Site-Specific Installation for Solar Panels, DVD Player & Data Projector, (2005/06)
A dead tree , complete with roots (20-30 ft., approx) is cut exactly in half. The root end is mounted in the centre of the floor at one end of a rectangular gallery space, upturned. The upturned tree and roots are brightly lit by halogen lamps, casting a strong shadow on the opposite gallery wall. Small solar panels are arranged irregulalrly on the roots, wired in a series with the wires grouped and bundled and flowing down the trunk and in a bunch along the floor towards the centre of the gallery. The bunched cables terminate via a junction box at a 12 volt battery positioned in the centre of the space.
The top half of the tree is mounted in centre of the ceiling pointing downwards, it’s branches reaching down towards the floor, numerous small rectangular sheets of heavy white paper are fixed to the branches, arranged to resemble leaves.
Multiple wires, fed from the battery output, and raising up from the floor, are connected individually to different tree branches, and then fed towards the trunk forming a bundled core. These cables are connected to a junction box which feeds a ceiling-mounted DC powered DVD player. A mains powered data projector, mounted on the ceiling at the opposite end of the gallery, (above the roots) is fed a pre-recorded image sequence via the DVD player of the original living tree, complete with leaves, which are being blown by a fresh breeze. The projected image also creates a strong silhouette of the upturned tree on the gallery wall.
The sound of the wind in the leaves fills the space.
The image sequence cycles continuously.
Themes and Ideas:
Since 1994 I have produced and exhibited a number of gallery-based video installations utilising solar and wind power including Perpetual Motion (Saw Gallery, Ottawa, 1994 & Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 1996), Fire, Ice & Steam (Middlesbrough Gallery,1995) Mothlight (Museum of Natural History, Pisa; Glass Box Gallery, Salford,1998), Mothlight II (291 Gallery, London, 2001) and For William Henry Fox Talbot (The Pencil of Nature) (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2002).
Most recently, working with engineer Dr. John Calderbank, I have produced Interwoven Motion (2004), a prototype outdoor video installation in Grizedale Forest. Fixed temporarily into a living tree on the edge of a forest overlooking Coniston Water in the English Lakes, Interwoven Motion harnessed wind and solar energy to power multiple video cameras whilst responding to changing elements within the surrounding landscape including wind speed and ambient light levels.
Resurrection draws directly on the experience of building Interwoven Motion, bringing both technological and natural elements back into the “white cube” gallery space to create a companion piece. The living tree of the Grizedale project has been conjured up in a revivified form within the interior of the gallery/museum. The video images of the fluttering leaves in Resurrection present a record of a previous (living) existence, recreated via technology. The electrical energy used to bring the resurrected tree back to life is transformed within the gallery space from electricity to light and back again; the shimmering leaves are experienced as both light reflectors and light receptors, the solar panels as both surrogate leaves and transforming technology.