I have been invited to participate in The Arctic Circle's first summer solstice expedition. In June, I will be sailing to the High Arctic on a research-equipped tall ship with a small group of international artists and scientists. We will depart from Longyearbyen, Svalbard and spend two weeks at sea creating work and gathering information in this remote landscape. I am thrilled to be part of this expedition.
For me, place is material. It is not just a backdrop, but also inspiration, form, prop and participant in my work. I do not know what exactly will happen in the Arctic; I will be away from anything familiar. My senses will be stiffened by the newness around me, and my mind will be focused by the other minds working around me. I will embark with great anticipation of what is waiting there for me; the loneliness, emptiness and wideness of an unknown place, coupled with all the human meaning I will bring there. The only way to know, to satisfy this wonder, is to go. My practice is not characterized by a set of specific ideas or materials, but a mindset of exploration/investigation that is most heavily influenced by where I am when I am making an idea. The Arctic will be the most challenging environment I have ever traveled to.
I will enter this experience after months of research on my current interests; the possibility of the endless malleability of a form, and the value of emptiness, or blankness. The video above is my first realization the Infinite Forms of a Form, a series of action sculptures conceived on the windy prairie of Nebraska, that explore the possibility that the geometry of a shape can be both rigid and fluid as it is affected by its environment, and how space, as defined by a structure, can become an object in motion. I wonder how a form can appear expansive, or even infinite through surface camoflauge-- I am excited to work on water, where current, wind and buoyancy can support or move a form. Having this journey to The Arctic Circle on the horizon has inspired me to learn more about our visual perception of floating objects and the possible meaning/effect of the color white. In light of recent weather phenomena, the effect of the natural world on constructed forms feels even more pertinent. I will carry out this research by continuing to construct malleable sculptural forms and experimenting with floating structures on my local bodies of water.
During my time in the Arctic, I plan to build and install semi-permanent sculptures that can interact and expand upon the natural environment and forces in the Arctic. I will carefully document my research and the arctic environment by recording sound, video and images. My goal is not only to create well-informed work as a reaction to my surroundings but also to gather as much information as possible to I can continue to utilize this experience in my future work, and recall the Arctic landscape in whatever place I end up in next.
Here you can learn more about The Arctic Circle program.
Risks and challenges
We have a long history, as human beings, of inserting ourselves into environments that are not necessarily compatible with survival. We have learned to adapt to our surroundings, and have spread far and wide in an attempt to conquer the natural world. The result of this has in some cases lead to increased awareness and sensitivity about our surroundings; it has also set in motion events that will cause the Arctic landscape to undergo major change during my own lifetime.
The landscape I travel to is not a permanent one, and along with ethical concerns about the environment, working there won't be like working in a typical studio situation (freezing temps, seasickness and etc). I am excited by all the challenges of working in such a space, and view the backer rewards as a great vehicle to share my research during this Arctic experience with you.
I cannot wait to sail under the midnight sun, into that vast emptiness, and I need your help to get there. Every donation counts.
Your contributions will help cover most of the $5800 program fee. Anything above will go towards airfare to and from Longyearbyen, camera equipment, and cold weather gear.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
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