Hudson Weather Fugues, 2005

Site-Specific Installation for 
Meteorologic Phenomena exhibition
Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill — Bronx, New York

Curated by Jennifer McGregor, Director of Arts

Mixed-media Installation: 3 windows with video projections on two panes of two windows; 3 pair of window shutters with multiple audio speakers in each shutter; 3 wooden benches.

Respecting Wave Hill’s architecture and landscape, Hudson Weather Fugues was installed in the gallery’s windows overlooking the Hudson River, and layered the view from the window with a video projection onto two glass panes in two of the three sets of windows. Shutters, custom-made for each set of the windows, housed speakers from which the narratives accompanying each video emerged.

Noting that “to check the weather” one usually goes to the window, benches were placed in front of each window to lure the viewer to linger, look out at the layered landscape and “eaves drop” on the river’s weather stories emerging from the shutters.

Video footage was shot from the Saugerties Lighthouse and on a 10-hour journey down the Hudson River from Albany to Manhattan on the Adirondack Schooner. Narratives collected include those from shad fishermen, ice boat sailors, lighthouse keepers, boat captains, regional historians, climate historians and observations recorded in the Hudson River Almanac published weekly by the New York State Department of Conservation. Both narratives and video were woven together to form a narrative and visual fugue composition.

The third window, though treated visually the same (with bench and shutters), had no video or audio intervention. The viewer, in anticipation of someone else's narratives, instead fills the silence with his/her own stories while visually exploring the landscape and river beyond.

Site-specific installation for Lives of the Hudson exhibition

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College — Saratoga Springs, NY

Co-curated by Ian Berry and Tom Lewis 

Hudson River Fugues juxtaposes contemporary stories from people along the Hudson River with the story of Henry Hudson’s disillusionment in not finding a short passage to China. It also contrasts Henry Hudson's journey with the tragedy of the Native Americans whose ancient prophecy promised that their nomadic journeys would end in peace and prosperity when they found a great stream whose waters flow two ways.  Collectively these stories explore parallel narratives, contrasting expectations with disillusionment and loss in relation to the Hudson River.

The installation was sited in the entrance to the Tang Museum.  Video projections onto the glass panels on either side of the entry doors layered the view through the windows. Shutters, custom-made for each set of windows, housed speakers from which the narratives accompanying the videos emerged. Benches in front of each window invited the viewer to look out at the layered landscape and “eaves drop” on the river’s stories which emerged from each of the shutters.