culture / nature / structure

Meghan Moe Beitiks
Here we go.

Microbial Portraits (2012)

I am taking cultures from people and places and taking photos of them with a digital microscope. Portraits on a microscopic level. This is for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago GFRY Studio.

The Plant’s Superfan / Comment Book Part Two

  Just as Marina Abramovic had her superfan, so Sanseviera Trafasciata had one, as well. The gentleman visited 3 times over two days, often sitting at length and talking to the plant. We could venture a guess as to which notes in the comment book were his, but there was a distinct handwriting that praised the plant’s “conversational” quality. For other fascinating notes and stories, read on, as the task of transcribing the mammoth amount of written feedback continues. There’s even more– and a VIDEO of the superfan– after the jump.

“La Suegra, We meet again! Mom gave me a piece of you when Eugenie & I moved in together. Said I would need it. Boy did I! You out grew my herbs & even adapted around the weeds. Your sharp & a bitch of a fighter! That’s what mom meant when she said I’d need you. I’m glad you wear the black gown. With all the negativity in your life & yet you thrive. Like my suegra. Like me. I look forward to having you in my garden again. This time you’ll have a permanent place in the sun, but you just have to wait a few more years! Thanks for everything, la suegra. — Geanna M.H.”

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Everyone who sat with The Plant, Day Two / Comment Book Part One

The second day of “The Plant is Present” was a bit slower, and the plant spent some time alone. But more than 50 people still found time to sit and have a moment with The Plant. Again, here’s a link to a flickr album of everyone who sat on the second day. There were several people, 6 or 7 at my count, that chose to talk to the plant. At least two people over the course of two days had sat with both The Plant and Marina Abramovic, of “The Artist is Present” fame. One sitter described the prolific  documentation as part of the intensity of sitting with Marina. The other, I’m fairly certain, is responsible for this comment in the plant’s book: “Marina was exactly as interesting.” No one cried sitting in front of the plant, but plenty looked intrigued, bored, amused and joyful. So does a plant have the same presence as an artist?  Read on for sitter’s first-hand accounts of the experience. Continues after the jump, for a long time.

“I have never sat with a dressed plant before. It was very nice. I had a good time.”

“The lights were distracting, the plant beautiful”

“She is SEXY and REAL”

“The plant was present. The weather intensifies the energy received from the plant.”

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Everyone who sat with The Plant, Day One

We knew rain was a risk, and that it wouldn’t be a problem for our starring artist. But just in case, we brought an umbrella and a blanket for potential guests. We had all electrical connections taped, and the vulnerable areas wrapped in plastic bags. Still, there reached a point in the evening when we were forced to turn on the ambient outdoor light and break down our lighting setup. The public continued to sit with the plant. After it cleared up we put one lone light back up. As a result, the portraits of guests vary as the weather varies. Some are shot in performer lighting; some are shot in blaring fluorescent outdoor lighting; some are dramatically lit from one lone light; and at least one portrait was taken in complete darkness.

Look for a later post containing a full transcription of the lovely comment book. In the meantime, here’s a flickr stream of everyone who sat with the plant on the first evening: November 19th, 2011. Some selected portraits and a video below, after the jump.

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Considering Sustainable Design @ PQ 2011

Every four years theater artists of all kinds gather in the Czech Republic for the Prague Quadrennial. Countries set up pavilions to display the best of their professional and graduate-level stage design. The city is swarmed with performances, lectures, panels and demonstrations. When I first went in 2003, site-specific performance was highlighted as a fascinating trend in scenography. Since then, the Quadrennial has expanded from a stage-design conference to a dialogue on all things performance and space. Site-specific projects are more the rule, less the exception. I’m here until June 27th, nerding out with the folks from the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. We’ll be participating in a Roundtable Discussion– Considering Sustainable Design– on June 21st. Check sustainablepractice.org for further updates. Until then, I’m loving me some cobblestones.

p.s. : the Latvian pavilions are kicking butt, as usual.

SF Sketchfest!

This is my third year as Technical Production Manager for SF Sketchfest. This beast of a festival usually involves 8-11 venues, 100 + performances, and a lot of stress-dissolving laughter. This year we’re coordinating a Viva Variety Reunion and bringing together some SNL Originals with Inside Joke. At least: the producers are bringing it together. I’m wrangling the mics, furniture, tech staff and funny hats. The first year I worked this gig I designed the lights for the first live all-member reunion of The State in 11 years. I nearly peed my pants. I’m hoping that at this point my bowel control has advanced considerably.

I’m in Yosemite (working. seriously).

This is my second year as Lighting Technician for the Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. It’s a great gig, for a number of reasons: the scenery, the free food, the fact that the TD actually listens to my design suggestions (two new specials this year!). In between shifts in the scissor lift, I’m finishing up my COP16 coverage and preparing for SFSketchfest. I’ve also been watching the videos from Green Stage Scratch Night. It looks like it was a great production, with a lot of work done in very limited time. Unfortunately their camerawoman got caught in a subway strike and it had to be filmed on an iphone. Took me ten minutes for me to get the courage to watch it. Definitely a learning experience, made some necessary edits clear. In the meantime, I’m waving hello to the deer.