These quirky projects have a little something that I find compelling but are not yet working for me as works. 


Artist Residency within an Artist Residency
service rendered, documentation, web page

I invited friends and acquaintances to participate in an “Artist Residency within an Artist Residency.” Artists who accepted were allowed to use my studio in the Sculpture Space Project Room for their work, for up to three days. 

I shared my living accommodations, provided a daily stipend equal to my own, and paid for part of travel costs. In return, I asked the artists to allow me to document their work process, and that they list the residency on their resume as Michael Berens’ Artist Residency.

That About Covers It Today -TACIT 
31” x 23" 
photograph printed with inkjet on vellum.

Seeing an object in real space together gives viewers a shared tacit understanding that an image remotely viewed can not.

For this project, I covered friends' artwork(s) with a sheet of tracing paper and photographed it, then printed that image on the original paper at actual size.

The result, the printed paper, is both image and object, existing partly in real space (as paper and ink) and partly as a record of the past (as image).*

*Please note that the pictures and text on this site can not generate any tacit understanding between us. Unless of course we are both looking the same screen, at the same time, in the same space.

Half Open Studio
Labor and documentation.

For an Open Studio event, I split my studio down the middle with a large piece of tracing paper.

Visitors were permitted to enter into the half of the workshop that I cleaned up for display.

This vantage point provided a view through the paper of me working while obscuring the byproducts of my labor on the closed, messy half of my studio.  


Isometric cube cut from three pieces of tracing paper and placed onto one sheet of paper folded, so its edges are parallel to the picture frame. 

Later, I discovered that the cube shape serendipitously fit paving stones in my neighborhood perfectly. 

While the size of my cube seemed to be cut at the default setting. My camera's white balance setting had no such luck.

Camera Obscura'd Project 
work in progress

I have been working on this project on and off for the past two years.


I still have no clear idea where the project is going.

I initially wanted to touch upon my relationship to the photographic images display and broadcast. 

Over the years, I have modified and refined the apparatus.

It is essentially a camera obscura large enough to accommodate a person.

There is a digital camera mounted inside that is connected to a small video display outside.

 While inside a lens projects an image of what is outside onto a sheet of tracing paper that you must position by hand to focus.

The digital camera captures the person inside touching the obscura's real-time analog projection. 

Over the course of this project when I have not been physically building the apparatus or shooting with it, the whole enterprise has often felt like a creative black hole. I have interacted with many people with this tool, amassing close to a thousand photos and many hours of video footage. I have spent countless hours looking at these images: searching for a resonant thread to string all of this documentation together. There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, but it is becoming apparent that I'd rather stay in the dark and feel my way around, as I prefer to negotiate my creative practice in tangible way. Perhaps this is the theme that I have been looking for: That is, my relationship to photography as a viewer is fixed and limited, but everything feels okay when I'm in the process: creating for them, with them and as I write these words from them. 

Camera Obscured Reflection


Punching Bag/Surrender Flag

I built a structure for a punching bag, that when hit, waved a white flag. Above is the only surviving photo of the structure intact. 

Ironically, before I could accurately document the structure in action, which I was hoping to capture in video, it collapsed. 

This rendered the metaphor more real than I was initially comfortable with. I tried to rebuild, but it was beyond repair. I went so far as to stage several close-ups video shots of my fist punching the bag, framed so that you could not see it was already destroyed. None of my reenactments hid the destruction. Eventually, I stopped fighting the circumstances and gave into the fact that this particular structure of surrender lacked the integrity to roll (or wave) with the punches 


Form and Shadow 

Working alone in the studio, when I saw this shadow out of the corner of my eye, it startled me. It continued to do so throughout the night. 

That is until I posed for a picture with it, pretending to be friends. After that, the rest of my night went smoothly. 

Exposure: inside and out
(over time)

I ran around in front of one camera while holding another camera inside a five-gallon bucket. The shutters on both cameras were open for one minute. The images were illuminated by the bucket camera's LED screen and flash.

Later, I decided to connect two buckets together, enclosing my head in the white space and walk around blindly while flash photographing myself inside the buckets. I was thinking about how two perspectives could be mapped simultaneously in time and space. But mostly I wasn't thinking very much, just playing and having fun.

This is the image I captured from the inside the bucket. 

Random outtakes from various projects:


Context Vortex


(more) Spaceless Sculpture Space 

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