About the project…

April 15th, 2010

Unlocking is a two-part site specific installation conceived for
SMoCA in Scottsdale, AZ by the artist /architect team of Jean Shin
and Brian Ripel.  In their research of the city and surrounding
environs, Shin and Ripel discovered a striking visual relationship
between the rocky horizons of the Arizona landscape, and the
notches and ridges cut into the edges of traditional brass keys.

The first part of the installation Lost Vista, is comprised of a
dense collection of obsolete keys, stacked sideways to upwardly
reveal their cut edges.  The various ridges and valleys formed by
these edges articulate a surface suggestive of a natural landform. 
This ‘landscape model’ contains nearly eight thousand keys
collected from individuals and over two tons of faulty ones from
local key cutting businesses.  The material is transformed into a
topography that references the surrounding mountains. A three
channel video allows room-sized magnifications of the keys to be
projected onto the gallery wall.

The second component of the project, titled Key Chain explores
linkages between an invited group of individuals as determined by
their shared keys.  The piece takes the form of a large-scale wall
drawing featuring the traced serrated contours of individual keys. 
The resulting lines become a linear landscape of subtle ridges and
valleys.  Each participant first has the keys on their key ring traced,
and then were asked to invite someone who shares a key with them
to join the project.  The shared key forms a link between one individual
and the next in an ever-growing horizon line of connections.  Starting
with Shin’s and Ripel’s own keys, connections were first made to the
museum community, and then beyond.

Shin and Ripel’s Lost Vista maps memory by recalling places from
one’s past that have either been rendered inaccessible, or even
forgotten.  At the same time, the drawing, Key Chain reveals the
private and professional relationships of access through which we
are connected.  In both cases, the object of the key literally and
metaphorically opens up a vast territory of spaces. 

For more information about Jean Shin, click here

Brian Ripel is the principal and founder of RSVP Architecture Studio