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Artist ID: 2353

While my normal practice is as a fine craftsperson/designer/woodworker, I'm currently working on a series that falls more into the category of fine art. I began working on this series, the "Hybrid Relics," in Spring 2021 while in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center here in New Orleans. It is something like a "science fiction" of constructed, already "curated" artifacts with a mysterious provenance: it is not entirely clear whether these pieces are art that pretends to be historical or real historical artifacts from a previously unknown culture or perhaps artifacts representing a future post-apocalyptic culture. But they are clearly hybrids of natural forms and technologies (at least of a sort) that seem to be responding to a crisis of one form or another, as in the work "Dead Canary Finder." In many ways, these works are a rather bizarre extension of my normal practice which blends natural materials like wood with technology that is actually functional: turntables, lighting, and other audio and AV equipment.
While I think the sculptures submitted here can stand on their own, I hope to frame them through other forms of "curation" like the completely manufactured (draft) explanatory text that begins with the following paragraphs:

"The discovery of the Hybrid Relics is something of a milestone in archaeology and related fields. Myths and rumors of the Hybrid Culture, long without substantiation, now have tangible form. And while no evidence yet exists to prove that this culture exists (or existed) beyond the level of its mythologies (which are themselves of mysterious origination), the Relics are, at minimum, the first objects verifiably linked to this culture/myth.

The majority of the Hybrid Relics appear to have ceremonial functions, either religious or quasi-religious, perhaps expressing a veneration of wood and/or other materials used in their construction. These material themes appear to be central to the myths or recollection of climate catastrophe or perhaps a dystopian forecast of natural decline, wherein hybridization itself seems to be a strategy of cultural defense..."

Artist Bio - Joel Scilley

Born and raised in Florida, Joel studied art, architecture, and design in New York and Europe before earning a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies.  As part of these studies, he interned in carpentry, architecture, and urban planning.

Joel defected from academia in 1997 to return to designing and making things as a renovation carpenter in the California Bay Area.  Over time, his carpentry shifted towards fine woodworking, and he made his first audio turntable, and founded his company Audiowood in 2008.

Joel’s work has been featured in art, design and audio exhibitions across the US.  And he was named a "Person to Watch" and a "Tech Designer to Watch" by New Orleans Magazine and Apartment Therapy, respectively.

Audiowood designs have also won numerous awards at art shows and craft fairs, including "Most Unique Work" at New Orleans' Jazz Fest in 2015 and 2018, and they are featured in dozens of major international publications including The New York Times, California Home and Design, Inked, Velvet (Italy), Wired (Germany), Visi (South Africa), Design (Taiwan), The Daily Mail (UK), BoingBoing, Cool Hunting, Apartment Therapy, Thrillist, etc.

Over the years, Joel has partnered with a wide variety of international and local interests, including Uncrate, Bushmills, Anthropologie, Paramount Pictures, Adrian Grenier's SHFT, Kemble Interiors, and both WWOZ Radio and The Green Project in New Orleans.

Joel was recently awarded a patent for an innovative approach to modular housing design, and he’s currently producing a "science fictional" series of organic, kinetic sculptures, that tap into themes of sustainability and post-apocalyptic survival gadgetry. Joel began work on the latter project in Spring/Summer 2021 as an Artist in Residence at the Joan Mitchell Center.

Joel has lived in New Orleans since 2013.

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