Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Airport Residency and Public Art Project – A Few Details

Click on image above for detail view

So, just what exactly is going to be/has already been involved with this experimental residency and long-term project?  Several tons of dirt, multiple site visits, a slowly rising inevitable mountain in the form of a runway, a makeshift community studio in the airport, many photographic frames exposed, printed and tested, video gathered from above, below and in-between, and a thick blanket of black asphalt icing the dynamically compacted earth to seal it all in.  A bit of a poetically styled description, but that’s the gist of it.

But let me break it down a bit more pragmatically.  The impetus for this entire project is the construction of a new runway at the Fort-Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport as well as a terminal expansion.  This massive undertaking involves a significant transformation of the physical surround.  Most significantly, a tiny mountain with an elevation of 65 feet is in the process of being fabricated on-site.  This, of course, will be the runway, its elevation necessary to clear the highway that will lie beneath.  Regularly scheduled trains deliver massive quantities of limestone from nearby quarries in Pompano and Medley where it begins a process of what seems an endless and continual piling, smoothing and grading.

Where do I come in? I get to respond to these transformations and note the gradual and dramatic shifts over an almost two year period.  My first short-term site visit resulted in an initial record that will serve as a start-point for what will ultimately become a type of archive.  However, rather than documenting the process of the construction itself and literally tracking changes in a scientific or methodical manner, my imagery may well be ambiguous and at times difficult to decipher.  My concern is not with constructing a temporal continuum that relates to the start and finish of the project, but with allowing the very nature of the structural transformations to dictate my response.  In other words, I am interested in the deep, ecological time evoked by the layered strata of earth as might be depicted in a photograph, or the seemingly infinite experience of a waft of dust floating in the air, slowed down even further in a video representation.

The first completed artworks are scheduled to be installed in October and will take the form of multi-channel, silent video works that will be installed in one of the airport terminals.  This will be followed by a longer-term residency in the month of December, which will include a community studio in the airport.  During this time, I will bring materials directly into this studio and work on the project while interacting with travelers interested in the project.  Shorter-term visits will follow along with two additional longer residencies with community studios and public lectures in May and September of 2014, culminating in the installation of site-specific works throughout the airport.  During each of these stages, I will keep a log of my activities on this blog and will post works-in-progress and test studies.

In the meantime, below are a few images from the initial site visit that have been worked on a bit in terms of sequencing and arrangement.  It is unlikely that many single photographic images will be used, as my interest is not in any kind of isolated “moment” but rather in the natural extension and the back and forth movements across a slice of space and time.  (More on this to come….)

Click on images below for detail view