Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Sound of Change

I was introduced to Sofie Elana Hodara through Julie Weiman, a friend and Advisory Committee member; the two share a gallery in Boston. Sofie's work ranges from figurative landscape / still life work to abstraction through technological overlays. She initially proposed a project that involved capturing the local landscape and then developing patterns and other outcomes though the use of a technical process.

As our discussions evolved, Sofie modified her proposal to include collaborating with UBIQ, a publicity-shy sound artist that creates interventions in various settings. Their idea was to research the sound of Joshua trees slowly dying in the elevated temperatures now being experienced in the Joshua Tree National Park  - an alternative to documentation through imagery and a poetic approach to the issue.

Sofie wanted to start the residency with a research phase examining the  observable effects of climate change on the local environment. To this end, I connected her with Mark Wheeler, a respected expert on the area's biological processes, as well as with Danielle Segura, Executive Director of the Mojave Desert Land Trust. Mark took Sofie on an extensive field trip into the National Park and Danielle provided valuable input and arranged for Sofie to visit land the Trust had acquired and was conserving.


While synthesizing the information, UBIQ and Sofie took trips into the National Park, recording the trees in various locations.. Sofie was also moved to consider proper burial for the carcasses of dead trees, and she performed a Jewish ritual, draping a tree (outside of the Park!) with a simple white shroud and observing a minute of silence. In parallel, Sofie created evocative weavings using printouts of the imagery she was capturing.

For their open house, Sofie and UBIQ edited a sound piece and two videos as works in progress to share with the community. Sofie also displayed her paper weavings and the road map they had followed in creating their project. Sofie's artist talk was well received with its crafted mix of earnestness and humor. Many thanks to Sofie and UBIQ for coming to BoxoPROJECTS and creating this alternative approach to dealing with the effects of climate change in the Joshua Tree area.

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