Water Preserves: A Photo/Video Installation (2011)

by 1051805

Water Preserves was first exhibited at the State of the Art Gallery in Ithaca, NY Feb. 6. 2009. It was reconstructed into an altered form at Alfred State College's DMA Gallery in April 2009. In October 2009 it morphed again at the George Waters Gallery as part of the Elmira College faculty exhibition. Water Preserves shown at SOAG and DMA included a loop of videos of ten international video artists whom Jan invited to collaborate with her. She asked that they send a short video expressing their own ideas about water preserves.

Full Description

Still photos, video installation; video projected through mason jars filled with water; Includes special collaborative single channel video: Alicia Felberbaum, Marty McCutcheon, Michael Chang, Simone Stoll, Niclas Hallberg, Stina Pehrsdotter, Kai Lossgott, Junichiro Shindo, Brad Wise and Kika Nicolela

Configuration of exhibition changed according to gallery dimensions.

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Artist Statement

Water Preserves explores our complex and sometimes precarious relationship with water by visually and aurally examining its beauty, magic, terror, and poetry. The idea for the installation came to me about a year ago after reading Melanie Goodman’08’s blog that included this quote from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick:

"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation."

Initially I imagined glass canning jars of water (with labels detailing its sources) stacked like strawberry preserves in a corner cupboard. Being too literal, I decided to try projecting video recordings of water through the jars of water and onto the surrounding walls. I tested this in my living room and to my surprise, the sounds of birds, automobiles, and voices created an unexpected, prayerful ambience. I knew then that the installation would center around a transformation of the gallery space into a meditation room. Water Preserves debuted at the State of the Art Gallery in Ithaca in February, was reworked for the DMA Gallery at Alfred State College in April, and is now in a new form at the George Waters Gallery. By immersing the viewer in a space shaped by sound, light and image, my intent is create a moment for viewers to meditate about the power and fragility of water in our ecosystem, in our culture, and in our personal lives.


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