The Devices Project
Featuring Artists Hillerbrand+Magsamen
The Devices Project explores our relationship to everyday objects and how we use them to playfully survive and cope in a world of personal and political turmoil. From phone apps that let you talk to a million people, to robots in your home responding to your ever word, we still need to feel connected and hopeful. After experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, TX and the strong community support that arose, we began to think more about ways to prepare in cases of emergency and how this relates to our family and community.
Pulling from the literary concept of Homo Faber that human beings are able to control their fate and their environment through tools, this work examines how a family of four tinkers with and animates banal items such as plastic bags, tape, yarn, aluminum foil, and other household materials in an attempt to connect to each other and the larger world while transforming space, place, person and dwelling.
The artistic team of Hillerbrand+Magsamen is the collaboration of Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen. Together they create sculpture, installation, performance, video and photographic works they call “Suburban Fluxus”. Often including their two children, Madeleine and Emmett in their work, the family critiques and playfully scrutinizes contemporary suburban life.
Hillerbrand+Magsamen have presented their videos in international film and media festivals including Houston Cinema Arts Festival, London SciFi Film Festival, WAND V Stuttgarter Filmwinter, New York Underground Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival and MonkeyTown. Their cinematic based installations have been exhibited at the Everson Museum (Syracuse, NY), Center for Photography Woodstock (Woodstock, NY), Diffusion Photography Festival (Wales, UK) and Houston Center for Photography (Houston, TX).
They have received grants from Sustainable Arts Foundation, Austin Film Society, Experimental Television Center, Ohio Arts Council, Houston Arts Alliance and Houston Center for Photography. Their project HIGHER GROUND was a commission from the Houston Airport System and received 1st prize from juror Richard Linklater in the CineSpace program at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival.
Hillerbrand+Magsamen have participated in residency programs including: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York, NY), Experimental Television Center (Owego, NY), Elsewhere (Greensboro, NC), Santa Fe Art Institute (Santa Fe, NM). Stephan Hillerbrand is a recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships (Germany) and MacDowell Colony (Peterborough, NH) residency.