Over/Under/Through from Mike Adams on Vimeo.
This is another sequence for the installation “Fram,” which combines aerial images of a rocky landscape in Greenland, with the forest on the trail to Monte Cristo in the North Cascades (Snohomish County, Washington, USA). The two separate sequences, here combined, were taken by me of course. The images of Greenland are probably of the western coast (I was flying from Reykjavik, Iceland to Seattle). The Monte Cristo images were taken while walking back toward the trail head, around the half-way point on the road. It was a strange, smokey day. The sunlight was diffused by smoke from widespread forest fires on the eastern side of the mountains. (I kept thinking of Frodo marching toward Mordor. . .but that’s another tale.)
I am exploring ideas of the tactile and the visual, things that are intimate and those that are far away, and in a sense, transcendent. When you are flying, looking down with a godlike view, you are removed from some sensory experience. You are predominantly using vision. But when you are walking in a forest, you are having a more intimate experience, using touch, smell, and hearing, in addition to sight. It is not that one is superior to the other, but they are vastly different. Here I combine them. The bare rock showing in the Greenland images also makes me think of the mining that occurred at the end of the Monte Cristo road, delving deep, into the rock, under the surface, looking for treasure. . .
Some of my favorite “things” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City were the period rooms: entire paneled, decorated rooms, brought over from Europe and reassembled in the museum. During the week, these rooms were less crowded than their counterparts in actual palaces in Europe. I get the feeling that tourists in New York don’t like these palatial rooms outside of their palatial context. For me, I am enamored with their theatrical illusionism, which even includes “daylight” streaming in the windows. Ironically, they are mostly-empty boxes. It is the veneer on the perimeter where all the action happens. Or so it seems. These were spaces within which people lived their lives. A space within that creates its own world.
I’m reading a collection of essays and excerpts by Mircea Eliade entitled Symbolism, the Sacred, & the Arts. I had heard of Eliade before, of course. Now I will add him to the long line of thinkers-who-I-ought-to-have-known-more-about-sooner. Oh, well. I’m reading about sacred spaces, and while I doubt that he would have appreciated my inferential link between faux chambres in a museum and real sacred spaces, I cannot help but think that there is a similarity, since they are spaces that draw attention to themselves, and of course when we are in them, we can think what we want. Eliade writes that in a sacred space, “man is able to communicate with the other world, the world of divine beings or ancestors.” Perhaps the world has more sacred spaces that we thought, if they are the kind of place that allows for communication between the here-and-now and the other-and-elsewhere.
I was uploading some video yesterday for a fellowship application, and thought it would be nice to post the video sequences on the ol’ blog. I used this segment as a projection in my installation Fram at the Carr Gallery in Idaho Falls, Idaho recently.
From my Vimeo description (is it pretentious to quote oneself?): “I superimposed aerial images of an icy landscape in Northern Canada, and the lush forests off of Highway 2 in Washington State. Thus “Greenland” in this video is really Northern Canada. Call it poetic license. The tree images were recorded at the Jennifer Dunn Trailhead, aka Beckler Peak Trailhead off of the Stevens Pass Highway. A row of aspens (or alder?) were between me and the mountainsides across the valley.”