About this project
SALISH SEA LAB
'Salish Sea Lab' is a collaboration by us; Miguel Horn and Chris Landau, and with the community of Squamish, British Columbia. As part of the Vancouver Biennale sculpture residency, we hope to create a unique installation that incorporates a monumental sculptural boat and regional topography with dynamic animations based on environmental and iconic systems. The process of building our installation will be part of the show, as we engage in a conversation with the local people of Squamish and visitors to the Biennale. We will use the funds for the construction of the installation to offset costs of donated services and materials.
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Miguel is a sculptor, who graduated from PAFA with classical training and an intense engagement with contemporary art. His monumental sculptures have been shown in Mexico City, Matamoros, Campeche, Vancouver, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art in Texas and Philadelphia. His practice is based out of the Traction Company studio in West Philadelphia, where a number of young sculptors call home. Most recently he and Traction company created a full scale model of their warehouse studio for CITYWIDE. Miguel has coordinated this exhibition as well as other past and upcoming shows for Traction Company .
Chris is an artist and designer whose work deals with systems. His work relies heavily on digital, algorithmic and emergent processes and inspirations. Chris is something of a systems architect. He builds virtual worlds for his own work as well as for the landscape architecture firm, OLIN. As Visualizer at OLIN, he brings designs to life through renderings and animation and has done so on many of OLIN's major projects over the last 6 years. Chris has also worked as an artist with Breadboard, Mural Arts, and Animated Architecture in Philadelphia.
A DYNAMIC PROJECT
We first met at NextFab where our interest in new ideas and ways of making collided. We decided to collaborate on something to bring our complimentary approaches together. The Vancouver Biennale residency was the perfect platform for a dynamic integration of virtual systems and sculptural exploration.
We started by looking into the topography of the region. The theme of the residency, Open Borders/Crossroads Vancouver led us specifically to the Salish Sea, the large body of water and watershed which crosses the border of Canada and the US encompassing Puget Sound, Desolation Sound, Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan De Fuca, Hood Canal, Fraser River, Nisqually River and Shagit River.
In our research we were drawn to the importance of these waterways to the growth of the region. For centuries they have facilitated the exchange of goods between cultures, spurring transportation and industry. The canoes of the Pacific Northwest are historically and culturally significant for their role in the development of the watershed's ecology. For our residency, we will be spending six weeks in Squamish, B.C. in the Howe Sound; developing a site-specific installation that explores the connections of this vessel to the region and it's future.
Along the way we want to host people from different parts of the Salish community to see the work we are doing and to have a conversation about sea level change and the societal and ecological effects of cataclysmic disruption. We will be bringing people into the lab to see what we are doing and to engage them as much as possible in the process.
In our build-up to the project we have been hard at work developing frameworks and imagery for the evolving installation; drawing from the unique designs of First Nation's canoes that influenced transportation for years to come and exploring the topographic effects of climate change through rising sea levels in the region. The project explores change, particularly loss and mourning, through local burial traditions and reflects on our vulnerability to our surroundings. We've been considering how the ecosystem has and will continue to evolve. This intricate balance plays itself out through the digital projection of a coded system developed to simulate an adaptive ecology.
In the end we hope that our project fuses the traditional with the contemporary in the speculation of the future. The effect of our globalized infrastructure of trade and commerce threatens the origins and traditions that established them. Though we have been working together on these designs and research, the true collaboration comes when we bring together the physical and virtual components of the installation in Vancouver with the people who live there. The traditional fabrication methods of boat building with locally sourced materials will be interfaced with the digital systems of projected animation. We hope to find a dynamic balance at the place where these worlds collide.
We are really excited about the rewards for this project and have started experimenting with some possibilities prior to our departure for Vancouver. We hope to entice your imaginations with digitally fabricated and hand printed woodcut prints, we will be doing a special lithography print with Stonefox Editions, and we also are creating physical maquets of the boat and topography as well as lasercut wood blocks and other assorted paraphernalia.
We are very excited for you to participate in this project with us. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
We are working in a site-specific approach, there are a lot of variables to making this international project work that will crystallize in Vancouver. For the past few months we have been running through every possible scenario while developing the sculptural form to maximize the facility of assembly and how it interfaces with between the virtual and the physical components.
There are a wide variety of obstacles we will be facing. Even with an ideal budget, tackling some of these concerns will be easier than others. The boat construction itself is a large task; we will be constructing a large vessel. Combine that with the unpredictable variations of weather and projection.
So why should you believe we can pull this off? Individually, we bring some impressive experience to the table with the design and management of big projects. Combined, we represent a spectrum of qualifications that prepare us for a challenge like this. It won't be easy, but that's the fun part; for 6 weeks we will be concentrating full-time during the residency to resolve every aspect of the installation while adapting it to the surrounding environment. Yet, our project draws from the changes in the environment and its effect on our society. It's our goal that this will ultimately inform the resulting project.
We have the framework for a great cultural exchange. Please, help support the 'Salish Sea Lab'.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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