I recently traveled to the Salina Arts Center for the maiden voyage of the TYTON - an installation by artist Randy Regier and writer and director Gail Lerner. Both led a workshop-in-residence at the Center. Regier and Lerner worked together and collaborated with the community to create a fictional luxury submarine cruise liner called TYTON.
Regier is known for his meticulous hand-built postwar aesthetic and tongue-in-cheek humor. His model of the TYTON submarine is much like a doll house: the submarine is split in two and each half is suspended from the ceiling. It is hung with enough room for viewers to walk in between the two sides.
The model's rooms are themed and labeled with names like, "Two Sheets to the Wind Club" and the more rowdy "Three Sheets to the Wind Club." Some of the decadent amenities include an "Endless Vanilla Pudding Trough," which was also an actual amenity at the opening.
Lerner has written for shows like Ugly Betty and Will & Grace. For this project, she led a workshop where community participants developed the characters onboard the TYTON. Within a few days, they recorded a 27-minute radio play.
The audio sparks a fantastic narrative set to tiki lounge music. At one point, a honeyed female voice invites us to hobnob with famous (fictional) writers like Hunter S. Sampson, who she spots at the bar. The tenor and humor of the radio play blends perfectly with Regier's artwork, creating a truly immersive experience.
TYTON will be on view at the Salina Art Center from May 10, 2014 - August 31, 2014