June 9, 2011

Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels
Serra is an installation artist and maker-doer based in Brooklyn. Ideally she would like to be a surgeon and a master gardener and run a revolutionary educational system, while also researching something completely obscure in a country most forgot existed and voraciously collecting dying artisan techniques while constructing an idealized ruinous city out of old rusty things and lace. Given that no one will let her close to them with a scalpel and she makes plants die, thus far she has been sticking to making things. Born in the valley of the Appalachians in Tennessee, SVBF studied social psychology at Stanford University and researched how socially constructed situations both cause and resolve mass conflict, learned metalsmithing and traditional blacksmithing at the Appalachian Center for Craft, and studied sculpture at Columbia University.

Her work investigates the intersection of social psychology and environmental design and the tension between the psychological construction of home and the corrosion of permanent human structures. Working with decaying, abandoned, history-imbued materials, she currently makes awkwardly shaped houses in surprising locations like the third-floor hallway of a former convent, or an overlooked alleyway. She is a core member of the collective Rabid Hands.

* photos shown here are from Serra’s installation at St. Cecilia’s Convent in Brooklyn, NY, taken by Tod Seelie.

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