December 8, 2016

LAAW + SFAI presents TRIBUTARIES



TRIBUTARIES

Land Arts of the American West [LAAW] artists, in collaboration with the Santa Fe Art Institute and Water Rights Residents, will present a one night participatory event where Water itself has rights as a living organism. Through the creation of a visual and interactive performance these artists will investigate how water sinuously cycles from place to place and hand to hand. We invite the public to participate in our performance on Thursday, December 15, 2016, 7pm-9pm to exchange their stories about water.

Performance: Thursday, December 15, 2016, 7pm- 9pm
Where: Santa Fe Art Institute, 1600 St. Michaels Dr, Santa Fe, NM, 87505


Free and open to the public

Artists:
Kaitlin Bryson
Nancy Dewhurst
Joerael Elliott
FICTILIS
Annie Danis
Rose Linke
Ruth Le Gear
Jeanette Hart-mann
Ryan Henel
Hollis Moore
Hamshya Rajkumar
Molly Zimmer
Rachel Zollinger

Land Arts of the American West: to inspire and support environmentally and socially engaged art practices through field-based bioregional teaching, collective learning, interdisciplinary research, community collaboration, and creative forms of publication and exhibition.

Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) is a cultural organization that seeks to address a critical question: how can SFAI cultivate creative practices (from fine art to design to urban planning and beyond), engage with diverse communities, and address the most pressing social issues of our time?

For further information about Land Arts of the American West & Santa Fe Art Institute:
http://sfai.org/about/

Contact:
Jeanette Hart-Mann, Field Director Land Arts of the American West
hartmann@unm.edu


With thanks to the Lannan Foundation for their generous contribution to Land Arts of the American West.

December 2, 2016

Erasure: Desert Markings

By Molly Zimmer
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 26, 2016


Participating in the group collaborative project, “Human Sundial”, my shift for standing as the dial was in the afternoon from 4:30pm -5:30pm. Showing up a little early, I was instructed to go erase all the footsteps from the Sundial filming location.


They had rigged up a small broom, attached to a long pole for people to use. I took the brushing to heart-- as many of my previous concepts for Big Bend State Park was about creating a tool to erase the footsteps of people who had crossed the border. In White Sands, the elements of wind and time erase all the tourist’s footsteps, but even through that process, a mark is always made--such as ripples in the sand. I had spent the first part of the day walking around exploring, where I noticed the way that grasses in low places and next to the rising sand dunes had created completely perfect circles in the sand around them. Depending on the length of grass fibers, it would be larger or smaller. I appreciated the way that blades of grass could mark distance, time like a sundial, and work as both erasing previous marks while constructing a new one. In the process of doing so, I chose to create a spiral mandala, ceremonially walking around and around as a dial would on a clock. Walking in a Clockwise direction, I started at the center moving outwards until i reached the point where the person’s shadow stopped.

December 1, 2016

Time is Money

By Nancy Dewhurst
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 25, 2016

“What’s the difference between time wasted and time well spent?”

Kaitlin’s parting question to me as we swapped shifts for the “Human Sundial”. Alongside our personal projects, we spent our first and only full day at White Sands taking turns to stand in the sun for an hour as a human sundial (a project initiated by visiting artists Annie Danis and Andrea Steves - Andrea is from collaborative Fictilis: http://www.fictilis.com/ - and primarily coordinated by Andrea and Hollis). Whilst on duty, the sundial would contemplate a question or prompt that their predecessor had left them.

My immediate thought in answer to Kaitlin’s question was: “time well spent is productive, time wasted is unproductive.

Is time really wasted if it doesn’t result in a product? Money is ingrained into the language we associate with time.

My parting question to Hollis:

How can we choose our words to talk about time without talking about money?

























Speaking of production, here I am thinking about being a machine with my Atlatl / giant spoons: https://youtu.be/MarJm6OqMnM






November 30, 2016

White Sands National Monument

By Rachel Zollinger
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 26, 2016


This place occupies an odd intersection of worlds: geologic wonder, niche ecosystem, missile range, national monument. All of these identifiers are conspicuously present in the landscape. The stark white gypsum sand, run through with the tracks of the few animals that make their homes here, the roar of aircraft flying above, the plowed and flattened parking areas dotted with funny picnic table shelters. The stillness that marks a desert is broken by the laughter and cheers of the tourists who pilgrimage here to slide down the soft sand.

