reappearing and disappearing.
In addition to creating individual new works, Scafati and Ripple at times intersected their art-making. For example, a jumpsuit Scafati designed with the
t e x t s c a p e motif served as an artifact of Ripple's live and social media-based performances over a five-month-period during which marks accumulated on it. The audio from those performances sound through speakers on Scafati's Monolith sculpture (an 8-foot tall wooden textscape-shaped boombox), activating an otherwise cold, vacant and looming textbox with bodily sounds such as breathing, chanting, footsteps, whispering, whistling. Scafati and Ripple further engaged audience members through daily virtual experiences in concert with the physical gallery components.
"Best Group Gallery Exhibition" nominee, by Robert Faires, Austin Critics Table Awards.
"Top Five," by Rainey Knudson and Christina Rees, Glasstire: Visual Art News & Reviews.
Additional accolades include by Studium and Austin Art Alliance.
The first installment of t e x t s c a p e was at Canopy Austin, in conjunction with East Austin Studio Tour.
This installment was selected as a top pick by Austin American Statesman (by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin) and Austin Chronicle, and spotlighted by Harry Ransom Center, International Center of Photography, Contemporary Austin art school, and Big Medium.