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Wake | 2018

January 11 - March 31

An immersive installation comprised of light, shadow, sound, and water -  installed in a repurposed shipping container-gallery in Oklahoma City, OK.

Oklahoma Contemporary Showroom
Oklahoma City, OK

With a shared interest in our lived experience within the built and natural world and an affinity for the inherent qualities of material in conveying our ideas, we employ the material and poetic qualities of water combined with light and audio recordings to create a multi-sensory constructed environment within the walls of the gallery.

Sound acts as a disruption both by interrupting the quiet contemplative space of the gallery and by physically agitating the water through submerged speakers. Audio recordings of industrial water usage such as hydraulic fracturing, thermoelectric power generation, center-pivot irrigation, mining, and municipal infrastructure, call attention, both visually and audibly, to the direct impact of these human interventions.

Light, playing off the surface of the water via carefully positioned directional light fixtures, reflects the water’s movements, magnifying its ripples and waves and incorporating the interplay of light, sound, and water onto the walls of the gallery. As the viewer ascends the stairs to the gallery, the reflections are visible before the water. This offers a visual cue of the experience to come, in which the viewer is immersed in a dimly-lit space articulated by muted sounds and their corresponding undulations on the surface of the water and reflected onto the walls. The result may be intriguing, meditative, beautiful, calming, unsettling, disturbing, ominous, or more likely, a combination thereof.

Situated within a repurposed shipping container, a symbol of global industry, we consider the significance of water not only as our most valuable natural resource and a visceral part of human experience, but also as a commodifiable and transportable good and a conduit for shipping. In the context of transit, water is both the thing we transport (i.e. moving water from deep aquifers to our faucets or to injection wells and from the Rocky Mountains to the desert of California) and the means of transportation (90% of world trade is carried by sea. One shipping vessel could carry as many as 10,000 containers the size of this gallery at one time.) By ‘filling’ the gallery/shipping container with water we invert the original relationship of vessel and mode of transportation.

We are interested in the impact of this work in its location in the center of the country, in a land-locked state hundreds of miles from any ocean and largely supported by industries such as natural resource extraction, farming, and transportation and with serious concerns relating to water including outdated infrastructure, severe drought, risk of contamination and extreme weather.

Rena Detrixhe + Grace Grothaus

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