November 28, 2016

Marking the Sand

By Hamshya Rajkumar
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 26, 2016

This sand is special. It doesn’t cling to you. You don’t sink into it. Firm bounciness.
Tempting to mark. On a vast scale. All over a dune. I could make it mine. So many dunes.
This must be how the domination of nature began.


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November 27, 2016

Above and Below

By Kaitlin Bryson
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 26, 2016

I am obsessed with microbial and mycorrhizal networks who live underground and weave together diverse root systems transporting nutrients, water, and food throughout species.  These creatures are especially important in places like White Sands, where the land is exceptionally difficult for plants to habituate.   These outstanding communities of strange and fascinating organisms are major players on our planet – and are some of the most vital to our terrestrial existence.  

My obsession has turned into a sincere desire to express and showcase (who I consider to be) the Earth’s MVP(s) within my work.  I have been playing around with different methods for drawing these connections, but feel like the projects and ideas are still in early phases.  Pictured below is my experiment at White Sands.  I made a weaving between two yucca shoots and then took leaf samples from each. Then, using a glove box that I constructed (to create a sterile environment) I took the leaf samples and cultured them in petri jars.  The hope is that the plant tissue will grow and express the mycelial network that runs throughout the vegetative body and throughout the soil.  Stay tuned.  


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November 26, 2016

Opening Reception: Land Arts of the American West 2016

We invite you all to attend our Opening Reception of this year's Land Arts of the American West 2016 exhibition at the University of New Mexico, John Sommers Gallery on Friday, December 9th, 2016 5pm-8pm.

Check out the Facebook Event for more information.

Photo by Rachel Zollinger

Land Arts of the American West 2016

Land Arts of the American West [LAAW] is an interdisciplinary, field-based studio art program at the University of New Mexico. During the program students travel extensively throughout the Southwest while camping and investigating environmental sites, human habitation systems, and questions facing the region. This year the students - alongside their independent field studies - investigated the theme of Water Rights. This exhibition features work by the artists - created on site, or in response to their experiences whilst out in the field.

With thanks to the Lannan Foundation for their generous contribution

When: December 5-15, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, December 9, 5pm - 8pm, 2016
Gallery Hours: December 5 - 15, 2016, 9am - 4:45pm

Where:
John Sommers Gallery
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Art Building #84, Room 202

Free and open to the public

ARTISTS:
Kaitlin Bryson
Nancy Dewhurst
Hollis Moore
Hamshya Rajkumar
Molly Zimmer
Rachel Zollinger

Land Arts of the American West: to inspire and support environmentally and socially engaged art practices through field-based bioregional teaching, collective learning, interdisciplinary research, community collaboration, and creative forms of publication and exhibition.

For further information about Land Arts of the American West:

Contact:
Jeanette Hart-Mann, Field Director Land Arts of the American West
hartmann@unm.edu



Is this what mars is like?

By Hollis Moore
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 31, 2016

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November 25, 2016

Water

By Hamshya Rajkumar
Big Bend State Park, TX
October 23, 2016

I went on a journey with Rachel today to track down water. We chased the water. We followed its meandering carve in the landscape. We saw its trace without a physical watery presence. We wandered its path and experienced everything it would.
Until we found a spring. With life spreading from it.
Water is very much so alive

Perhaps more so than we are nowadays.

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November 24, 2016

Erasing Tracks

By Molly Zimmer
Big Bend State Park, TX
October 23, 2016

I found it to be very strange, and also very important that we were staying in the Aranosa Campground in Big Bend State Park of Texas. It is located right next to the Rio Grande River, concluding our journey of seeing the beginning of the river in Headwaters, Creede, Colorado to where it becomes a border with the United States and Texas.

I began to wonder about if anybody had crossed where our campground was, and what would I do if I encountered somebody crossing the river?

How do I know how many people have crossed here? Would they cover their tracks? What kinds of materials would they try to conceal their steps with? How is the river one form of erasure? What kind of tool could I create to demonstrate people dreams of crossing unseen?

I ended up creating a broom that acts as an eraser- smoothing out the sand on the road. Utilizing the invasive grass species that grows along the river, I fashioned this broom to erase my steps, but no matter what tools I made another type of mark was always left. A trail of the distance I had traveled was imprinted into the sand.





November 22, 2016

Corals to water snakes to bobcats oh my!

By Hollis Moore
Big Bend State Park, TX
October 31, 2016


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I walked up the Rio Grande from X to X (see above photo). The walk was an action to remember what lives downstream…A suggestion to find common ground in a split landscape by thinking about what two countries share… A walk up instead of across.

