Critical Trilogy: Kundalini’s Daughter

a critic's millennial journey

Dianne Bowen’s “The Web”

“Wire Tap”, site specific installation, “The Web” (reconstruction- physical study II above) by Dianne Bowen and Heins Kim, at Culturefix Gallery Clinton Street, NYC. Materials List; 1,000 feet Ethernet cable and stripped casing, 200 feet thin copper wire, steel small nails, shadows

Dianne Bowen is unclassifiable as an artist and a person.  She transcends all categories and therefore, it was fitting that her latest installation was titled, quite simply for a complex collaborative (with Heins Kim) performance sculpture work, The Web, at Culturefix Gallery on Clinton Street.  Mapping a topography deeper into the original Five Points of Manhattan, her  new study utilizes the sacred geometry of the pentagram as an ongoing genesis of her 2008 Wire Tap installation, below.

Dianne Bowen & Heins Kim, "Wire Tap", site-specific installation (physical study I) studios Rivington Street NYC . Materials List; 2,500 steel dress pins, 200 feet heavy gauge copper phone wire, 150 feet steel elevator cable, 5 canvas panels, roughly 4,000 feet of varied data and thin phone wire, astro turf, rock, 3 ipods and mini speakers, downloaded sounds, found cassette tape, 200 used guitar wires donated from various musicians, tape, hot glue, 4 light ropes, 3 packages of ceramic capacitors and shadows.

Although the genesis of the work took place before we met in 2008, the rich meaning of The Web, from its red spiral to the five points of contact  is integral to the purpose of this blog. Though I haven’t yet made a fully conscious interpretation of a work that has such a profound unconscious impact on my critical journey, I expect it will come in time.   For now, I refer to the artist’s statement:

“Wire Tap” examines the lines of communication and infinite conversations through which information bounces faster than the speed of light within a border less global community. The work explores the process of this conversation decoding, translating what and how we listen to these audible and inaudible sounds. Information is concealed or revealed by discretion mending and repairing itself disguised as stealth.  An envelopment of wires as metaphor to close or create connection to multiple and diverse dialogue between existing decay and the fabricated Utopia that attempts to coexist.” Creating the work to encompass the entire 200 square foot area, the central web connected to the original decaying wiring and walls and ascended two stories upward on the fire escape.


“Original Studies” photograph series documenting the 2008 installation of “Wire Tap” on Rivington Street

The fragile lines of the wires and shadows cast spread through the environment as salacious covert connections crawling out from the structure originating from 5 points within the space.

Eventually the casing is stripped and the wires are woven into a web that connects to each of the four walls.


Beginning from the ceiling, the red cased wires nested in a nitch in the skylight.

The Casing cascades down the wall...

...into a pile on the floor referencing an organic circulatory system in the process of a hidden virus enveloping the space.

The web as metaphor found in both nature and technology as a structural system of order appears to degrade and unravel. Removing the work from the space by delicately snipping each of the four connecting lines with tiny sewing scissors the viewer is now witness to it’s death.

Covering the walls in cotton duck canvas, in a skin like reference it was cut and sewn as if a surgical wound in varied states of healing. Hidden beneath, the original decaying walls, wires and a barred bricked up window; phone wires are delicately pulled apart and pinned back together. Salaciously crawling along the walls they peep out from the incisions and seams behind the stretched canvas. The process alludes to ease dropping a covert action to obtain information. Multi color phone and data wires wind through a grid made from alternating black and red thin phone wires that become the central web . Sections of wire are burned and spliced exposing the copper cores. Used guitar wires wrap, dangle and connect wire to wire. Pristine green astro turf covers the floor, a man made fantasy of growth. Found cassette tape threaded through wires lightly moves as you pass. A conversation no longer available discarded and unwanted.

The hand woven central web holds the work together; each line connected every other in the piece. A series of downloaded conversations and sounds are heard from 3 points in the work through mini speakers connected to hidden ipods. These mini speakers dangle in the air at a heights just low enough to make the viewer bend in to hear. The sound level is barely audible until you put the speaker to your ear. The Central web holds one speaker embedded in its center.

The recordings are seals defending their territory, whales, and a prank call from a comedian telling a women she will not be getting her social security check. The intricate patterns of wires with live sound flowing through them give life to the work. It literally speaks to the viewer privately through these devices as the public at large can barely hear.

On first glance the work is almost invisible. Closer examination reveals highly detailed and complicated spaces and lines of connection throughout the space-canopied overhead. Light ropes behind the work begin to show through as day turns to night. Evolving over the course of each day, cast shadows offering another layer of hidden lines. Weather conditions begin to age the canvas and rust exposed wires, the ipods are disconnected, and the viewer once active participant is now witness to its process of death.

In a world on information overload and constant virtual connection with little or no barrier what and how we hear becomes one of the most important questions in our time.

“Can You Hear Me? I am here”

Pyramid at the Heart of the Pentagram in a close up of "Wire Tap" by Dianne Bowen and Heins Kim"Wire Tap" by Dianne Bowen and Heins Kim

Dianne Bowen

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Dianne Bowen is a multi-media artist living and working in the East Village, NY for over 18 years. She studied at the School of Visual Arts, NY, independent research in Estonia, Ireland, Finland and the United States 2000-2004 and completed a residency at Byrdcliffe in Woodstock, NY in 2008. Her work is shown both nationally and internationally as well as reviewed in publications in print, on-line, live radio interview and a documentary on 10 artists in their studio “Art in Dialogue” screened at the Museum for New Art Parnu, Estonia in 2006. Bowen’s work was also featured in Art in America, June/July 2007 “Girls, girls, girls” by Carey Lovelace pg. 90. and ARTslant NY 2010, “On the Edge at Fountain” by Natalie Hegert Pick of the month for March. A book on her work “Back to the Beginning And Begin Again..” with foreword by Peter Duhon Jr. was released September 30, 2010.

Heins Kim

Heins Kim was born and raised in Southern California to Korean-immigrant parents from Germany. He works in painting, sculpture, and installation.  Kim has shown and has curated shows in Los Angeles and New York, and included in a group show at The Pelham Art Center in Pelham, New York in which his work was published by “The New York Times”


November 16, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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