I am a visual artist exploring ephemerality and the technology race to the bottom of the brain stem through installation performance. Positioning myself as a post-studio and post-disciplinary artist, I generate questions and knowledges regarding what is normal, permanent, and known—and their less adored partners, the abnormal, impermanent, and not known.
The work attempts to smear the certainty of what is normal into a continuum containing both the certain and uncertain and does so while
The work is created from a series of constraints limiting contributions to wealth accumulation as a contribution to this post-capitalist period and attempts to smear the certainty of normalcy into a continuum containing both what is certain and uncertain. The work considers the the psychology of persuasion in technology and specifically, with particular attention to the affect of blue light on human evolution. Through the work I consider engrained responses to psychogeographies, the poor image and its relationship to hierarchies, and tensions created in perception by existing in a hyper real moment.
My current research is centered on how the evolution of ancestral to contemporary human cognition parallels ancient to contemporary fire technology. Ode to Fire is an offering back to the timeless and unchanging element of fire. After contemplative live campfire performances were no longer possible, I began projecting past campfires onto a delicate fabric screen while singing songs and improvised melodies for the fire. A Dutch lullaby I sang to my baby while nursing holds a special power, reminding the audience of the primal history and energy of fire.
Orang Hutan also known as Rachel Maryam Smith is a visual artist studying the transience of meaning through ephemeral installation performance. In Fall 2020, Hutan completed the Art Studio MFA at the University of California, Davis. In Fall 2018, Hutan completed the BA in Art Studio as well as History of Art and Visual Culture (with honors) from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Early in their career as a bead artist Hutan taught internationally and wrote three books on the topic as Rachel Nelson-Smith. Later, as an academic artist Hutan created and executed the Theoretical Art Science Fellowship with astrophysicists Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz and Joel Primack at the UCSC Lick Observatory Instrument Lab. Hutan integrated ephemerality and fun into a series of 13 sunset events where up to 300 participants made massive soap bubbles. Hutan received numerous grants, awards, and recognitions for proposals, exhibitions, and volunteerism at both universities. Hutan’s work has been shown in San Francisco’s Root Division and de Young Museum, as well as Fiera Abilimente in Vicenza, Italy, Fashion Institute of Technology, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Lux Center for the Arts, and Senator Scott Weiner’s office among others. Hutan’s bronze bust of American conservationist Rachel Carson is in the permanent collection of Rachel Carson College on the UCSC campus. She is currently apprentice to eco-artist Newton Harrison in Santa Cruz, California.