WATERLAND is an artistic response to rising sea water levels as a result of climate change. Holland has been confronted with floods since its first settlements were established in the early middle ages. The installation WATERLAND explores Holland’s critical landscapes with the eyes of an artist, while at the same time examining Dutch solutions of water managements in past and present. It poses the question whether Holland’s approach, both technically and psychologically, might serve as a model for other coastal regions, including major metropolitan centers, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, which has so far not experienced flooding.
This project examines Nasturtium as a culinary plant. Nasturtium grows in gardens and yards, and often in city parks and abandoned lots in residential areas. I invented a recipe for Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves – similar to Greek Dolmades. I served these appetizers during an opening reception at Compound Gallery in Oakland. They were arranged on flat ceramic plates that I had made after life Nasturtium leaves. About 44 plates of different sizes were laid out on shelves, and a video showed the preparation process of the stuffed leaves. At the end of the reception all Stuffed Leaves were eaten.
Living off the Land is an art/research project that explores replacing cultivated food plants for plants that grow wild and can be obtained through foraging in immediate rural environments. My attraction to wild-growing edible plants stems from an ecological interest and attempts a response to discussions around the need to sustain ourselves in ways that preserve our planet’s environment and resources while providing better stewardship of our planet.
After preparing 13 different dishes from Garlic Mustard – considered an invasive green in the Hudson River Area – and documenting my processes on video, I organized a Garlic Mustard potluck dinner event, with handmade ceramic ware and sitting cushions. They bear designs of topographic lines, which attempt to link the herb to this specific environment.
In the small community of Red Deer I explored possibilities of using wild growing plants for food. I was surprised how many plants and their blossoms, fruits and roots are edible, not only wild-growing ones but also those planted in city parks for ornamental reasons, especially in fall when berries and fruits ripen. I learnt about traditional food preservation processes, such as jarring and drying. I documented all my processes on video – from fruit collection to their final food product. The result of this project was shown in the college’s gallery space on five media stations, each of them including two screens with videos, samples of preserved foods and a computer with short texts about each food item, and opportunity for audience feedback. In exchange for sharing experiences with wild growing foods, visitors were offered to take samples of the foods I had preserved.
This immersive video installation was created in collaboration with Chris Treggiari to explore the geomorphologic, natural and human history of the San Francisco Bay and of the City of Oakland. The main room installation gives an overview of the San Francisco Bay at large, with 5 videos and sculptural elements that replicate features around the San Francisco Bay. A smaller installation in a separate space focuses on present and past of the coastal neighborhoods of Oakland. Both pieces immerse the viewer in a surround experience and attempt to inspire curiosity and thought.
The natural environment of the Three Gorges of the Yangzi River has been altered through human hand, as the recent completion of a giant dam has increased the water level. While this dam generates an enormous amount of energy and improves ship navigation, it has also caused significant environmental problems. My installation takes a future stance exploring the verge between real reality and virtual reality, presenting an exaggerated man-made super-nature that is entirely removed from real reality.
Reflections is the result of a mapping and research project of the city of Denver and its history. The installation integrates my own work with that of my course participants of “Learning Labs for Educators”, a 5-week summer course I taught for a group of art educators at PlatteForum Denver in collaboration with the University of Northern Colorado. The video installation has 5 stationary videos and one rotating video, which ensures almost endless constellations of overlapping projections.
The installation Layered Perspectives is the result of a collaboration between 11 art students during a Special Topics class titled “Mapping Charlotte” (University of North Carolina, Charlotte) and myself. Each student chose their own fields of inquiry according to their personal interests. These could include city neighborhoods, time periods in history or specific community groups. Our work consisted of photo and video-mapping, interviewing and historical research. The 6 video projections run through the different topics simultaneously, gradually dissolving from one to the next. Charlotte – a pristine banking town – lacks character and has preserved little of its 2 ½-century-old history. In response to the wish for a more creative city the students installed sculptural objects, which create odd angles and disrupt the image. The visitor becomes part of the piece as s/he wanders through the installation, picks up projected images and casts shadows.
In this piece I am tracing the reliefs of the Cantabrian coast and mountain landscapes on projected images to create an abstracted landscape drawing of its own right. I hope that the stark – but beautiful – ruggedness of this primordial landscape – that reminds of ancient earth history when our planet’s crust was forming – can spark contemplative thinking and awe for the natural world.
This video installation is a reflection of my impressions of Iceland, its historic and mythological ties to the Nordic Sea. Viking life evolved around seafaring, storms, floods and other disasters.
According to Teutonic creation mythology, earth and everything on it was formed from the giant Ymir’s body. His skull became the firmament and his brain was tossed into the air to make clouds. Clouds are ever-present in Iceland, sometimes towering into huge formations, only to change or vanish shortly after. The clouds seem to be teasing – hence the title of the piece.