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Amber Ginsburg and Joseph Madrigal, FLO(we){u}R

Soap Factory


April 28 through May 27

              opening reception: April 28, 7 – 11 pm

              closing reception: May 26,7 – 11 pm

Final dispersal: June 9, 9 pm – 12 midnight

FLO(we){u}R is a month-long performative installation that returns The Soap Factory to a site of industrial production. Artists Amber Ginsburg and Joe Madrigal will recreate a World War I–era target test dummy bomb factory, creating target test bombs from terra-cotta in the gallery space.

FLO(we){u}R highlights a little-known detail of American military history. Beginning in 1914, terra-cotta factories, which produced the decorative façades on buildings in downtowns across the United States, were commissioned to make ceramic test bombs for the Air Force. The ceramic bombs were then filled with baking flour and dropped from airplanes; the white marks made by broken shells allowed pilots to calibrate their targeting.

The Soap Factory’s gallery space will house a full-scale bomb manufacturing facility, and all aspects of production will be on display, from clay mixing through molding to drying. Over the course of the project, labor will accumulate in the form of dummy test bombs. Two variations of the terra-cotta dummy bomb will be produced based on original World War I blueprints. One model is fired for use as a seed shaker. The second model, un-fired, will be used for test launches and a one-time seed dispersal at the end of the exhibition. These seedings will leave new white blooming marks on the landscape. The Soap Factory’s location in Minneapolis’s historic milling district lends rich context to the humble materials filling each bomb.

During FLO(we){u}R, the audience will see production in process and will be able to interact with the dummy test bombs. Deviating from the military’s intentions toward accuracy and destruction, the interactive and performative elements will address dispersion and formation, using history and metaphor to insert a poetic undoing of the bombs’ military past. Gallery visitors are encouraged to fill bombs with a custom mix of flour and white blooming seed mixes. This mix will be scattered throughout Minneapolis by artist-led seed walks throughout the city’s park system or by bicycle seed rides.

The finale of FLO(we){u}R will take place during Northern Spark on June 9. With the factory cleared away from The Soap Factory, the remaining bombs will be racked, ready for anyone to take them away, replacing the military precision of aerial targeting with the random trajectories of strangers in the night.