Back in May, I had an exhibit at Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco. A few of the projects already discussed here were part of the exhibit: The Fix, Copepodilia, Pacific Falls, and Collision. I also showed three new selections from a series of videos called “In the Time of…” which were inspired by Pool. The works were all about the small yet essential creatures easily overlooked in a vast landscape.
These little videos are about the experience of gazing into a tide pool, and the timelessness of that experience. Maybe timelessness isn’t the right word… Anyhow, In the Time of… led to another video work called Eclipse and that has led to a new idea for a larger video installation. More on all of this later, but in the meantime:
I wonder, sometimes, if this obsession with tide pools is foolish. Has everyone done this as a kid, laid on their bellies and stared into a rocky little pool filled with strange life forms? This past weekend I was talking with two adults in their 70s. One was an architect and designer, the other a french scholar, both professors for many years in Montreal. My granddaughter came over to talk with us, and I mentioned that I was taking her to the tide pools later that day. They asked, “What’s a tide pool?” I stuttered. How to describe these universal worlds…? My granddaughter offered that there are lots of starfish in tide pools and they said that they’d never seen a living star fish, only photos – not even video!
Our oceans are vast and take up most of the planet, but we’re small in comparison, and need to make our way to the edges to experience the saltwater shoreline. With privatization, industry, ports, pollution, highways, etc. it’s not easy to experience the shore even when one lives close to an ocean. And many shorelines have marshes and other intertidal ecosystems, but no tide pools to speak of. So I guess there’s relevance in attempting to share this experience. It’s a big part of what art does, right? It takes us to places (both physical and not) and give us experiences that we will otherwise never have? And then, hopefully, tap into our capacity for empathy? Cause us to stop, slow down, muse, maybe have a revelation?