39˚ 44′ 11″ N x 104˚ 59′ 21″ W (2009-10) is a site-specific interactive video installation that seeks to develop a dialectic between ecological memory and architectural space and form. The work brings forward the ideals of ecological memory as the historical, cosmological and environmental ground for the evolving architectural memory of the Hamilton Building. Ecological memory is re-mediated through the interpretation of contemporary and historical data from the celestial to the terrestrial to the biotic into an immersive interactive environment that responds to audience movement and the range of interactions associated with the data interpretations of the installation.
The premiere of the work was part of EMBRACE!, an international exhibition of 17 site-specific installations at the Denver Art Museum. The temporal works were commissioned as collective artist response to the architecture of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Fredrick C. Hamilton Building.
The title of the work 39˚ 44′ 11″ N x 104˚ 59′ 21″ W is based upon the latitude and longitude coordinates of the Denver Art Museum’s Fusebox Gallery. For this iteration the gallery was transformed into an “observatory” site for the translation of datastreams into creative ecological memory within the Hamilton building architecture.
The installation project is composed of two major media elements; initially a video flatscreen triptych that acts as the prolog and epilog of the work. The audio elements of this work are composed of a Latin aria of chanted names of recent extinct organisms of the region extended by a sound bed of DNA and protein music translated from genomic and biochemical characterizations of the extinct Rocky Mountain Locust (Melanoplus spretus). This media segment is a foreshadow to the central interactive installation space. Physical audience movements in this space bring together visual and sonic bits of the lost and endangered ecologies of the site as an immersive digital cinematic experience. The interplay of sound layers in the installation space comes from audio composed from solar storm data, voice work mediated from historic climate data, and bio-acoustic sounds recorded from current organisms related to the extinct locusts and the lost bird species of the region. The resulting immersive experience visually and sonically reunites the lost residues of the former lifeforms of the region. Audience interactions are simultaneously tied to a present version of ecological memory while speculatively re-mediating the ecological ghost stories of the historical past.
The eMAD artist team for the premiere version was a collective of graduate and undergraduate students from the DU eMAD Program invited to assist Weaver on the project. Josh Fishburn developed software that coordinates data interpretation for a portion of the sound design of the project. David Fodel focused on the sonic interpretation of celestial/solar wind data from the NASA ACE satellite. Brigid McAuliffe explored the voice interpretation of historic climatic data that coincides with the time period of the Hamilton Building’s construction. Nick Meyers built the software system that brings together video content with audience interactions in the project installation space via IR tracking.
More information on EMBRACE! and 39˚ 44′ 11″ N x 104˚ 59′ 21″ W are available from the DAM website.
images courtesy of Jeff Wells / Denver Art Museum, ©Timothy Weaver
Recent project venues for this work:
"EMBRACE!", FuseBox Gallery, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO