tarp lake is an artificial lake landscape created from billowing, blue, and donated cast-off tarps. Supported in the wind on wooden scaffolding, the tarps playfully whip in the wind, mimicking waves, and are collectively massive enough to identify from the sky. Interviews from tarp donors are presented throughout the lake, giving the piece a poetic sensibility and inviting audiences to the underside where the tarps filter the sunlight, homogenizing the landscape with a blue tint, and provide shade from the sun. Hot air ballooners look twice at the installation and, for a moment, believe an actual lake has materialized. Aerial footage of the lake taken from suspended outdoor cameras, akin to a freshly shot Google Map, is accessible via cell phone. However, at odds with its playful spectacle, tarp lake not only masks natural ecologies in order to form a modern version of paradise, it also creates a simulation that fools our mapping technologies.
The lake creates an ironic space for two reasons. First, it is simultaneously artificial and authentic. While it is made of unnatural plastic, audiences are able to explore in detail the intimate traces of the tarps’ previous lives, such as mud from an archeological dig, grease stains from a farm, shredded areas from the wind, etc. The second and more profound irony is that the discarded tarps, consolidated into a lake designed to protect the audience, are symbolic of any lake’s ephemeral feature. We received tarps that were used to shield or maintain things. When the tarps are cast-off, the objects they had safeguarded are exposed to the weather, grime, and abrasion of time. In a sense, the objects begin their journey to a modern day ruin, a place where nature resets itself over humanity’s concrete detritus. These cast-off tarps become synonymous with the point at which we begin to let things decay, when our desire is spent and we stop maintaining a small portion of the built landscape. Thus, the larger irony is that the lake providing protection is deeply symbolic of the impermanence of that very protection. While bathed in the tarps’ healing blue light, the lakebed seems to chime in that its life too is transient. This project was done in collaboration with Heidi Bender.
In this collaborative project with artist Nate Lareau, we don fugitive-like orange and white striped suits to resemble radio towers and for safety from hunters as we hijack the police bullhorn as a means to self broadcast. Logistically, we are equipped with custom-made harnesses that support a thousand feet of cable, allowing us to form a nomadic zipline that easily fastens to our torsos or tree trunks without damaging the environment. In multiple iterations, we explore the effect of landscape on sound by sending the bullhorn, playing on full volume, down this zipline from one location to another as a way to use sound to define those places, and collectively generate an acoustic map of the landscape. As sculptors, we are interested in treating sound as a tangible material despite its fleeting nature, and in this radio zipline as a whimsically foreign and manmade object on the rugged natural environment. The zipline allows the bullhorn to span "hollers" and travel downward amongst rock walls, allowing us to explore how different confines and contours of the landscape, and the resulting flow of the wind, impact acoustic envelopes. Our process also allows us to capture the Doppler effect as the sound source travels fluidly past audio/video recording devices. We choreographed the footage so that different locations play side-by-side, harmonizing the country's landscape.