The Wildlife Divide Asheville is an extension of a project that started in Las Vegas, Nevada. The project was to point out the resounding differences and high contrast between the natural and urban habitats and to explore where the two intersect.
Asheville is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. With its setting in the Appalachian Mountain Range and its long history of artistic creativity, Ashville inspired me to invite two locals in the community to explore the area around the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center. We were to look for and find places where wildlife thresholds may be found, places where remnants of what once was or could be for our ecological and urban futures could be seen.
Anna Toth and Asia Suler agreed to work on this project with me and I am eternally grateful to be invited to Asheville for a second time and to work with these amazingly talented women.
The Wildlife Divide takes place on Saturday April 9th at noon, we will meet at the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center and walk through 4 locations in Asheville, while discussing documentation of time, the ecology and natural fabrics and fibers. There will be a collaborative loom activity at the end. To attend please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Bring good walking shoes, some water, and an umbrella.
The website for this project can be found here.
This event is organized by the Media Arts Project in conjunction with the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center
I am pleased to inform that The Wildlife Divide will be active in the near future with workshops and exhibits presented in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Center of Las Vegas. The Wildlife Divide Project was started in Las Vegas in 2012 by artist and curator David Sanchez Burr. The program began as part of the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area art programing. The U.S Forest Service in conjunction with the Southern Nevada Conservancy and the Great Basin Institute, needed programming that would engage the public at large through the arts and have these activities serve as a vehicle to increased education and knowledge about the natural, scientific, and historic value of the area.
About the Wildlife Divide
The Wildlife Divide Project was started in Las Vegas in 2012 by artist and curator David Sanchez Burr. The program began as part of the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area art programing. The U.S Forest Service in conjunction with the Southern Nevada Conservancy and the Great Basin Institute, needed programming that would engage the public at large through the arts and have these activities serve as a vehicle to increased education and knowledge about the natural, scientific, and historic value of the area.
Given the unique landscapes and topography of the region in combination with the rapidly encroaching urban areas the Wildlife Divide was designed as a means to explore the threshold between these vastly different ecologies. Art programming in the natural landscape needed to address the increasing divide between pedestrian knowledge of the biological and natural systems that surround our city and the work of the scientists and researchers that study these areas. Art projects, workshops, lectures and exhibitions were designed to thread through the threshold of urban and natural environments, and investigate how these ecologies could someday connect in ways that are both sustainable and conscious of preservation. Although this project started in Mt Charleston it became increasingly evident that the Wildlife Divide could be useful anywhere where there is a need to build community consciousness towards preservation, ecosystems, art and science.
In the past two years the program has succeeded in providing 12 workshops ranging in themes like video production, sound art, condition reporting, sewing and drawing. The typical workshop consists of a naturalist and an artist teaming up to present a short talk giving the participants an opportunity to learn from local artists and scientists. The talks are followed by a workshop in an array of subjects and participants are encouraged to explore the natural are and bring food for a picnic. The workshops start at 11 and are often finished by 4pm and are typically attended by 10 to 30 participants. The demographic categories are far reaching and the program has had success in reaching youth and adult interest.
Exhibitions happen at the end of the summer season typically around October. The exhibition at Mt Charleston was executed by converting a shipping container to a gallery and hauling it up to the mountain. The Wildlife Divide also engages in urban areas proven by its 2012 exhibition at Emergency Arts in downtown Las Vegas. Future plans include mobile exhibitions that visit areas in Clark County where cultural activities are not easily accessible.
It is not often that one gets to enjoy the cool and serene mountains on a hot Vegas summer day and meet 25 other people to produce a totally random stop motion video, but that is exactly what we did on August 10th 2013. Checko Salgado is one of Nevada’s most active photographers, there must be clones of him because I see him everywhere. He was also the best fit for this project as he often uses the burst features on his cameras to make some interesting stop motion like short videos and he is an easy going, great person to hang around with. Each participant was asked to bring something from their home as part of the stop motion set, we used the upper Lee Meadows in the Spring Mountains as the location. Fun was had and lots of exercise. The video shows multiple angles from the various cameras the public brought, we had all types of cameras: Point and shoot, smart phones, go-pro’s, and DSLR’s. I had to think about how to emphasize each angle while editing this video and came up with a different tonality for each angle, I added some original music of mine for the audio bed which I thought fit well with the Da Da’ esque experiment that happened as a result of the day’s activities. I also added a time lapse movie at the end to illustrate how by accident this experiment turned out to be a great cardio exercise. This will be the last Wildlife Divide post for some time so enjoy and hope to see you soon once again up on Mt Charleston.
