Seth Kinmont, Vehicle
Curated by Elizabeth A. Brown

During his residency and exhibition at Open Satellite, New York based artist Seth Kinmont will be in continuous production of three wooden electric cars. The vehicles – a three-seat urban touring coach, an all-terrain vehicle, and a two-person coup – are the result of the artist's pragmatic approach to the need for a vehicle: Kinmont reviewed his material and fabrication options, the tools and objects most readily available, and he undertook to produce what he could build, with his own two hands and with the help of such collaborators as a high school metal shop student and an Amish wheel-maker. His electric vehicle designs feature metal chasses and drive mechanisms, but are also equipped with hand-worked wooden frames, components of historical buggy models, and design flourishes that absurdly decrease the drivability of the vehicles.

The vehicles exhibited in Vehicle are only one aspect of Kinmont's ongoing development and promotion of a concept central to his practice: a self-devised investment algorithm. In the mid '90s, the artist – a California native – was eyewitness to the height of the dot-com bubble and the hand-over-fist financial success of companies and individuals investing in IT startups. By rationally and systematically studying investment returns and trends, Kinmont hit on a system of investment that he effectively put in motion with his own capital.

To share his process and to create functional, observable analogues, Kinmont has produced five artist editions, or "kits," the most literal of which is a stock trading package that includes investment guidelines, in the form of ruler and an assortment of tools for calculation and bookkeeping. Other kits illustrate or evoke changes of states of being, which the artist sees as corresponding to market functions. These include a still for distilling wine – over the course of meal – into eau-de-vie and a set of expository fireworks meant to be shot off, pressed flat, and framed.

With Vehicle, Kinmont introduces the American automobile, the allure and history of independence and travel, to his investment project. And by evoking early buggy styles, the artist combines the United States' European heritage with Manifest Destiny, innovation, and the open road.


Exhibition Dates
May 20 – July 1, 2009

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Opening Event
Wednesday, May 20, 6-9 PM

Artist Lecture
Thursday, May 28, 7 PM
Henry Art Gallery Auditorium, members free / $5 general

Press Release [ 29kb, PDF ]

Supported in part
through an award from:

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Photography credits: Eduardo Calderón