Within Passages, Passages Within
Hand-Dyed Gold Monofilament, Plexiglass, Plywood, Black Sand, Cement
Photographed by Jo Sittenfeld
Within Passages, Passages Within was created for the exhibition Redefining Monument: Contemporary Reflections on Fort Adams. The exhibition was on view at Fort Adams State Park in Newport Rhode Island during the month of December 2018. This piece and the exhibition came out of a three-month multidisciplinary studio course that invited 12 Undergraduate and Graduate students to create site-specific works inspired by Fort Adams State Park.
My installation is an intervention, one that intended to bring to light the presence of soldiers who once stood guard within the walls of Fort Adams, who’s experience, efforts and presence — even in a contemporary moment of restoration — are kept in the shadows.
The installation of string maps the path of sunlight — the sole source of light within the space — during the shift of a Fort Adams soldier. Strings fall into the elevated footprints of army boots in gunpowder, calling attention to individual soldiers. The tying off of 10,000 yards of monofilament took place onsite at the Fort. Each individual strand was knotted and tensioned from the windows to the floor. In this method of making, the installation's construction made it another form of intervention, for myself as the artist.
I hoped to connect viewers with the experience of soldiers, by introducing striking sensations of light, navigation through darkness and the containment which they would have faced daily. The work invited visitors into a dialogical relationship with soldiers and their experience. I hope that this installation amplified their presence and reminded viewers of the history of living people behind the great, celebrated walls of Fort Adams.
Fort Adams Installations was co-taught by Mary Anne Friel, Associate Professor of Textiles and Chris Sancomb, Sculpture Faculty. It was supported by the Academic Enrichment Fund in cooperation with the Fort Adams Trust.