David Sanchez Burr
The Wildlife Divide
Yasmina Chavez likes sound, sometimes very loud sounds. So it comes as no surprise that when she was invited to do a workshop at Mt Charleston she had participants create visual interpretations of sound while blindfolded.
Here is the description of the project:
This project will ask participants to investigate the visual aspects of sound by eliminating sight. There are two parts to the project. The first is drawing sound and the second sculpting it. The participants will wear a blindfold made of white material to obscure vision but not eliminate light with the purpose of creating a placid environment and not evoke fear. This will heighten their sense of sound by eliminating any visual distractions. They will then be asked to interpret what they hear and create a visible version of it through drawing and sculpting.
During the drawing and sculpting sessions the participant will get two sound experiences to interpret. One will come from an album of my choice and the other will be the surrounding sound (nature’s album).
For the drawing session, each participant will get a white t-shirt. They will interpret the album I play for them on the front of the t-shirt and nature’s album on the back using a sharpie and pen. They will be asked to use hand movement to make marks as if the sound was wind and it was moving their hand around. The front of this t-shirt symbolizes our focus on the synthetic and the back symbolize the ever present nature that we sometimes loose sight of.
For the sculpting session, each participant will get two mounds of clay, one for each sound experience. They will be asked to use their hands as their interpretive tools and create a structure using strength and pressure. They will then be asked to find objects and link them together.
This project is an investigation of our awareness on the synthetic vs. the natural. They are opposing sides but together make a whole. Each side is represented in the resulted works.
Everyone left with new knowledge and information about sound artists like William Basinski, Aren Ambarchi, Boards of Canada, and Fennesz which were playing on a battery driven turntable. In addition to the fun and relaxing experiment, the fabric Yasmina provided to draw on also happened to be wearable cotton t-shirts.
Our last workshop for 2013 was with artist Danielle Kelly. Her ongoing Bouse House project is a participatory and interactive art project that invites participants to sew new additions to the ever growing tapestry.
Bouse House was originally conceived in 2009 to celebrate the fictional founding of a new school for design, craft and fabrication in the rural town of Bouse, Arizona. History is re-written at the Bouse House School, modeled after what is imagined to have been a female-dominated, century old Bauhaus School. Existing sometime in a post-capitalist, post industrial future peopled by nomadic tribes, the female-dominated Bouse House recognizes the urgent demand for a resuscitation of the rigor, creativity, and feminine community that steered the original Bauhaus School via the hallowed Weaving Workshop.
Here are some of the participants and their creations:
Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of organizing some art workshops and events with some incredible people on Mount Charleston. It started when the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area needed to fill a gap in their art programing. The area wanted to do something that would engage the public at large through art and serve as a vehicle to increased education and knowledge about the areas natural, scientific, and historic importance. After thinking through potential ideas I proposed the Wildlife Divide. I felt that todays art programming in the natural landscape needed to address the increasing divide between the general knowledge of the biological and natural systems that maintain urban and natural areas, and the scientific research in these areas I felt that people could directly engage with those that do the research. There was an opening to design instructional art projects that would thread through the theme of urban and natural environments, and investigate how these ecologies could someday connect in ways that are both sustainable and conscious of preservation. Although this project started in Mt Charleston it has become increasingly evident that the Wildlife Divide could be useful anywhere where there is a need to build community consciousness in respect to preservation,wildlife, the arts, urbanism, and our modern technological times.
Over the course of two years there were a total of eleven workshops each inviting a visiting artist from the region and often a naturalist or representative from participating regional and national organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service, Great Basin Institute or the Southern Nevada Conservancy.The participants would learn important information about natural, geological and historical relevant to the area and participate in a unique workshop that built on the concept of the Wildlife Divide.
One of the activities designed for the Fall Festival on two consecutive years was the collage mosaic, in 2012 the themed tree was the Pinyon Pine, 2013 was the year for the Bristlecone Pine . I will be posting the last of the few projects over the course of the next few days here are the time lapse videos of the mosaics. The mosaic was made by visitors who created a collage on a panel based on the image that corresponded to the grid.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the Wildlife Divide happen.
Pinyon Pine 2012
Bristlecone Pine 2013