Saturday, December 3, 2011

Margaret Cogswell

Hudson River Fugues

June 2009-March 2010

Site specific installation for Lives of the Hudson exhibition at the Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York

Co-curated by Ian Berry and Tom Lewis

Group exhibition with site-specific mixed-media installation by Margaret Cogswell

In his Musices poeticae praeceptiones of 1613, Johannes Nucius defined a fugue as “the frequent and definite recurrence of the same theme in various parts which follow each other in spaced entrances.”
Hudson River Fugues is part of a series of ongoing River Fugues projects which use the musical structure of a fugue as a conceptual point of departure to weave together the disparate visual and audio components exploring the interdependency of people, industry and river waters.

Hudson River Fugues (2009) juxtaposes stories from people along the river with Henry Hudson’s disillusionment in not finding a short passage to China. It also contrasts Henry Hudson's journey with the tragedy of the Native Americans whose ancient prophecy promised that their nomadic journeys would end in peace and prosperity when they found a great stream whose waters flows two ways. The installation was sited in the entrance to the Tang Museum and layered the view from the window with video projections onto the glass panels on either side of the entry doors. Shutters, custom-made for each set of the windows, housed speakers from which the narratives accompanying the video emerged. Benches in front of each window invited the viewer to look out at the layered landscape and “eaves drop” on the river’s stories which emerged from each of the shutters.

Video footage was shot from the Saugerties Lighthouse and on a 10-hour journey down the Hudson from Albany Manhattan on the Adirondack schooner. Narratives collected include those from shad fishermen, ice boat sailors, lighthouse keepers, boat captains, regional historians, climate historians and observations recorded in the Hudson River Almanac published weekly by the New York State Department of Conservation.

(I have family in Saugerties.)

She was awarded Guggenheim Fellowship after this work in 2009.
River Fugues:
included in:
Curated by Randy Rosenberg and exhibited at:
Ministry of Culture, Monaco, 2008
The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois, 2008
BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium, 2007
Ministry of Culture, Monaco, 2008-
Presented in honor of the official programming for the Tenth Special Session of UNEP's Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum on Globalization and Environment: Financing the Climate Challenge

The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois, 2008 -
Bridging Earth Day, on April 22nd, and World Environment Day (WED), on June 5th, the Natural World Museum exhibited Melting Ice / A Hot Topic: Envisioning Change through summer 2008 highlighting the importance of raising awareness throughout the year. Hosted exclusively in the U.S. by The Field Museum this exhibition was integrated into one of the country’s leading natural history museums and scientific institutions and featured the works of 26 artists representing 10 countries.

BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium, 2007-
Produced in association with the Natural World Museum in partnership with the U.N. Environment Programme for World Environment Day 2007, Melting Ice / A Hot Topic: Envisioning Change addresses the theme of climate change from a global perspective — the melting and thawing of ice, snow and permafrost, which are environment-altering changes taking place around the world — from the Andes to the Himalayas to the melting ice caps of the Poles.

Artists participating in Melting Ice / A Hot Topic include: Subhankar Banerjee, Robert Bateman, Alfio Bonanno, David Buckland, Christo and Jeanne- Claude, Margaret Cogswell, Sebastian Copeland, Xavier Cortada, Siobhan Davies, Era & Don Farnsworth, Helen Mayer Harrison & Newton Harrison, Mona Hatoum, David & Hi-Jin Hodge, Laura Horelli, Gary Hume, Icelandic Love Corporation, Ichi Ikeda, Svein Flygari Johansen, Chris Jordan, Yoshiaki Kaihatsu, Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen, Angela Lergo, Jonas Liverod, Ives Maes, Dalibor Martinis, Strijdom Van Der Merwe, Jacob McKean, Gilles Mingasson, David Nash, Lucy & Jorge Orta, Sven Pahlsson, Cecilia Paredes, Philippe Pastor, Shana & Robert Parkeharrison, Andrea Polli, Ana Prvacki, Kahn Selesnick, Anne Senstad, David Trubridge, Theo Wujcik, and Justin Young.

River Fugues is a fragment of a larger mixed-media installation and part of a series of projects which address issues of water and climate change through the exploration of the complex and changing relationship of a society to its industries and rivers. The musical structure of a fugue is the vehicle for weaving together the video and audio components seen embedded within the installation pipes.

24 inch diameter spiral steel pipe and fittings
24 inch diameter poly-plastic pipe, video projectors, DVD players, audio speakers, plexi glass video screen.
Two rear-projected video loops - 5 minutes each
Steel mills loop rear projected in 24 inch diameter steel pipe.
River video projected along 8-foot length of translucent pipe.

Installation dimensions: 9 ft. H x 56 ft. L x 25 ft. W

Margaret Cogswell

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