THE CRYING POST PROJECT
New Post in Flint, Michigan, June 17, 2017
Click here to see video
Click here to read article from the Leonardo Journal about this project
Click here to read article from the Winter, 2019 issue of the Orion Magazine
The indigenous Australian people relate to the world in a way that has had a powerful effect on me. I have responded to their belief that physical reality (the landscape and more) is created by their "performance" within their environment. In addition (and not unrelated), I feel as an artist, that I must react to the damage caused by humans to the natural environment, and other closely related events of destruction. To this end in 2001 I began work on a long term project: a memorial to the earth's pain. This memorial consists of a network of painted wood staffs (1" diameter) placed around the world. Each staff rises above ground about 9 feet, and at the top is a solar powered "cry" generator. This small device is controlled by a computer chip and emits a tone of randomly varying lengths, that can be heard for up to about 30 to 40 feet.
I began this project with a post in Australia. There, I responded to both the tragic history of the original inhabitants, and the ongoing salinization of huge tracts of land, which is well on its way to making even more of the continent inhospitable for any life. The second post has gone up at the public historic site of the Cherokee Court House in Gore, Oklahoma USA. Here, it is across the road from The Sequoyah Fuels Corp. uranium processing factory, which was closed down after a series of fatal accidents and uranium leaks into the surrounding environment. Its placement is also a reminder of the genocide of the Cherokee people during the infamous Trail of Tears. A post is placed near Sellafield, England, the location of one of the only two uranium processing plants left in the world that still legally dumps raw radioactive waste directly into the ocean. The fifth post went up in Bhopal, India. You will recall the tragic chemical gas spill at the Union Carbide plant in 1984 killing and permanently injuring tens of thousands of people. A post was erected in Galicia, Spain to memorialize the Prestige oil spill which devastated both the environment and the livelihoods of many local people, as did the sinking of the Exxon-Valdez, site of another post. A post has been put up near the Hanford Nuclear Facility in Washington, the largest and most expensive cleanup in U.S. history. The most recent post has been erected in Ushuaia to mark the Ozone Hole and more. Future sites will include Chernobyl and South Africa.
In addition to the actual posts, there are other aspects of this project which are created in different media toward different ends. A poetic evocation of each site is found in a series of digital prints consisting of images related to the environment and story of each location. In addition, a data rich web site has been created to include information and stories related to each site (see link below). This information includes, but is not limited to, the following: geography, ecology, sociology, philosophy, history, folklore, and personal stories. An extensive description of the overall themes of this project was published in Leonardo, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (Volume 36, Number 5, 2003). The underlying metaphor of this project is that of mapped relationships. As it progresses these sites, one by one, will be mapped across the globe, creating a network of pain, but also one of potential change and catharsis.
For the interactive Flash Website
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