Art & Photography / Who, What, Why

Field Experiments

Field Experiments, a New York based art collective, moved to Indonesia to reimagine the souvenir. Here are the results

Experiment 104
Experiment 104 © Field Experiments

Who? What happens when you put three creative guys on an island together for three months to make art? This is the premise behind multi-disciplinary art collective Field Experiments’ debut show that opened in New York over the weekend. Field Experiments is a resourceful art concept by three designers – American Benjamin Harrison Bryant (industrial designer), Karim Charlesbois-Zariffa (graphic designer/creative director) and Australian Paul Marcus Fuog (graphic designer) – who use ongoing research and development projects to explore traditional craft using designers and local craftspeople from various locations around the world.

What? First stop was Bali in Indonesia, where the boys spent June to September 2013 in a small farming village called Loditunduh on the outskirts of Ubud. They set up a home studio and collaborated together on an array of objects in stone masonary, wood-carving, batik, painting, weaving and kite-making. “The first three weeks we just spent lots of time documenting the landscape, locals crafts and street signage,” says Fuog. “There have some really ad hoc systems in Indonesia, like when there’s a pothole on the road, they just stick a wooden stake in the ground and tie some red material around it to warn people.” After weeks of observing Balinese life, the three artists began working with local makers, reassembling key cultural craft objects within this very tourist-driven community.

"Field Experiments use ongoing research and development projects to explore traditional craft using designers and local craftspeople from around the world"

Why? A very improvised style is a conscious theme through Field Experiments’ work, seen in over 50 objects such as a row of toilet plungers with colourful textiles wrapped around them, plastic and woven basket sculptures, fruit stall signs cut out of stone, wood carved donuts (that reference floaty pool tires), and kites made of plastic shopping bags. “We wanted to create these objects within their cultural context so we could make them with the locals, and also so we weren’t influenced by our own cultural signifiers back home.”

Field Experiments launched over the weekend at Sight Unseen OFFSITE to coincide with NYCxDESIGN, and runs until May 20.

Text by Caroline Clements