New Bearings

The sun is finally out and the irresistible urge to lie on the grass for hours on end has taken over the entire college campus.

Having just finished my finals, I found the time to start thinking about my last summer as a college student. I wanted to work on a project my last semester that merged all the lines of thought I've had the past two years since transferring out of RISD. The idea is to create a public art installation on Middlebury's campus that connects people to the landscape in Sitka, Alaska through interaction with the local landscape. In preparation for this, I will be spending the bulk of my time in Minnesota at the Franconia Sculpture Park and then off to Sitka to immerse myself in the stories there. 

Photograph by Berett Wilber. More about fishing with her dad in the Sitka Sound can be found here.

Photograph by Berett Wilber. More about fishing with her dad in the Sitka Sound can be found here.

I was heavily inspired by Irmgard Emmelhainz's essay Images Do Not Show: The Desire to See in the Anthropocene and wanted to explore how this climate change defined era calls for a critical reflection on what vision means. Our lives have become so intertwined with digital technologies that these flat virtual images on our screens occupy as much of our landscape as our "real" physical landscapes. As Anna Tsing says, our world is patchy. We may all live in the Anthropocene, but each of us experiences climate change at different rates and to varying degrees because of our surrounding geography and embodied histories.

In order to survive, we need to continue to unearth bridges between communities that feel disconnected and support each other despite disparate geographies, just as our global ecological system does. My practice is focused on attributing to these cultural shifts, and pulls together multiple ways of knowing and making to achieve them.

Through reading, conversation, making and recording, I will start to form the final art work for the Fall. 

I will be documenting the growth of my practice here, joined by family and friends along the way. 

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Nicole Cheng1 Comment