Artist Statement:

As we advance along our personal time-line we can be oblivious of change taking place: every day we recognize our reflection in the mirror as the same person we saw there yesterday. The work I make serves as a reminder of the constant journey we all partake in and the ones we long for.

It takes an hour and a half for the rising tide water to cover the span of an eighteen foot long strip of burlap, coated with a thin layer of photo-sensitive cyanotype emulsion. As the tide advances, the cloth disappears underwater, leaving less and less surface exposed to the sun and creating a natural gradation from pale light to deep dark blue. These prints are at once both solar and lunar, the result of my collaboration with forces much larger than me - sun, moon and the revolving earth.

From the same starting point - the rough, woven burlap - I folded a three-dimensional boat. Instead of fingers folding paper, I used my whole body, following the instructions with a huge piece of burlap. The result looks fragile, foolish, bound to capsize and sink. But rather than a weakness, the homemade engineering is where the boat draws its strength, affirming precisely that - you too can make one at home. Do-it-yourself and play a part in the collective desire to sail away to new shores.

In July 2016, I set sail with this vessel from the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Instead of heading west into the vast open sea, I was bound east, to cross the continent on paved roads, through landlocked states, towards a final destination on the shores of the Atlantic. During the month long journey, the sculpture in tow served as an instant conversation starter with local residents along the route. People who never left their home town and others who are always on the move, offered different perspectives to one’s sense of place. The most frequent question asked was: “Can it float?” The absurd act of sailing on land with a giant folded boat challenged my viewers’ taken-for-granted expectations from mundane objects, childhood memories and personal dreams.

When I intervene with the cycle of the ocean-tides or blow a child’s folded boat out of proportion, my question is ultimately: What role does human agency play in determining any outcome? Are we mere subjects in the ebb and flow of our surroundings? Or can we change the course of our planet? the weather? history? our life?

site design    Erin Diebboll