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Post #4, The Children of Plutonium.” 2002, Sellafield, England
The Crying Post Project
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 - especially the landscape - is created by their "performance" within their environment. In addition, I feel that as an artist, I must react to the damage caused by humans to the natural environment, and other closely related events of cultural 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. 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.
In addition to the posts themselves, there are other components to this project that are created in different media. A poetic evocation of each site is found in a series of digital prints. In addition, a data rich website has been created to include information and stories related to each site. This site includes an interactive 3D environment and an interactive 2D Flash site, marking the locations of the posts, along with images, texts and internet links related to the content. This information includes, but is not limited to, the following: geography, ecology, sociology, philosophy, history, folklore, and personal stories. (Sadly, owing to changes in internet technology these no longer function) A detailed description of this project was published in Leonardo, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. More recently a less technical article was published in Orion.
Post #1, On the Road to Lake Mungo.” 2001, New South Wales, Australia
Post #5, Silent White Death.” 2003, Bhopal, India
I began this project, appropriately, with a post in Australia. I responded to both the tragic history of the original inhabitants, and the ongoing salinization of huge tracts of land, which will make even more of the continent inhospitable to life. The second post was installed at the public historic site of the Cherokee Court House in Gore, Oklahoma USA. Here, it is across the road from The Sequoyah Fuels Corporation 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. Another post was 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 was placed 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. One 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 was installed in Flint, Michigan to mark the water poisoning by the state government.

You can find links to links for each post by clicking on a button at the top.

For more information about artist Dennis Summers go to Strategic Technologies for Art, Globe and Environment.
Video by Jerome Cook
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