University of Arizona
College of Fine Arts - School of Art

School of Art Galleries

Benjamin Dearstyne Hoste


The mathematical concept of tangency—a perfect and smooth advancement, meeting, and retreat between two curves—provides a point of entry for the work and serves as a metaphor for our deeply shared experiences. Just as tangent circles meld together where they touch, becoming momentarily indistinguishable, so do we when we share intimate and powerful moments.

Tangencies fluidly moves between both shared and private space, utilizing public intervention and installation strategies. Situated in public parks and gathering areas, arrays of tangent circles are drawn with chalk, illustrating our connectedness as well as demarcating personal space. Each circle is slightly larger than six feet in diameter, ensuring that individuals standing within them can be safely distanced from one another. Members of the public are invited to activate the work through occupying tangent circles: distanced if need be or touching if desired. Ephemeral in nature, both the drawings and the momentarily shared experiences they elicit are photographically documented.

This documentation is accompanied by a nearly 14-foot-long and 8-foot-tall corridor in the installation of the work. With arced walls, that smoothly advance and nearly meet before retreating from one another, the corridor creates a natural bottleneck. Reminiscent of hallways commonly found in one’s home, the corridor functions both as a passageway as well as a space where memories reside. While one can often find a collection of framed family photographs in a domestic hallway, this corridor is filled with familial audio recordings—archived voicemails left by a mother and father—resurrected through the walls themselves, which vibrate and amplify the recorded voices. Nearly tangent, the corridor walls are spaced just wide enough to pass through.

Confronting our inextricable linkages with one another, Tangencies reflects and reveals that which is integral to our human experience, our inescapable interconnectedness and its resulting influence on our lives.

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