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Curatorial Statement

This collection of work constructs tangible and visible expressions, which dissect the use of material forms in public space. Water, brands, soda, and social structures can be a means for individual or social personification. These forms mediate concepts of corporate identity and its correlation with recreation and refreshment as well as the structures in which towne and club are defined.

Water is a sign of civilization, health, recreation and nature. The municipal cycles of water and purification inform civilization and pleasurable activities. Water flows through the regatta just as it flows through filters in the water purification plant. Recreational uses of water mediate social gathering around common interests. The original implementation of the Towne Club logo on the hydroplanes was used as a marketing campaign to activate their logo branding in a public space. The activity of the regatta encourages civic fun over consumption. Flowing in the river, on the roof, through the water plant, and down the hill, water moves in its natural and municipal cycles.

The physical implementation of brands, icons, and logos invade our public spaces. Consumption and commerce are a substitution for civic engagement; we affiliate through what we buy. Individual action against branding in public space can be taken in the form of the futile efforts embodied by the text on the roof. Companies develop identities that are defined by logos that saturate our public space. The nostalgic Towne Club logo references the feeling of a refreshing past. Words related to the meanings of towne and club can be manipulated and reformed into demarcation of public and private space. Words conglomerated play with concepts of cultural, human, and municipal ideas.

The enjoyment of brand name soda has become a symbol for a moment of respite and nostalgia; the rituals of drinking soda establish ideas of delight and gratification. Rebottling soft drinks in branded bottles puts the control of production into the hands of the consumer. The product and bottle can then act as items that blend together public and private space, while providing the same idyllic refreshment and enjoyment. Production and the subsequent distribution encourage sharing and hospitality between producer and consumer. Engaging in such an exchange of beverages one inquires about the processing of water, issues of health, cleanliness, and the marketable appearance of an object.

Social systems and organization are formed and regulated with definitions of towne and club. A town is a densely populated area, larger than a village and smaller than a city. A club is an association of people with common interests who pursue activities of their organization. Rules, interests, and architectural structures set their regulations.

Experimentations and interactions with imagery, culture, and consumption teach us to make inquiries into where the boundaries between towne and club lie. These investigations work on the scale of experience to dissect the nature of our interactions with the public and private.

-Becky Siegwart

"Now and again the bicyclist pauses along Main Street and buys an ice-cold Coca-Cola. How many other products endure essentially unchanged from the late 1880's? The explorer who sits on a wood-and-cast-iron bench and sips a Coca-Cola glances down at the can shimmering with condensation and ponders the issue, and ponders too the name of the soft drink Coca-Cola Classic. What is classic now in the whole built environment, now at the turn of the millenium? The light that reflects from the moist can is not the light that danced eight decades ago from the ribbed, green glass bottle, but somehow it illuminates the longevity of some things in a time of newness triumphant. Someone, the explorer realizes, sat on the bench and watched the facade of modernism, of the International Style, ripped from the storefronts of the late 1960's. Is the taste of Coca-Cola the taste of momentary respite from activity, the taste that makes explorers realize the need for a break, for a time to think about exploring?"

-John Stilgoe, Outside Lies Magic,
Pg. 137