Critical mass art installation at TEDxSanDiego

Photo by Sean Dreilinger, durak.org. Photo available from TEDxSanDiego under a Creative Commons license.

When you work on an event like TEDxSanDiego, there are a lot of moving pieces and parts. As a member of the Program team, I was focused on getting my speakers ready and not much else. So when I walked into the venue at 7:30 that morning and saw this incredible installation by artists Miya Hannon and Jenny Yoshida Park, I was stunned. My first thought was, “Oh my gosh, someone made all these? How many are there? Surely there isn’t one for everyone?” The answers were: Yes. More than 700. Yes.

Here is the text from the card that was produced for the event:
Seen together, the figures in “Critical Mass” become a miniature audience. These 625 figures represent each person attending, speaking, or working at TEDxSanDiego 2012. Each figure was sculpted out of clay, textured, stamped with words, and glazed by the hands of many people, making each one completely unique.

Critical mass art installation at TEDxSanDiego

Photo by Sean Dreilinger, durak.org. Photo available from TEDxSanDiego under a Creative Commons license.

When taken individually, the figures represent each person’s role as an agent of change. Each figure holds a small book with questions for the attendees to go out into the world and ask themselves and others in order to begin to create change in the world, both small and large. Critical Mass Booklet

The installation of the figures is incomplete until each attendee brings a figure home with them at the end of the day, and uses it as a starting point to share the day’s messages with their community.TEDx figurine from Critical Mass

My friend Tom is a high school art teacher and this installation reminds me of the power of art to make a difference in people’s lives. Thanks to Miya, Jenny, and all the artists and volunteers who created this artwork, and for the unknown people who made my little guy. I will treasure him always.

Miya has a show opening this Saturday in La Jolla,
“Layers & Missing Links,”
March 2-April 6, 2013
Opening Saturday, March 2nd, 5-8 PM
R. B. Stevenson Gallery
7661 Girard Avenue, Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

The artists would like to thank Jim Wilsterman and the Grossmont College Art Department’s Sculpture Program and the University of San Diego Art Department for giving them access to their facilities. Special thanks to Al Ventura and Tom Fox for their help and expertise in operating the kiln. Their gratitude goes out to all who assisted in creating more than 700 clay figures: students from the 3-D Design and Sculpture classes and work study students from Grossmont College Art Department, members of the Women’s Caucus for Art, and their friends and husbands.