The exhibition is made in collaboration with For-Site in California and the Nevada Museum of Art and will be a show about place, referencing climate, ecology, history, land use and appropriation. The title itself references The Nevada Test Site, but gives me the excuse to explore in more depth these two natural phenomena (mushrooms and Clouds) which have preoccupied me for over 25 years and to use them as a focus to find connections which link them to this high desert and its history and to the wider cycle of life and death.
In February this year I visited both ForSite in the gold mining Sierra Nevada foothills near Nevada City and the Museum in Reno, where I was able to see the space and talk to scientists at the Desert Research Institute who have offices in the city and also in Las Vegas, where I also able to visit the Atomic Testing Museum which is linked to it.
The result is that I have been corresponding and talking to Lynne Fernstermaker, a microbiologist working for the DRI and together we have explored ways to make visible a micro-organism growing in the soil on Frenchmans Flat, the area where atmospheric nuclear tests were made. Lynne has produced a microscopic image of Microcoleus vaginatus which looks very similar in form to the dried wash of Frenchmans Flat seen from space. These images will make one work, and we will write the partial gene sequence (559) for the organism in large stencilled letters along one 60’ wall in soil from the Test Site. In seven blocks of 80 each they will resemble tomb stones. Together with the photographic images, this will make the works ‘Life in the Field of Death I & II.’
We will then take this number – 559 and reproduce it as 559 random stones built into a low primitive shelter on the floor of the gallery. The stones will be collected from the land close to Pyramid lake on the Paiute reservation.
This is a blog of ongoing projects starting with: 1) Antarctica -Dec. 2006 - February 2007 2) Work made from the experience 2008 3) Nevada Feb. - Oct. 2008
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