Vindo de Cabo Verde

After arriving in Cape Verde I began to notice the proliferance of plastic grocery bags around the landscape. It seemed, that everywhere you looked there were plastic bags; half buried or floating through the air.

Another observation I had was the ubiquity of concrete in the landscape. Here, all buildings are made of concrete block and floors are cast concrete. Many of the buildings go unfinished for long periods of time; laying in wait for financing. As a result, raw gray concrete is everywhere you look in the built environment. I chose to use concrete as the primary material in this body of work for both metaphoric and actual reasons. Because of concrete’s wide availability and proliferance in the built environment, it serves as a symbolic reflectant to the resilience of our built world. Concrete communicates longevity. The physical characteristics of this material also provide tremendous design latitude, particularly in regard to concrete’s plasticity. Cast concrete can take nearly any form, so it is at once ridged and immovable and at the same time supple and malleable.

Arma, 2011, concrete and carbon, approx. 26 x 26 x 26cm (L x W x H).

I wanted to combine concrete with found and discarded objects in an attempt to redefine the perception of the discarded. For example in the series Arma, I cast concrete into plastic bags of the same size and began to stack the bags, one on the other, while the concrete was wet. This process yielded keyed forms which transformed the plastic bags into indomitable and heavy forms. One could no longer look passed the bags, formerly light and forgettable. Now transformed into objects that demanded consideration or at the very least inspired curiosity. I hope too, that the boundary of beauty is flirted with. Can an ordinary plastic grocery bag be beautiful? What do these objects became once they are realized in concrete?

Arma, 2011, installation, concrete and carbon, approx. 25 x 25 x 26cm (L x W x H).

Testing the boundaries of cast concrete is the series Berçu. Here, wet concrete was gathered into cloth and laid over discarded objects, like an old gas cylinder or water tank, again to use the trash object as a launching point into the language of beauty. Is it important that the trash object from which, the new sculpture was incepted, is any longer perceptible?

Berçu, 2011, concrete, approx. 60 x 55 x 40cm (L x W x H).

In the series Brotu ku dedu some of these methods have coalesced. The long vertical form, or dedu, was created using recycled fruit juice containers and a salvaged connecting rod from a large commercial truck. The smaller suspended element came from combining the cloth forming process and circlips salvaged from the same piston assembly as the connecting rod.  The foot assembly is made up of a concrete element as well as a volcanic basalt element. Included in this work is a form of small bamboo found in abundance in Cape Verde called Karis. The Karis serves to physically attach the two dominant elements but also injects an important natural discourse into the work.

Brotu ku dedu, 2011, concrete, found steel elements, karis, approx. 30 x 90 x 170cm (L x W x H).

 

CASE STUDIES

The Last Grass Machine

The Last Grass Machine

The Last Grass Machine is designed to bring the viewer into this world where grass is no longer prevalent. This machine grows grass as a metaphor for nature.

The Cistern Fantapparatus

The Cistern Fantapparatus

The Cistern Fantapparatus is a machine that demonstrates the fragility of water as an essential natural resource.

Mobile Life Support Unit - Model 1

Mobile Life Support Unit - Model A

The Mobile Life Support Unit –Model A is a pedal-powered, petroleum pumping, life-support unit.

 
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