groundswell

Installation views at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA, July, 1995. Mixed media, custom electronics, sound (dimensions variable)



In Groundswell,pieces of clothing are hung from support lines wired for sound. Shifting air currents buffet the garments, and their movements tug on the lines to produce an uneasy chorus of groans and cracks which emanate from a pair of audio speakers attached to panes of glass in a set of street-level windows. To best hear the piece, a visitor must lean their head against the window, thus enacting a combination of the terms "ear to the ground" and "nose to the glass." Situated in a building now closed to the public due to earthquake risk, the piece overlooks San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza, a campground for transients bordered by government buildings. Within these site conditions of geologic peril and social neglect, the piece refers to the twin hazards of public opinion and seismic activity in a three-strikes, fault-lined California. An allegory for natural and human-made tempests, Groundswell is an articulation of public and private consciousness in the face of forces over which we have no control.