Call & Response
Sunroom Project Space | September 13 – October 16, 2011
Bringing together sculpture, photography and video, Caitlin Parker investigates the often tense relationship humans have with nature. Parker plays with shifts in scale and perception in her work to explore themes of anxiety, hope, growth and destruction that are manifest in our changing environment. For her multi-media project Half Life, Parker built a scale model of the southern section of Wave Hill’s Glyndor House, which contains the Sunroom Project Space, and placed it in the nearby Herbert and Hyonja Abrons Woodland from March to August 2011. Two motion-sensor cameras were fixed on the structure, recording the comings and goings of various fauna that live onsite, as well as changes to the flora over that period. Parker edited the short bursts of high-definition video into two time-lapse sequences, which are displayed with the weathered and dilapidated model, serving as a witness to the unseen changes in the landscape.
In her artistic practice, Parker sets up a scenario but then relinquishes control of the project and lets nature take over. Her work reflects the fear of catastrophic events, such as nuclear crises or global climate change. The scientific term “half-life” refers to the amount of time it takes for decaying substances to decrease by half. This process continues indefinitely and unpredictably. In this project, Parker has miniaturized the man-made edifice and acknowledges the futility of attempting to control nature. The white, pristine walls of the Sunroom interior contrast starkly with the battered and sullied model in the center of the space, giving the eerie feeling that something has gone awry. The plants and animals in the videos appear to be larger than life. As they go about their daily existence, they become a disconcerting reminder that nature endures in the absence of humans. Yet the two videos, one representing day and the other night, also speak to the constant renewal inherent in the cycles of the natural world.
Half Life, 2011 , wood, dollhouse components, photographs and two time-lapse videos, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.