Susanna Crum: Hybridizing Past and Present

I stumbled across Susanna Crum’s work this past July while visiting Vermont Studio Center. Susanna is a mixed media artist who works with printmaking, photography, video and sculpture to explore the histories of sites. She’s particularly interested in how space is interpreted and reinterpreted, and how past and present events might intersect within certain places.

To collect data, Susanna conducts journalistic interviews, field research and on-site explorations. Often her works on paper are created as guides or maps for sculpture. Within these, she draws upon dated and new technologies, again intersecting a layered history by presenting the obsolete and contemporary together. Viewers engage physically by turning cranks, handling or wearing objects and making a series of choices.

The image below layers a map from the 1883 Southern Exposition and a recent satellite image of the neighborhood now at that site, St. James Court. The map was included in Susanna’s exhibition 
Guardians: Care-taking and Place-making on St. James Court.

Guardians: Care-taking and Place-making on St. James Court, four handmade wooden cabinets (each 36″ x 24″ x 10″), found objects, telephones with interview excerpts, chromolithographs on Kozo (seen through peepholes).


Camera Obscura Pack, 2010, Altered backpack, video camera, plastic lenses, mirror, foam core, wood. Susanna states, “I use the Camera Obscura Pack as a tool to investigate, record, and present new interpretations of spaces.”

Intersections, 2010

The Tesseract Archives Presents: A History of the Printmaking Staging Space, 2010, 52 archival inkjet prints on cards, wood, plastic lenses, wire, 52″ x 46″ x 46″

Susanna explains, “The Tesseract Archives is an ongoing project that documents the visual history of specific places. A four-person information station, it includes four handmade stereoscopic viewing devices, through which various images of the past can be seen in three dimensions.”

Susanna is completing an MFA in Printmaking with a minor in Sculpture and Intermedia at the University of Iowa. Earlier this year she completed an MA in Printmaking, and earned her BFA in Printmaking from Cornell University in 2008. Learn more at her website.

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