Smökers, a mobile site-specific project displayed in various locations in New York City by American artist Mark Reigelman II.
The plastic orange steam tubes placed above manholes in New York are a commonplace element within the metropolis landscape. These tubular chimneys offer some sense of spectacle and mystery, but for the most part are one more obstacle in traversing the city. American artist, Mark Reigelman II, has created a site-specific art intervention that forces spectators to reconsider the framework of a city’s infrastructure, and redress the functionality and activation of public space.
Smökers, consists of a miniature monochromatic wooden cabin, temporarily installed throughout the New York City. This cabin replaces the brightly colored plastic steam tubes that dot the New York landscape, allowing the byproduct of the city’s essential industrial process of providing power and heat to thousands of homes and businesses throughout the city, to be highlighted and subverted, all while referencing this process in the selection of using a house structure for the work. Inspired by Reigelman’s childhood fascination and familiarity with small hand-made German objects (Räuchermann), the project seeks to imbricate the purpose of steam tubes, and insert the notion of whimsy and imagined narrative to the everyday. Räuchermann, also commonly referred to as ‘smokers’, are simple wooden incense burners, often resembling cottages, animals, and chimney sweeps. The aesthetic to these common German objects references the visuality of the orange and white candy-cane striping of these plastic steam tubes. But more importantly, both objects have identical functionality and usage - to channel and release smoke, compounding the nuance of the work.
This project was supported by a Windgate Fellowship Award administered by The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. Installation team consists of Alex Nance, Malachy Silva and Scott Parent.