LAND DIVE TEAM: BAY OF FUNDY
Hope Ginsburg’s video Land Dive Team: Bay of Fundy is set in the Bay of Fundy off Canada’s Atlantic coast, which has the highest tides in the world. Three divers, as well as the artist, meditated for 90 minutes until covered by the incoming tide—the highest that had been recorded to date in the Bay.
This is one of a series of Land Dives in which Hope Ginsburg and others meditate in full scuba gear on land (or, as here, amphibiously). The divers pay close attention to each site and its potential futures—including the effects of climate change. They sit and breathe as a physical form of declaration. The work on view in this exhibition is a precisely framed, atmospherically scored video that invites us into their experience.
Land Dive Team: Bay of Fundy, 2016. Single-channel video with sound, edition of 3, 7:08 minutes. Courtesy of the artist. Support provided by the Film/Video Studio Program at The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio.
Gallery 1 – Beverly Reynolds Gallery
“In the case of Land Dive Team: Bay of Fundy (and others of my pieces), there is a declaration of attention. The piece is a commitment to staying put in the moment, to staying present.” –Hope Ginsburg
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS AN ARTIST?
In list form: curiosity, learning, connection with other people, healing. And more specifically: learning with other people through experiences in the field and healing through connection with one another, in relationship with other species, and in the context of shared land and water. I’m also motivated by the desire to make representations that capture these lived or participatory experiences to invite the attention of a wider circle of viewers.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE SHOWING YOUR WORK AT THIS MOMENT IN HISTORY? IN THIS LOCATION?
This piece documents a moment in which collective human awareness of global warming is radically shifting. I’m mindful that the image of rising water in this work may be read differently following Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the images of flooding and suffering that the storms left in their wakes.
So, while the piece was motivated by an image of presence, both personal and environmental in the context of a rising tide (literally and abstractly), it may now have increased resonance with the urgency of the environmental justice movement. This work intends to invoke a state of attention in the viewer, and sustained attention can be thought of as one among many needed actions or as the root of action The Land Dive idea is adaptable to specific locations as the dynamic between humans and our environment is ubiquitous. In Richmond, I am excited for the opportunity to connect the project to the James River and the species that live on its shores and in its waters.
As with the Bay of Fundy, a “Land Dive” that is organized around a body of water can be amphibious; as such, in this location, I’m curious about the amphibians of the James River – as well as its urban context.
DO YOU BELIEVE ART HAS SOCIALLY TRANSFORMATIVE POWER?
I do absolutely. I think that images and ideas have power and that art has the capacity to make and model proposals in relatively open waters. Of course, these ideas rely on interpretation and amplification and that is why I think art is an inherently social enterprise. Art however does not have the monopoly on creativity, which is why it can be so fertile to bring it into dynamic with other modes of inquiry.
Born 1974, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania; Lives in Richmond, Virginia
Hope Ginsburg is a project-based artist whose work emphasizes community, cooperation, and shared learning through participatory art. For each new project, Ginsburg learns a new skill – such as beekeeping, vermiculture, scuba diving, wool felt-making- through informal apprenticeships and the initiation of relationships. The records left behind from these lived experiences and collaborations form the body of her work, which challenges traditional pedagogy and the hierarchies of expertise. Ginsburg received her BFA in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art and her Masters of Science in Visual Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Select solo exhibitions: Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (2016); Anderson Gallery in Richmond, Virginia (2010-2015); Cue Art Foundation in New York (2011); and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts (2007). Select group exhibitions: Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts (2016); 9th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil (2013); Flux Factory in Queens, New York (2010); Santa Barbara Forum, California (2006), and Weisman Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2005). Collections include: The Olbricht Collection and Vescom. Select awards: Art Matters Foundation (2011) and The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts (2007). Hope Ginsburg is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts.
Festival of the River – Land Dive Team: Amphibious James
Land Dive Team: Amphibious James (2018) draws inspiration from the James River’s rich ecosystem. It is one of a series of Land Dives in which Ginsburg and others meditate in full scuba gear on land (or, as here, amphibiously). In those actions, the drivers pay close attention to each site and its potential futures. This performance consists of a small group of Land Divers meditating while classically trained musicians performing a new composition on land.
Concurrently, several divers will walk into the James, broadcasting live audio. The breathing apparatus of the divers on land and in the river form an integrated part of the instrumentation. The composition also will incorporates prerecorded sounds of river life. This new work is a counterpoint to Ginsburg’s video Land Dive Team: Bay of Fundy, 2016, on view at the ICA.
About Festival of the River
Festival of The River is a unique coalition including The City of Richmond, Venture Richmond, the Richmond Symphony, VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, 1708 Gallery, James River Association, Capital Region.
Collaborative and other partners. The Festival of the River is a special three-day event which will take place on Brown’s Island June 8-10, 2018.
This one-time festival will showcase the very best of the James River, Chesapeake Bay and the Richmond Region. Festival highlights will include contemporary art installations, performances under the Symphony’s “Big Tent,” cleanups along and around the River and family-friendly environmental education activities including Back to the Bay in celebration of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week.