Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kickstart a new space

The final layer will be white

We were able to negotiate the continued use of the Allman' garage after the exhibition in exchange for upkeep and installing a new roof to keep things dry.  The deal is good until the property sells.  Sadly, as we are in the process of installing the roof the owners of the garage are currently in negotiations to sell.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

exhibition progress, press, and making a case for Urbana Land Arts

CCarl paints

We have made good progress with the exhibition space and our minds are finding it hard not to think ahead to the possibilities of the Allman's space and site.  The exhibition is set for the 26-27th of august which coincides with Urbana's Sweet Corn Festival.  
The work on the exhibition space has also given way to the Urbana Land Arts, which is a studio that we hope to establish that will focus on blending environmental and cultural remediation with public art.  But that is a story for another day as we have plenty to keep us occupied for the next few weeks.  Thanks for everyone's support  so far; we will do good work.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The SCAN and high definiton

Bryan returned to the Saline to record more footage, and this time we were able to wade much of the way; taking our time and looking at details.  The last time we took Bryan's camera out the Saline was moving very rapidly and we were capsized almost immediately; nothing so dramatic occurred this time.  The Saline was lazy, slow and low.  We picked through the Saline with our cameras for five hours or so; surprisingly very pleasant conditions; many birds, fish, mammals.  The low water revealed several shopping carts that were overlooked; we should make our way back soon.

Bryan continues to lend his time and skills to the project and has become a collaborator as he has made several trips from St. Louis to Urbana and  produced a video of the project for the creative fundraising site Kickstarter.
He has also agreed to produce the video content for the upcoming exhibition.  Thanks Bryan.

Conditions: Sunny and warm, but pleasant, not too buggy, green to clear water

Fauna: 3 owls, deer, heron, gold-calico-and common colored carp, bass, some type of pan fish- Redear? Bluegill?, several types of minnow or small fish.

Some things that begin to look like other things

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

firing around the clock and exhibition conception

firing 15 at a time, the dull slip transforms into ringing ceramic

The firing of the vessels that were excavated from the banks of the Saline is going well; we are on target to produce 65.  The process has been quite long as slip casting and firing requires multiple repetitive steps.  But we appear to be on track to have all 65 vessels fired for the upcoming exhibition.  Each vessel will represent a shopping cart and be illustrated with an image of a cart and a co-ordinate of a specific location where a cart was found on the Boneyard or Saline.  The vessels will be part of a scale representation of the Saline creek at the exhibition and act as markers pinpointing the locations of carts.  The vessels will also be gifts to those who adopt-a-cart and help us fund the upcoming exhibition and subsequent illustrated map/booklet.  We will be launching a Kickstarter campaign on Sunday the 31st of July with all the details.

prototype of illustrated vessel

The Allman family has been generous enough to allow us to have the exhibition at their fathers former auto body shop.  We recently met with Lisa, the daughter of the late Mr. Allman, and she seemed as excited as we are to be part of the project.  Thank  you Lisa!  Below are some conceptual drawings of the exhibition which will feature video projections, a sound installation, the canoes used to remove the carts, and reproductions of the vessel found in the banks of the Saline.  The exhibition will have both indoor and outdoor elements, the indoor portion will only be accessible visually through a line that stretches the entire front facade of Allman's.  Viewers will have to look through the line that represents the saline to see the exhibition inside.  The outdoor portion of the exhibition will be a sculpture garden made from shopping carts that we have transformed into something like gabion baskets, but only sort of.  There is much to to but we are very happy to do it.

Allmans Boneyard and, Saline is the official, title of the show

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

From debris emerges form, representation reproduced

The mold making process and the original form

The dig on the Saline unveiled a large cache of  ceramic debris.  We were fortunate to have gathered enough pieces to reconstruct a complete version of a strange but beautiful vessel .  We still do not know what we have found but have decided to reproduce the form once for every cart we have either removed or mapped.  The method of reproduction is similar to the way in which the original vessel was reproduced; a ceramic process called slip-casting.  Each vessel will be marked with the GPS coordinate of a particular site on the Saline and a line drawing of a cart and will be used as a marker for a large scale map at the upcoming exhibition.

The form begins to multiply
                         The Saline presents, form for representation, and reproduction

A field trip to the great rivers and microscopic views of macroinvertebrates

Atop the research center

Our work in the Boneyard and Saline creeks has uncovered many questions; one of them being:  What is the quality of the water and the ecosystems that depend on it?  We have observed for ourselves during our month on the Saline that there is apparently a great deal of diversity there despite the heavy utilitarian use and abuse of the creek.  The Saline and other creek/ditches represent some of the only continuous wildlife habitat in an agriculturally dominant landscape and a good diversity of fauna can be found there.  This fact might go against the popular notions of the Saline that tend to consider the creek as a ditch; signifying waste receptacle.  These "ditches" were built and are maintained by drainage districts funded by public tax dollars but are essentially private property.  We believe there is a great opportunity to both maintain the utilitarian integrity of the Saline, and similar water ways,while maintaining habitat and creating public access.

Vera and the scientific method

We took the opportunity to visit the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to learn a little bit about water health by way of Macro-invertebrates.  Macro-invertebrates are organisms that can be seen by the naked eye and are used by scientists to determine the health of a particular stream or river.  They are an important link of the food chain much like plankton are in the ocean.  We were given a hands on tutorial on the procedure of collecting and sorting macro-invertebrates and detailing stream composition and flow.  Before we sloshed around in a small creek that Vera our instructor named after the abundant ceramic debris found there, we were able to view macro-invertebrate specimens under the microscopes in the lab. The unseen are nevertheless endlessly fascinating. In the creek we surveyed, we found only Sideswimmers or Amphipoda, a small shrimp like creature,  but Vera stressed the fact that late June was pushing the limit of the time frame for finding macros as most have already gone through the larval stage of their metamorphoses and are either pupating or have emerged from the water.  We anticipate putting the Saline on the register for macro monitored creeks in the Fall.

                       sideswimmers were spared, from scientific inquire, we threw back our catch