Scientific Principles and Craft Traditions Converge in Tauba Auerbach’s Research-Focused Practice

Cameron Mesirow (left) and Auerbach (right) play “Auerglass”

Tauba Auerbach (previously) wants “to be somewhere that isn’t a hard edge,” within a space that mimics the instability of “The Wave Organ.” Embedded within a jetty of the San Francisco Bay, the sculpture was created by Peter Richards and George Gonzalez in 1986 and captures the sounds of waves as they crash into and fill the pipes, emitting a musical mix of gurgling and gushing noises as the tide changes. The work is designed to highlight the acoustic irregularities of Earth’s elements and is also one of Auerbach’s favorite locations in their native San Francisco.

In a new episode of Art21’s 11th season, “Bodies of Knowledge,” which premiered in late June, Auerbach visits the instrument and explains their interest in natural patterns and processes, physics, and mathematic principles. They harbor a profound curiosity and desire to understand the complex systems that undergird life, many of which they interpret as swirling marbled paper, spontaneous tessellated drawings in marker, and writhing beaded sculptures that evoke biological forms like the rigid composition of a sea sponge.

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