FLOW.13: Eto Otitigbe
The Project: Looping Back
Otitigbe’s Looping Back will represent the shape of jazz and the aesthetics of improvisation, as inspired by the Carnival of Swing held on Randall’s Island Park in 1938. This event brought together jazz legends such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington to celebrate and honor the music of composer George Gershwin. The event’s archival footage shows a crowd of over 20,000 jazz lovers from many different ethnic backgrounds, a rare occurrence for that time in American history. It is a testament to the power of music and its ability to bring people together. Looping Back is proposed as an undulating toroidal form, 20’ in diameter, made from reclaimed poplar bark shingles. Its circular shape will encourage people to walk around it, pass through it, or sit on it. Otitigbe aims to create a space where a variety of activities can take place – including meditation, reading, listening to music and socializing.
The Artist: Eto Otitigbe
Eto Otitigbe is polymedia artist whose practice includes sculpture, performance, and installation to investigate issues of race, technology, politics, and human interaction.
His work is charged with current political subject matter such as the over-engineering of society’s basic needs like food and water. Otitigbe’s art can be experienced as type of a creative protest, a cultural artifact, or a radical sculptural environment.
Otitigbe places his art in dialogue with itself by extracting still images from videos and turning them into digital prints; or transforming two-dimensional graphics into sculptural reliefs.
Eto Otitigbe was born in the northern corner of New York State to parents from Nigeria’s Delta Region. He has lived across the United States, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. He operates like an open system in constant flux negotiating between the various polar regions of his identity: Nigerian-Artist-American-Engineer-DJ-Designer, to name a few.
Otitigbe studied Mechanical Engineering at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts (BS, 1999) and Stanford University, Palo Alto, California (MS, 2003). He earned an MFA in Creative Practice from the Transart Institute (2012). In 2013 he participated in the Bronx Museum’s AIM Residency program and biennial. Otitigbe lives and works between Austin, Texas and Brooklyn, New York.