The Igloo gas station, an iconic dystope in the Alaskan landscape, always a bad idea, none-the-less compelling in all it's glorious absurdity - looks as if it is being prepared for demolition?
Top of the wish list for this most recent ReWilding trip in the mobile arts studio … glaciers with easy access and the ability to receive and transmit data to the site for live video feeds. Tall order.
Second, to record cars tanking up at a gas station. The site needs to be accessible, no visual obstructions, safe during filming, enough traffic and action. The location I had in mind was impossible to document when I visited, bad weather, more bad weather, physically dangerous camera positioning, wrong angle. All the things. So I kept my eyes open for alternatives and saw nothing ... that is until I rounded the corner on the last leg of the journey. The home stretch. Sometimes you don't see what's in your own backyard!
Title - Memorial to China Poot.
Kachemak Bay State Parks #artistresidency
China Poot Lagoon sounds exotic and displaced in an Alaskan landscape. And yet, true to its name, it is perfectly placed - beyond expectations.
Thirty years ago I kayaked to the cove with a friend. I recall the visual tapestry of sea life in the transparent waters beneath the canvas of the kayak - tide pools exploding with anemone, urchins, chiton, seaweed, kelp, mussels and a color combustion of starfish across the seabed. It was an image that nested in me, strong enough to make me want to return to that roust. It was the moment my friend realized she was pregnant.
I chose to print this image in B&W because things have changed. The floor of the lagoon is a silty brown, the tapestry shredded.
Relocation of sea otter from Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill has nurtured a biological incline. This mountain of survivors is shifting the ecology of the bay. During the week long artist residency i did not see a single starfish. No fireworks, not even a sparklers worth of presence. A disease called starfish wasting has extinguished the light.
Participating in wilderness residencies are such a privilege. I get to be and see places I probably wouldn't experience otherwise. Listening to others, reading, and just plain feet on the ground spending time in the space - I learn so much, become inspired, grow.
My work seldom travels in a straight line, and time is an important component of my practice. I'm still processing the experience. There have been a lot of changes since I kayaked this area thirty years ago. Until the work materializes I can share words, be the eyes for others, give a shout out for the wilderness and a vote for it's preservation.
A few images from the fringe (Broad Pass, & Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center)
The wilderness call-line is up!
+1 (805) 930-9330
To call the road between Cantwell and Paxson Alaska a highway - is a stretch. I met Barbara and Kathleen and their broke down Toyota in the middle of the Denali Highway. So while my husband fixed the tire (hey he wanted to) we did what strangers do - we stood around exchanging stories. Both women have interesting life histories. Barbara, originally from Philly, a veteran dog musher and Iditarod competitor, with a side gig as a lawyer and Judge, has spent many years in the Alaska wilderness.
When I was in my early twenties exploring Mexico and the Caribbean, people asked if I was afraid to travel alone? Rarely ever alone I was only scared once. Traveling in the wilderness is a little like that - there are very few spaces with absolutely no evidence of human activity. Even in places where the only access is by plane or boat, pre-colonial occupation exists.
The recent addition of the sonic boom to the soundscape is a notch up from the rare crack of a distant gun shot. A cairn, empty bullet casings, flint naps, an archeological observation site, a blaze on a tree, crumbling cabin foundation, rusty can or a GU wrapper, are the more typical time displaced remnants of human passage.
I needed this. My body is doing its job of healing really well - but my soul needed feeding. So I selfishly dragged my husband, our fifteen year old dog and the ReWilding [Lab] to the fringes of wilderness.
While my husband mountain biked I walked. I broke protocol, I didn't follow the flight plan - I took the winter trail so I could watch the weather brew above the Hillside Trail. I read - The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Sidhartha Mukherjee, I looked, I cooked, I smiled.
In developed landscapes man is the dominant predator. Rewilding is a conservation biology term aimed at restoring and preserving core areas of wilderness.
Welcome, this is the first BLOG entry in the new website!
I am truly excited to be engaged in this project. This summer I explore Alaska in my mobile art studio gathering material to create a future series of environmental art installations.
I had planned to be driving the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Deadhorse about now. However, I broke my arm a week ago and need to delay visiting the oil fields of the North Slope and the Arctic Coastal plain, until I am healed enough to manage the physical demands. If all goes well I will spend August exploring the Interior and South Central regions of Alaska. At Land's End in Homer I board a boat for Halibut Cove to spend time in this remote area as the Kachemak Bay State Park's, Artist in Residence.
Formal Project Description
ReWilding is a series of large-scale, digitally projected images that dramatically merge human activity with expanses of wilderness. Via live video, built spaces overlay remote wilderness sites and undeveloped landscapes are cast onto interior and exterior surfaces of urban structures.
On the surface of a calving glacier, cars tank up at a convenience store in an apocalyptic premonition of a future without wild spaces and an eerie convergence of energies between the power of gasoline and the explosiveness of melting ice.
An ‘original’ landscape covers interior and exterior surfaces of a decommissioned box store -- to immerse spectators in the building’s ‘re-stored' condition and the site’s previously undeveloped state, affectively making the building disappear.
A carpet of AstroTurf unfurls across a massive stretch of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while tundra turf carpets the playing field of a decaying sports stadium in a dustbowl.
ReWilding is a series of spectacular convergences between man and nature, variously sited in remote wilderness locations and urban structures. Through 3-D digital mapping, large-scale projection of video or still images onto non-flat surfaces (buildings, trees), will create immersive site-specific events that deepen environmental awareness and position human activity in direct relationship to the natural world.
Sites will emerge from organic collaborations with stakeholders and entail archival research intended of bring transparency to the social, economic and environmental issues in play. What plays out at the local level is an aspect of global flows, yet it is at the local level that intervention must occur.
Each intervention will be accessible via web-based media, live feed and documented for subsequent exhibition.