The Rio Grande at this point becomes the border between Texas and Mexico until it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. It is here in Big Bend, that Energy Transfer Partners is planning on installing the Trans-Pecos pipeline underneath the Rio Grande. The pipeline will be near enough to groundwater and surface water that if it explodes or leaks it will cause an environmental disaster.

The Rio Grande’s mouth is in the Gulf of Mexico. I wonder how the river acts as a lifeline for the Gulf, which is still recovering from the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill? Maybe it helps to flush out the contaminated salt water and sediment? If the Rio Grande does act like vein to the Gulf of Mexico, then why would we risk contaminating the Rio Grande (more than it already is)?

With these questions on my mind I walked upstream to give a voice to the marine animals and plants of the Gulf. I thought about the animals and plants I encountered over the summer while volunteering for a coral restoration project. Maybe the stories of the victims from one environmental disaster can help prevent another.

What I didn’t know during my walk was what animals I would encounter along the way. The water was too filled with milky, green sediment for me to look into the river. I noticed some dark, slithery creatures skirt away as I walked closer-probably river otters. I heard a couple of splashes and once stepped on something moving-most likely trout or catfish. I also saw something that looked like the head of a turtle, which may have been the Rio Grande slider. Or, much to my startled dismay could have been any of the dozens snakes that live in the area. Apparently all snakes can swim and rattlesnakes can even swim underwater!

Most exciting though was my encounter with a bobcat. As dusk, on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, something caught my eye. I don’t know how long the bobcat had been watching me, but when I noticed it we looked at each other for several minutes. I thought the bobcat looked curious. Inside I felt enthralled, but also calm and honestly quite comfortable. I will remember the bobcat always.

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The bobcat, the river otters, fish, turtles, swimming serpents, and birds, that I met during my upstream walk deserve a voice before the Trans-Pecos pipeline is installed. This is a wild, prosperous desert ecosystem in Bend Bend and we cannot let the oil and gas companies obliterate the wildlife as they did to the dolphins, whales, birds, fish, corals, and sea turtles in the Gulf during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

November 20, 2016

Atlatl

By Nancy Dewhurst
Big Bend State Park, TX
November 1, 2016

We are at the Big Bend State Park, on the Texan side of the border between Texas and Mexico. The Rio Grande divides the two. At the Centre for Big Bend Studies at the Sul Ross State University we learned about the Atlatl (among other things) - a spear-throwing tool used by Native Americans up to 30,000 years ago in the Big Bend area and around the Southwest. The Atlatl would serve as an extension to the arm, allowing the hunter to achieve greater velocity in their throw.

I was enthralled by the idea of these ‘arm extensions’ and immediately began thinking about other devices I could create to extend the length of my arm and my throwing power.

I spent the first two days at Big Bend creating giant spoons - the handles made from Yucca stalks and the bowls made from wire and woven grass.

For the rest of the time I explored these objects, their relation to my body, and their relation to the space I was in. Throwing stones and mud across the river, I explored the notion of ‘border’ - who owns the fluid space of the river? Whirling the spoons in the air, I claimed ownership to the wind.

November 19, 2016

Water in the Desert

By Rachel Zollinger
Big Bend State Park, TX
October 23, 2016

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Check out her video at https://youtu.be/MQr1NGbq-xM


November 18, 2016

Lifelines

By Kaitlin Bryson
Big Bend State Park, TX
October 24, 2016

Today I sat on the banks of the Rio Grande and offered my hand to the Rio.  With needles collected from a nearby Prickly Pear Cactus, I tattooed the line of the river into and around the side of my hand. This gesture is a form of acknowledgement; the Rio is now embedded into my lifelines, just as I am woven into its systems.  
As we traveled down the Rio Grande this semester learning and thinking about water rights, it has become incredibly clear that the Rio is a living being and is the tie that binds it all together.  It is a visceral link, a blood line that runs through the land, which supports and nourishes every aspect of life in the Southwest.  It connects all of the varying strata – the lives of humans and nonhumans, culture, spirituality, history, and ecology – into a dynamic and ever-changing system.
I see the completed line on my hand only as the beginning of this piece.  It is a mark that will most certainly change, just as the Rio itself does.  I will document and record the shifts, erosion, and changes that this line undergoes as I continue to work for//with//within this watershed and bioregion.  
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