I make social and mechanical systems. I also make art. Sometimes I make jokes. Occasionally, I manage to do all six things at the same time. If I'm lucky, I figure out what those other two things were. 

[Note: If not apparent, this is an old website that doesn't have my new work. Though I haven't added work here since 2014, my CV and statement (if you can find it) are up to date. If you would like to see what I've been up to lately, you can view tiny snippets out of context here: instagram.com/michaelberens. If you would like to see my work in my preferred format: in real life, I would love to hear from you. Let's grab a coffee or something; I'll bring my laptop.]   

The Hammocanopy Project  
  20’x 20’x 10’
Polyester felt, rope, wood, steel, steam, and relaxation

While working in a public space, I asked people to participate in the making of a large-scale sculpture simply by relaxing in a hammock.

These sleeping and motionless collaborators became producers as their cast forms are reproduced and assembled into a larger, singular form.

This turned the assumption that productivity is based on active production, literally, upside down.

In this project, it is the very lack of work by my subjects that creates a form for others to leisurely enjoy.

Dialogue Embossed Water Drawing Project 
Vellum, Ink, and Lighting Element


For this project, I invite friends to draw with me using a water-filled brush on a natural vellum paper.

Our marks are initially invisible. As the water dries, an embossed network of lines appears.

The completed drawing was photographed and digitally printed back onto the same kind of paper. 

The print is then re-embossed by the same water and brush technique. 


By retracing the process, I can reconnect to the past in a direct, 
and tangible way that extends beyond the limits of viewing a past moment through an image.


In the DEWD Project, the illusion of space and time in a photograph is translated with time back into its original form of space, enabling a physical dialogue with the past to take place.

20’ x 20’x 60’ 
Mixed media, pre-existing signage, participation, video and photo documentation.

While at Sculpture Space Artist Residency I created an installation that played with the limits of documenting sculpture and participation.

Their activity was recorded with several cameras, from angles that collapsed the space and dissolved the details of their setting.

The resulting document is designed to describe the space by the participants’ actions, the sign’s text and the text that you are now reading. 

Here are two excerpts: 

one less:

and one more:

Space Less was made at Sculpture Space in Utica, NY. 

Art Moving Art Project - AMAP (in progress)   

Wood, acrylic, mixed media drawings


For AMAP (in progress) I created a case of drawings, then invited visitors to touch and handle the drawings. If they like one, I offer it to them.

In exchange, I only ask to take a photo of them holding the drawing they selected which I can use in the future and that we keep in contact.

Some people are uneasy with this proposition and insist that we make a monetary exchange of some sort. I try to be as accommodating as possible; if paying for it makes them comfortable I let them, and if they seem like they want me to talk them into accepting it as a gift, I do that. Whatever the situation, the primary objective of the project is to move art. 

The Eleventh Hour Volunteer Assistance Project  (EHVAP)


For EHVAP Project, I gave out cards listing a website where people could apply for assistance, specifically individuals who are fast approaching a deadline or the completion of a project and would benefit from at least two hours of my free labor during crunch time. 

If you need free help, please apply by going to the EHVAP site.

Subpages (1): Spaceless