Bill Talsma


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My sculptural objects, installations, images, time-based works and performances elevate the mundane operations of social behavior and public/private life to states seemingly worthy of recognition and significance while simultaneously depreciating these positions through humor, reverie, subtle adjustment and outright fabrication. I’m interested in combin­ing trivial things with things remarkable and the resulting objects, ephemera and situations that can be cultivated from such amalgamations. I often explore concepts such as impossibility, collective memory and unbelievable American caucasian-ness—the sort filled with the false hope and joy of the suburbs and transcendent consumerism (plus the promise of low humidity and backyard barbeques). I’m curious about the conflicting safeties and dangers of the banal and the normal. Finding ways to play with the many, varied meanings and shifting permutations of our constructed social systems inherent in these conflicting arenas is a vital part of my work.

Collaboration has always been a central prevailing component of my work as well. I’ve worked with as many as a hundred individuals (artists and non-artists alike) to create my work and as few as a few, or just me—but I am more attracted to what others have to collectively contribute as opposed to just working by myself in solitude. It’s just more interesting that way. Not so normal.

Yesterday at 2:19pm

Drawing from the popular cultures of award recognition programs and social media, I chose to present exquisite, professionally manufactured recognition accolades that can simultaneously elevate and deprecate the experiences of online social behavior (communication) and material award (appreciation). By promoting the mundane to an award-level, these objects are perhaps cheapened, so as to heighten the banal (sometimes automated/sometimes personal) vernacular of the social media experience.

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Talsma is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates sculptural objects, installations, images, time-based works and per­formances. He was a core member of the internationally recognized art-making collective Lucky Pierre in the 2000’s, with whom he col­laboratively created large-scale durational performances that often incorporated hundreds of volunteer performers. By day Bill works as an interactive designer and crafts websites, mobile apps and interactive safety-training programs. On his own and with Lucky Pierre, Bill’s artwork has been shown and performed in Chicago, Leipzig, Portland, Kansas City, Hull, Minneapolis, Rome, Palo Alto, Graz, Frankfurt, Rakvere, New York, Fribourg and Zagreb.


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