The collaborative practice of Mary and Stephan
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147 Devices for Integrated Principles


Hurricanes, school shootings, divisive politics, anger, illness… how does anyone navigate, let alone survive in our society now? How can we fix these things? How can we cope in a world were yelling is more important than listening? Is there a phone app to heal a broken heart?

'147 Devices for Integrated Principles' is
     a community conversation,
             a participatory ritual,
                     a collaborative journey,
                            a fluid meditation, it is an attempt to respond.

'147 Devices for Integrated Principles' unpacks our relationship to everyday objects and how we use them to ease the suffering and pain in our lives. From phone apps that let you talk a million people, to robots in your home that respond to your every word, we are still lonely, disconnected and unhappy, hoping that there is some device out there that will solve all our problems.

Pulling from the literary concept of Homo Faber that human beings are able to control their fate and their environment through tools, ‘147 Devices for Integrated Principles’ is a work that examines how a family of four animates everyday objects in a desperate and perhaps futile way to connect to each other. 

By example, through experimentation and periods of reflection, Hillerbrand+Magsamen and their two children create new ways to see their world in this fluid mediation. Instead of devices we normally run to for protection or defense or anger, they create devices such as A Device for a Broken Heart, or A Device for Growing Old, A Device for Understanding A Teenager, and A Device for Saying Goodbye. Plastic bags, tape, twine, aluminum foil, and other basic materials become usable, Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions and relatable “devices” for transformation. 

Intentionally fluid, the work takes on different iterations, installation, performance, photography in a strategy to engage the viewer on multiple fronts in the same way we ourselves use and assimilate our own tools. It is short, long. It stays in place, it leaves. It is an installation, exhibition, expanded cinema, a performance, a photograph, another device.

Hillerbrand+Magsamen (

Hillerbrand+Magsamen are interdisciplinary artists who create sculpture, installation, performance, video and photographic works to explore their relationships to each other and society with an uncanny sensibility that merges the real and unreal, blurring boundaries between life and art. Often including their two children, Madeleine and Emmett in their work, the family critiques and playfully scrutinizes consumerism and family life with an experimentalapproach.

Hillerbrand+Magsamen have presented their work internationally in such notable venuesas The Fotofest Biannual, Cardiff International Festival of Photography, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Kaunas Photo Art Festival, Blue Sky Gallery, Maison de Arts de Laval, the Hudson River Museum, Woodstock Center for Photography, Light Factory Contemporary Museum of Photography and Film, Butler Institute of American Art and Houston Center forPhotography.

Hillerbrand+Magsamen have presented their videos in international film and media festivals including Houston Cinema Arts Festival, London SciFi Film Festival, WAND V Stuttgarter Filmwinter, New York Underground Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Boston Underground Film Festival and MonkeyTown. Their cinematic based installations have been exhibited at the Everson Museum (Syracuse, NY), Center for Photography Woodstock (Woodstock, NY), Diffusion Photography Festival (Wales, UK) and Houston Center for Photography (Houston,TX).


This project is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance; supported through the Innovation Grants program of the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts in the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, which is funded in part by the Houston Endowment, Inc.; and generously funded by Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Inc., and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Additional support has been provided by The Vermont Studio Center National Endowment for the Arts Parent Fellowship and the Santa Fe Art Institute Water Rights Residency