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Imaginary Things: Dream The Combine and Clayton Binkley

Seattle, United States

October 2019


Jennifer Newsom, Tom Carruthers, Clayton Binkley





Caylon Hackwith


We often utilize the languages of film and theatrical scenography – media of representation and reality – to engage with the complexities of narrative, image, space, and direct experience. Whereas some of our previous work considered a mirror’s capacity to imply a flexing depth within a flat plane, here movement across the threshold takes the audience into the space of the image itself.

The entire front façade of the gallery is masked in blue debris netting, editing the building out of our awareness. By recalling the urban blind spots of Seattle’s myriad construction sites, the blue facade is capable of a number of changing evocations. The vibrancy of its hue references cinematic chromakey composting, where one space gets mapped onto or replaced by another. (Indeed the facade is the proportion of a Cinemascope widescreen image). As an indexical form, the facade becomes an empty sign, a stand in, a secondary image, a window, a ghost.

The facade folds into the space of the gallery, creating an interwoven series of intersecting passages, supported by a latticework of steel and expanded metal mesh. With reference to Teatro Olimpico, the scenae frons of the facade reveals an inflected, perspectival, and, in this case, navigable stage set. Large, sliding glass doors permit direct entry into the work, encouraging visitors to seamlessly move from the exterior street into the building interior via a series of looping sequences.


Dream the Combine and Clayton Binkley were approached about doing an installation in MadArt gallery in Seattle, WA. The gallery aims to make art-making visible through a series of art installations produced on site by resident artists. Lure bring visitors into the space of the gallery through three main portals, which were kept open during the entirety of the installation.


The installation is both object and environment, a lure and a trap. Varying opacities of mesh fabric create a series of immersive veils, ghosting occupants in a hazy blue hue and tempering the light entering the gallery. Each path is visually elongated or foreshortened, skewing the perception of depth. This, plus the off-camber surfaces of the ramps and elasticity of the fabric underfoot leave the visitor slightly unsteady. The work gently touches the structure of the building at its skylights, merging into the existing architecture.

By inducing a heightened awareness of our bodies in relation to their environment, we hope to challenge our usual, automatic ways of moving through the world, capturing a moment of attention. The work’s looping circulatory system encourages exploration, curiosity, and a reciprocal engagement between the form and its audiences.

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