Diaphanous Haze California Institute of the Arts November 2022
Diaphanous Haze, a collaborative moving image, sculpture and sound installation between Alix Blevins (Film/Video MFA3) and Maddi Baird (Music MFA2), explores the phenomenon of fog through observation, metaphor, translation and analysis––melding artistic and scientific methodologies to create an abstract, aesthetic experience of a natural phenomenon. Inspired by the work of artists who utilize or conjure environmental subjects such as Olafur Eliasson and Fujiko Nakaya, this installation will emulate the experiential aspect of fog while also examining epistemological questions of the mediums of sound and film.
One element of the installation’s sound stems from the sonification of moisture data gathered from fog, which will be recorded onto and played back on magnetic tape 16mm film stock, on a schedule relating to the daily pattern of fog in the Bay Area. The magnetic, imageless film will be projected through the fog net structure (with the lamp of the projector turned on), casting shadows and creating a colorful and atmospheric visual effect. In addition there will be a stereo soundscape that will play on loop on the house speakers, interacting with the magnetic sound and immersing the audience in an environmental, geographic mapping of the area surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge through the sound of foghorns. The sound of the fog horns will interact with the dynamics of the lighting and atmospheric effects within the installation, and through their elegiac form call to mind the inherently elusive and endangered phenomenon of fog.
Both the sound and film elements of the installation play with the limits of perception, or with absence, reflecting the immateriality of fog and its increasing material dissipation. All of the film used in the installation contains no images, relating the effacement of visuality created by the atmospheric phenomenon of fog. The sound on the film is generated from data collected from the moisture content of fog, creating sound from a silent environmental phenomenon. This interdisciplinary project aims to expand the limits of moving image and sound, using an ephemeral event as a conceptual medium for exploration.
Among The Soil
April 25th-April 30th California Institute of the Arts
Among The Soil is a sound/sculptural installation by Maddi Baird exploring place, distance, & love through the growing of Arabidopsis in soil from both the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon as well as Burbank, California.
Arabidopsis is one of the most widely used plant species in academic labs and its use serves as a critique of principles of what is and isn’t considered a “lab", what does and doesn't constitute “science”, and who has access to it.
I gathered soil near my home in LA and my partner’s home in Oregon to illustrate the complexities, longing, and desire that come with being away from a loved one. The reduced growth in Oregon soil relative to Burbank soil illustrates the challenges of loving and growing together from a distance. Despite this, the plants continue to persist and thrive in their respective environments. Similar to how Arabidopsis thrives on the sides of roads and in disturbed lands, it is possible for people and love to thrive where “planted”, even in non-ideal circumstances.