On the Level/Under Water

February 22, 2010


A collage view of "On the Level/Under Water"

This installation ” On the Level/Under Water” was commissioned by Burlington City Arts for the Burlington Vermont waterfront as part of the 2009 quadricentennial celebration of Lake Champlain. This temporary site specific  installation was made of hundreds of bamboo poles  arranged in a radiating pattern on which a perfectly  level datum was marked with a series of blue reflective tape tags. The blue tags extended to objects (trees, light poles, fences, electric boxes etc…) in the surrounding park. When viewed at a particular height ( approx 5′ from grade) this three dimensional field collapses into a level blue line which echos the line of shore on the opposite side of the lake. Water naturally reaches a uniform level and was used historically in construction as  the precursor to the site level. The “water level” was used  to establish building foundations and survey marks for engineering projects and cities dating back millennia. I am interested in this interface between a “natural” substance, water,  and it’s use to establish an  idealized spatial geometry,  a “level” plain, within the varied  topography and irregularities of a landscape. This installation was vandalized  as the installation neared completion  and was unable to be reinstalled. I will be reusing the materials in this project  to create a new installation, a reinterpretation/reinvention,  for Burlington City Art’s Firehouse Gallery, Downtown Burlington in 2011.

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