A Kiosk That Puts Tacoma’s Idiosyncracies on Display

Ryan Feddersen Artscape 2017, What Happened?

by Lisa Kinoshita

Artist RYAN! Feddersen has created a unique community billboard on the HAPPENINGS kiosk at the corner of 13th & Market in downtown Tacoma. Instead of ads for theater performances or condos for rent, this public artwork broadcasts the thoughts, dreams and private obsessions of Tacomans who just happened to notice the artist’s invitation to participate in its creation, earlier this year. The work had urged viewers to interact by using the QR Code Reader, or mobile browser, to visit Feddersen’s website and answer this prompt:

“Please share a hope, aspiration, prediction or other words (500 character limit) that you would like to contribute as inspiration for a public artwork that will be installed on this kiosk. It  can be based on something real, or something fictitious. To submit an image (3MB limit), please use the file upload…” 

The result is an installation called, WHAT WILL HAPPEN? (WHAT HAPPENED?), a sly, humorous compilation of flotsam netted from Tacoma’s collective unconscious and filtered through the imagination of this immensely talented young artist. The kiosk, plastered with imaginary flyers, engages passersby as a free-standing, sculptural non-sequitur located next to a bus stop. Want ads, psychic readings, public announcements and personal ads are cleverly interwoven with graphics and images from Feddersen’s own private vocabulary; these include a recurring character called Coyote, a trickster in Native American mythology (Feddersen’s ancestry is Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; Okanogan / Arrow Lakes). As noted on her website, the cartoon animal Coyote is imagined as “the catalyst of contemporary events both local and global, including climate change, the advent of the Internet, and the creation of the Space Needle.” On the kiosk, a wanted poster offers $500 cash for his capture.

“In my art practice I have primarily focused on creating interactive works that invite the viewer to engage intellectually and creatively,” she writes. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? (WHAT HAPPENED?) is both an inside joke and an invitation to disclose oneself to the world; the title captures the disjointedness of each one’s daily experience, not to mention the elusiveness of the present moment. The HAPPENINGS kiosk with its groovy title provides the perfect canvas for Feddersen’s shoutout to Tacoma. Her decal poster illustrations in grainy black and white offer the visual equivalent of a dreamy-yet-scratchy old radio broadcast – appropriate for a public artwork generated through the fusion of technology and imagination.

Feddersen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts in 2009. She has created several large-scale interactive installations including pieces for the Tacoma Art Museum, Spokane Arts, Bumbershoot, and the Henry Gala.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN? (WHAT HAPPENED?) by RYAN! Feddersen. Happenings Kiosk, South 13th & Market, through April 2018. www.ryanfeddersen.com

IMG_0791Ryan Feddersen Artscape 2017, What Happened?