Found Wood, Projection-Mapped Abstract Animation, LED Circuit, Arduino, Fabric Light Diffuser, 16 x 7 x 4 in. Viewing Chamber: White Pine 2x4s, Hardware, Blackout Curtains, Tension Wire, Stools, 10x14x8 ft., 7:00.

Access to the SE Portland Tool Library made this work possible. 

Eagle Creek was exhibited by after/time collective (Portland, OR) in the group show “after/image 01: the third terrain.” It was the innaugural show in after/time’s satellite space in downtown Portland.

Work Statment:
Eagle Creek centers on a piece of wood I recovered while hiking the trail in the Columbia River Gorge that bears the same name. As many in the Portland area are aware, in 2017 there was a massive fire at Eagle Creek. This specimen very conspicuously wears the evidence of its lived experience. Rippled, smooth and almost shiny on one side, charred with dirt and bits of moss on the other, it appears to be a layer of softwood that was separated from both the bark and the deeper layers of hardwood during the fire. Its waves fascinate me. Did the high water content in this layer experience something like boiling as it was overcome with flames? What exactly has it gone through?

Hiking through burned areas is a hauntingly beautiful experience; the burned-black bark and shiny exposed silver wood, the fallen bodies of downed trees, the bright green of new growth, the fluffy white tops of fireweed. It feels at once dangerous, peaceful, mournful, and optimistic. The forest has lost what it once was and will now become something new.

In this installation, elements were made with precise consideration to specific material qualities as well as my personhood at the time. Everything is painstakingly calibrated so as to complicate the reading of image, material, space, and light. Housed within a viewing chamber that has been designed and constructed explicitly for this show, they create a time and space of phenomenological judgment in which we use our senses to perceive and relate directly to the physical world.

 David Raskin says, “credible art keeps the universe open, providing transitions rather than meanings.” I don’t have answers for the world’s problems. I do hope that this work might offer an opportunity to momentarily exist outside of dominant structures, thereby revealing the incredible power we have to imagine something different.

This work isn’t trying to sell you anything. It just asks us to look and feel, and to be aware of the processes by which we look and feel. And maybe we can try to keep doing that out in the world.

Full Video:

Image credits: Simone Fischer


© 2024 Pamela Hadley