Big Tiny

Tiny is big these days.  

Houses, stages, burgers, horses… everything that used to be better when bigger is now more chic when shrunk. (Notably, not egos, alas.) 

Dancing on a four feet square and eighteen inches high stage sounds like a terrible idea to me, a non-dancer. Creating four inch square art to auction at the dance performance— a fundraiser for Community Outreach, Inc., a Corvallis organization which helps people help themselves lead healthy and productive lives – sounded like a much safer challenge. 

This project’s constraints strictly focus intention. Works don’t exceed 4 x 4 x 1.5 inches. The theme of the works is Home, which relates to COI’s mission. Each piece will be offered for no less than $10. Those who can should pay more, to support the benefit organization. 

John Friedlander (b. 1960) Where the Heart Is, February, 2020
Galvanized steel, alcohol ink, wire 4×4 inches

Considering the physical expression of dance on a profoundly limited stage made me think about homes with strict size limits and, by extension, material and complexity constraints. 

I produced three pieces, exploring the pleasures of a safe, secure home against the reality that not every home is safe or secure. My process also surfaced thoughts about fragility and danger, and how each relates to both the materials I chose, and to life itself.

Late in the process, I realized each piece needed a home of its own: a safe place for the journey from studio to display to final destination. The solution was at hand: the cardboard box I’d already deconstructed for one of the pieces. The detailed packages I made turned out to be integral to each piece— out of sight, yet critical to the stability of the pieces’ “lived experience.”

  • A small handmade cardboard box

Tiny does not mean insignificant. While I enjoy these pieces’ material simplicity, and the lightness with which they will travel on their journey, I hope they will start big conversations about what “home” really means to those who don’t — or can’t — take home for granted. 

Great news! All three pieces sold during the first night of the two-evening event. One of them will make its new home in Natal, South Africa – wow!