EAF16 Artist Profile: Elizabeth Tubergen
In her artistic practice, 2016 Emerging Artist Fellow Elizabeth Tubergen explores how constructed spaces influence human behavior. For her recent installation at Socrates, she imagined a future in Queens where, in her words: “glass towers have spread from the waterfront, consuming the skyline with their reflective facades.” Her vision may not be far fetched, given the unprecedented rise in luxury development surrounding the Park. Tubergen envisions these buildings with private, glassed-encased lobbies designed to keep people moving, rather than stoops or front yards where people traditionally sit, talk, play, and linger.
Tubergen’s project, titled “Apparition” is part staircase, part landscape, and seeks to create a transitional space meant to capture those moments of respite and mingling – spaces, she fears, are headed towards extinction in “Future Queens.” The piece is a forty-foot-long gently curving step and ramp structure covered in mottled grey rubber – a combination of scale and materiality that invites sustained interaction and leisure.
Disassociated from any clear relationship to its surroundings, “Apparition” also exists as non-utilitarian and psychologically undetermined space. Tubergen sees this uncertainty as an exploration of queerness as a spatial, phenomenological condition. “Interstitial spaces between public and private hold great potential for non-productive, non-capitalist engagement – potential for dissent, dialogue, loitering, play, and queerness… undetermined space is queer,” Tubergen said in describing the installation.
Ultimately, Tubergen viewed her project at Socrates “as a continued development of my intent to mobilize solid forms to generate different kinds of distances, object orientations, and positions, further investigating sculpture as an ‘ongoing space of encounter’” – a phrase coined by Michael Warner in Publics and Counterpublics.