Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Long View | December 2019

Tyler Morgan is now based in New York and Connecticut, however, he was a resident of Palm Springs for many years. Joshua Tree National Park has always been a refuge for him and he wanted his residency project to contribute to the effort in some way. With the huge growth in visitorship to the Park, Tyler also noted a large increase in bottled water being sold at the local visitors center. Having made the elimination of single use plastics a personal goal, Tyler set out to do something about this during his December 2019 residency. 


Tyler's first idea was to create a sculpture in Joshua Tree that would also serve as a source of free water for Park visitors to fill up. He was looking to install the sculpture in the central part of town, on land behind the Art Queen. After much research, Tyler determined that this would not be feasible within local authority guidelines. He has since turned his efforts to working with the Joshua Tree National Park Association to install a water fountain and bottle filling station. These facilities are not currently available owing to past restrictions connected to the drought.

While working on his water project, Tyler also returned to the Park multiple times, undertaking an exercise of just listening and observing in several different locations - looking for what opens up after we stop trying to see and hear. On December 15, Tyler offered a session at the Artist Tea in the Park where people where invited to see and listen in new ways to that which surrounded them. Tyler led a group through a  drawing exercise focused on the broad sweep rather than the detail.

For his open house at Boxo on December 21, Tyler created an evocative installation. On his trips into the Park he had filmed a 30 minute sunrise from the North View trail. North being the direction in which the Joshua trees are said to be migrating, driven by climate change. Tyler ordered some rocks, quarried near Joshua Tree and then taken down to Palm Springs to be sold. He had them delivered back to Joshua Tree and installed them in the studio along with the pallets they came on. Evidence of the cycle of commerce that is driving climate change. He inserted all the lights into red tubes, creating a complete and dystopian hued environment. Tyler projected the film of the sunrise with a soundtrack that emulated tinnitus - what one ultimately hears in the Park if one actually finds silence. Tyler inserted a glitch into the video every 5 minutes or so, just in case one slipped into any sense of ease with the human condition and its effects on nature. 

Many thanks to Tyler for his impactful installation at Boxo and for his continued work on cutting back the use of plastics in our region.



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