Art project links Tempe with communities around world
As a verb, “tie” can mean to physically fasten or attach, or to establish in relationship. As a noun, it refers to something that serves as a connecting link.
On Sunday, April 6, the word tie will be spelled on the streets of Tempe and several other cities around the world. “The goal is to get people out in the streets ‘tie-ing’ together, to make friends, to interact with the community, to talk, walk, observe and play,” says Arizona State University alumnus Eric Scott Nelson, who originated the project.
Participants will use string, ribbon, rope, clothing and other materials they choose to spell “tie” in an area adjacent to the western edge of ASU’s Tempe campus. The area is bounded by Mill and Ash Avenues to the east and west, and by University Drive and 13th Street to the north and south.
The event begins at 3:00 p.m. on April 6, with the resulting work on display through April 12. Members of the public are invited to watch, and help in, the assembly process.
Other participating cities are Providence, R.I.; Baltimore; Denver; Augusta, Ga.; Portland, Ore.; Taipei, Taiwan; and Seoul, South Korea.
“We’re working to recruit people in additional cities who are interested in making new ties and making old ties stronger,” says Nelson, who received his B.A. in interdisciplinary arts and performance from ASU’s West campus in 2007.
Nelson, a Valley native who currently lives and works in Seoul, originally submitted the “tie” project as a proposal to an April 6 art festival in Baltimore. A friend of his subsequently moved to Baltimore and is now the point person to “tie” that city. Nelson decided he wanted to “tie” Seoul on the same day and to get other cities involved.
“I sent out hundreds of emails and reconnected with old friends, some for the first time in years,” Nelson says. “Friends of mine are now tied together with other friends. Also, complete strangers contacted me about the project.”
Nelson has established a “tie” web site: http://www.makegroup.org/ericscottnelson/tie.htm. It shows maps of how “tie” will be spelled in each city. Later the site will display documentation of the project, including photos and video.
What are Nelson’s expectations for the project? “I really don’t know what to expect, because everyone is free to do as they please,” he says. “After all, it is just as much their project as it is mine. But I do think that all of the tied things will be so beautiful.”
ASU’s bachelor’s degree program in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance (IAP), from which Nelson graduated, is the only one of its kind in the Southwest. The program, in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, incorporates a variety of media in the arts world. Majors take course work in digital media arts, music and electronic sound art, performance studies, theater/performance arts, digital graphics, and more traditional visual arts.
“We are proud to have one of our graduates spearheading this creative project that encourages a spirit of cooperation and artistic expression literally around the world,” says Robert Taylor, IAP director of entrepreneurial initiatives.
For more information about the IAP program, located on ASU’s West campus, visit http://newcollege.asu.edu/programs/interdisciplinary_arts_performance/index.shtml.