15,000 buttons. One artist. Memories, experiences, thoughts, conversations.
In her installation Connections With Strangers Mackenzie Pikaart created an interactive art event like none I've seen. Over many months she chose thousands of images, formed them into buttons and then hung them in long strands that covered every millimeter of wall space at Paradigm Gallery. Guests were invited to purchase buttons of their choice, and in that selection process became part of the art.
As we searched, pointed, shared, climbed ladders and knelt low, we did indeed connect with the strangers around us and the friends beside us. Later we walked home with art in our pockets or on our lapels, bringing the concept and conversations into new dimensions and spaces.
Afterward, what struck me most was how, by some kind of mystical magnetism, images would reach out from that dense field and grab your eye. A colleague's name, a favorite vacation spot, a charming phrase, a swarthy pirate, a glamorous movie star, two flamingos in love.
A reminder that in art, and in life, often what we see is what we want to see.
Installation by Mackenzie Pikaart. Photos by Doreen Creede.
"Use the good china for breakfast."