La Medida (the measurement) is a video installation in five acts. Together they explore the role of measuring systems in our understanding of the natural world through sections that range widely; from a gallery-sized triptych to a peep-hole video, from sculptural elements to sound-activated stop-motion.
This project began with observations of the process of artistic and scientific analysis in the miniature forests of the Omora Ethnobotanical Preserve near Cape Horn, Chileduring a short artist’s residency. It continued by comparing these observations to other human interactions with the wilderness. Questions developed about how and why we measure the world anthropomorphically. By categorizing what we see do we make sense of it? By capturing a likeness do we contain its meaning? By measuring its physical qualities do we control anything about them? What is the effect of our human shadow on the last vestige of wilderness?
Act 1 Modulation:
In a small room stands a microphone, inviting input. Projected on the back wall, a crayoned grid appears and disappears over fleeting skies empowered by the visitor’s sound creation (photos by Tony Walsh).
Act 2: Interpolation
On a wide wall, a peep-hole beckons. Viewing through a camera eyepiece, the visitor sees a figure measuring natural wonders anthropomorphically. The performer is Leslie Seiters. An accompanying poem is available through a QR code for smart phones on the project placard. (photos by Tony Walsh, video by the artist).
Act 3: Frequency and Amplitude
A six-channel video spreads across as many high-definition monitors, synchronous yet varied, these images exhibit a variety of waves as observed and analyzed. The sound is developed through the artist's variations on the main composition by Eric des Four in Act 5. The graphic animation comes from the research of physicist Tom Giblin based on the gravity waves that indicate the expansion of the universe. A variation on this piece is shown on this web page as a unified single channel projection. (photos by Tony Walsh, video by the artist)
Act 4: Meter
The forest-vine, notched with markers and hanging from the ceiling, curves into the shadow and sound of dripping water. A rhythm is established, both regular and surprising. This vine connects Omora to nature experiences of the past as it comes from "the woods" near the artist’s childhood home on Long Island. (video by the artist)
Act 5: Proportion
In the furthest gallery, three screens glow with images from the miniature forest of Omora. The center shows the character of the artist/scientist measuring and flowing through the preternaturally large lichen, liverworts and mosses. The side panels move inward, inviting the viewer through the surrounding forest. The sound here is by the composer Eric des Four, composed largely from the sounds of the Omora Preserve. The performer is Abe Shriner. (Photos by Tony Walsh and the artist, video by the artist)
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at the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aranoff Center for the Arts,
Cincinnati, Ohio, Fall of 2011