Barbara Staib, architect and installation artist, is based in Zurich and New York. Her main foci are architectonic spaces, a person’s movement through them, and how these movements can transform, distort and manipulate his/her observations. Beside that a major influence on her work has been the use of light and the resulting contraction and expansion of space and mind. During the last few years, she has been exploring the various fields of spatial and visual communication and created in her installations dreamlike realities.
I’ve met Barbara through a friend, Iris Brosch, this year. For me her work is very interesting and inspiring …Barbara, what interests you most in art and in architecture?In general it’s to connect with people and to communicate through art/architecture. It’s about the process of creating and communication.
In architecture my aim is to investigate and create site-specific spacial prototypes in relation to the individual people’s bodies and their perception. Art is for me equal to my way of living, to be present, free curious, a daily self-renewal, the requests upon myself. To make art is like a teacher and it’s my way of connecting and communicating with people and environment – it can take any form. I look at things and are affected by things in terms of placement, light, color etc. live it.
Being an artist and an entrepreneur, what are the greatest challenges between the two souls in one heart?For me it’s to bring the essential together with the necessitate/obligate. To stay focused and keep the strong unity of the essence and be true to myself.What keeps you going as an artist, as an entrepreneur?My senses – curiosity – life itself – communication in different ways. Your recent work Zurich | Paris was a virtual and real exhibition. What makes the difference between virtual and real? Are the two worlds overlapping, growing together, building something new?The exhibition is about two similar but different areas in Zurich 4 and Paris 18, it was about the point of view. In this sense the artists/scientists/ historians, … did actually spend physical time in the partner city and documented their observation. in a second step the “products” were presented in an exhibition space in Zurich, a gallery in Paris and on www.zurich4paris18.com.
Showing the results of the residences in a physical exhibition is already a mix of concept space and virtual reality it depends always on the observer in relation to time. It’s a virtual representation of real world things, and real world representation of virtual things.
Wether something is real or virtual it’s a relative term. “Is it more virtual to visit an exhibition on site or to sit on the computer moving and clicking the mouse to navigate trough a website?”
The different presentations of the zurichparis exhibition defiantly overlap – grow together and and open up something new but also can stand just for themselves individually.
With this exhibitions I was most interested in the structural level concept-type interaction. How does one move and navigate trough space, how to make choices, to provide a structure that the visitor becomes aware by his own way of navigation and observation.
(( 1. on site Paris 18 Goute d’Or, 8.30pm, 3.6.2006 the result can be a transformation of my observation in form of an artwork (“under construction”, video sequence, paris 2007 and “timeline”, photo print, zurich 2006)
2. the exhibition how do I present the different works in the gallery environment, how do I put them in adequate context to each other, signaletic,… ))
So in this way it’s the same topic/content but created with different tools in different realities. In the end it’s about the visitors focus andd interaction how does each individual move trough space, makes his choices.
You are living in Zurich and New York. What are the differences?
What has NYC what Zurich doesn’t have and the other way round?light – reflection – communication of people – the dynamic of the city – culture diversity – city structure
In New York I find the stories and surprises in the streets the everyday revelations, the grabbed-on-the-run wisdom, the strange, random, miraculous stuff that make up my individual career – or maybe just another life in the big city. In Zurich it’s somewhat more hidden behind a perfect organized system.
New York is constantly recreated by the people and their interaction. Everybody can be a part of an active recreation and new definition it happens constantly in the streets, subway,… just in every-days life I find myself and redefine myself.
In Zurich people interact more in private predefined places inside, within protected safe structures and it takes longer until trends manifistate on the surface, everything seams more or less under control and very carefully thought through.
Everything is on a more or less equally high standard were in NY first and 3rd world go hand in hand and there for creates also a different tension on a different level. Even the richest people in NY are surrounded by 3rd world aspects / structures and hardly can avoid them.
Last but not least New York has most of the time an absolute steel blue sky, very clear bright colors with a fresh breeze of the ocean in contrast to the rainy often overcasted Zurich with the impression of a metallic landscape.