Erosion is a sculptural media piece based on time spent at an Artist Residency at Art Hub Liwa, in the United Arab Emirates. I used the residency as an opportunity to create a location specific piece of artwork based on found objects and recorded sound. After spending time walking around the open desert of Liwa, where the residency is located, I noticed that there were many broken and no longer in tact water irrigation system pieces sticking up from the sand. The area surrounding the residency had at one time had irrigation running through the sand to help grow vegetation. Parts of Liwa are known to be an oasis, and the area surrounding the residency did have some plant life, however most of the area was sand dunes.
I collected the refuse of the irrigation system and sat with the pieces I had found, considering their shapes and functions. There were several pieces of different shapes. After finding some partially assembled irrigation pieces I could deduce how all of the pieces had at one time fit together. The black plastic pieces were now brittle from the sun and many of them weather worn from the sand. I started orienting the pieces in the sand, in ways that felt intuitive. I soon realized I was naturally grouping like pieces together, and connecting pieces to create larger more interesting shapes. I soon found myself creating characters from the pieces, chess pieces; a king, a queen, a pawn, a night, a bishop and finally a castle. I drew a chessboard in the sand and collected enough irrigation pieces for two complete sets. I then built a square board and painted it so that it was recognizably a chessboard. Finally I glued the chess pieces into place and the sculpture was complete.
I was interested in the sounds that could be created with sand. Sand and microphones don’t mix that well and I was not willing to immerse the microphones in the sand, with out some form of protection. I decided instead to see how human interaction could engage the sand to sound. Two film makers who were also in residence talked about strange sounds that would sometimes result when walking down a sand dune. I enlisted the help of some fellow artists to experiment with the sounds of dunes. I positioned the recording equipment half way up the down, and recorded my fellow artists as they descended the dune one by one, running, walking, and sliding down the dune. The sounds in this soundscape were captured during this experimental recording session, and have been mixed in Pro Tools to achieve the sonic qualities you hear here.