FLOW.14: Kant Smith
The Project: Ghost House
Smith’s Ghost House will sit on a bluff overlooking the Wards Meadow Fields at Randall’s Island Park. Constructed entirely of chain link fence, the sculpture will translate the vernacular of the baseball backstop into an ethereal and slightly surreal contemplation of the American home. Visually Ghost House will function as a gigantic drawing of a house in three dimensions. A pitched roof will sit atop exterior walls punctuated by openings suggesting windows and doors. Materially, the structure will simply demarcate a space to be used as visitors wish: for ball games, play, contemplation, or even live performance. The diaphanous sculpture will blend into the park landscape, easily mistaken for existing infrastructure. The name “Ghost House” is a gesture to architect Philip Johnson’s structure of the same title in New Canaan. However, Smith’s Ghost House will more urgently recall the psychiatric institutions, reform schools, and cemeteries once present on Randall’s Island. Quietly, the piece will evoke questions of public versus private space and debates over institutionalized practices of confinement.
The Artist: Kant Smith
Kant Smith’s work explores sublimated brutality in the cultural imagination through a re-contextualization of media and objects. A central concern of the work is the schism between the horrific mayhem of warfare and the corresponding narratives—of victimization, mastery, and retribution—circulated by cinema and virtual reality. Through various formal strategies, including appropriated documents, manipulated video, fabricated sculpture, and self-illuminated paintings, Smith examines the language of virtual and symbolic violence. By creating an absurd rupture in this continuum, his work pries at the intricate barbarity of American media. He studied at the Cooper Union (BFA, 2006).