PLEXUS: Any complex structure containing an intricate network of parts
“There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. The horizontal threads are in space. The vertical threads are in time. At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual, and every individual is a crystal bead. And every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net, but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.” Rigveda
Plexus is a large scale sculpture and sound installation created in a collaboration between myself and Brazilian composer and pianist Jovino Santos Neto.
The installation is about the unique challenges, and diverse community network of Seattle’s South Park neighborhood and Duwamish River Valley. Through sculpture and sound, the project explores several types of plexuses related to the area, such as the plexus of a fishing net, the plexus of a community of people, neighborhood streets, natural eco systems, and the plexus that travels through time embodied by the heritage of people and of place.
The image of the fishing net comes directly from the Duwamish River and it’s history as the primary life giving force, and currently the most damaged resource in the area. The net also symbolizes the intersecting lines of a community network, embodying the characteristics of inter-connectivity, intricacy, flexibility and strength, which are all functional aspects of a strong community of people.
For 10,000 years the river’s resources sustained The Duwamish Tribe. People still fish in the river today, even though it has been designated as an EPA Superfund Site because it is highly polluted from toxic chemicals left by Seattle’s industrialized commerce. The circular collage pieces are made from daily fishing reports from todays salmon fisherman on the Duwamish, and images and symbols of the Duwamish tribe, representing the connection of the current community to the heritage of people and their relationship to the ecosystem of the area. The circles are also broken, representing the broken, yet still alive, relationship between human beings and the natural eco system.
Jovino Santos Neto’s musical compositions, embedded into the installation pieces, were crafted from recordings made of the people and the environment around South Park. There are sounds of water, airplanes, and voices in the many languages of the community’s residents, creating rich aural textures, to which Jovino added flutes, piano and other instruments.
Also included in the exhibit is artwork created by 115 Chief Sealth High School art students from a workshop I conducted in which the students explored their personal sense of place as related to their neighborhoods and their classroom community. These concepts were examined through a process of writing, drawing, sculpture and collage.
Plexus was sponsored by La Sala http://www.lasalaseattle.org/, and generously supported by CoCA Gallery’s “CoCA Lab” Artist in Residence Program, King County 4Culture, City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and The Seattle Foundation.
Special thanks to:
Jovino Santos Neto
Sky and Anne Dimond
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