Man has always dreamed of flying above like a bird or traveling beneath the sea. This new work that I call “Alteranuims” does both, incorporating all things nautical, as well as dirigibles, airships and early aviation design. All the pieces have a well-worn patina of age, like the rusty hull of an old tanker, and use sticks, rope, wire, fabric, wooden gears and pulleys -- the ad-hoc objects of workshops and factories -- to take your eyes on a walk.
Taking a cue from Calder, the first person to make work live above the room, I designed the pieces to float just above eye-level with the work changing as one circumnavigates it. Building the Alteraniums I was guided by the “American Boys Handy Book” first published in 1890 and select boat-building techniques.
Harkening to Dumont’s Demoiselle and Dragonfly planes the Alteraniums would be right at home in a Jules Vern novel. The pieces are playful, lyrical and appear to have some purpose…but we don’t quite know what it is. Suspended overhead, it transports you to it’s own time and place where a surfacing, landing or launch into uncharted territory is eminent. The arcane guidance systems of ropes, rudders and pulleys recall a hand-built ethos that invites the viewer to be free of technology for a moment and contemplate human ingenuity and the power of imagination.