Subrural


Subrural, 2014
Installation view at the Gund Gallery, Kenyon College, Ohio
Mixed Media: Thermofax printing, plastic, screen, steel, electrical wire, LEDs, sound element
Dimensions Variable
Jenn Figg and Matthew McCormack, with collaborator Karen Snouffer

Subrural is an immersive exploration of the hegemony of energy infrastructure and the dichotomies of urban and rural geographies. This work was narrative in intent, a visual reimagining of an increasingly industrialized rural landscape, and addressed the cultural anxiety experienced at the intersections of these familiar but unpredictable places and ecologies. The installation was a visual narrative informed by the complex systems of large-scale agribusiness and its pervasive and negative impact upon the environment and landscape.

Repeated forms are metaphors for the unison of urban and rural environments. Contorted, undulating vines; rigid, linear power towers with blinking red lights; and swaths of enlarged, disembodied insect wings capture the experience of driving between the city and country. The pastoral landscape is crisscrossed with power lines, themselves laden with invasive flora. The power lines subdivide the space and terminate in a field of windmills, a landscape of energy infrastructure. The sounds of insects chirping and the drones of urban life bring the work to tension-filled, climatic moments as the power of nature meets industrial intervention. 

This site - specific work was a collaboration with the artist Karen Snouffer, installed in three different locations over the course of two years.
 
 
 
Windmills, triptych. 2014
5 minute loop, video still
Jenn Figg and Matthew McCormack

Landscapes of energy - even “green” energy harvesters - are still dependent on a complex infrastructure, a network of fossil fuels. Windscapes are positioned as a commodity, a future capital renewable resource and a “wind rush."

The landscape of energy production is in symbiotic relationship with the landscape of energy consumption. The size of the screens and windmills and the structured wiring recall the imbalance of renewable energy to the seemingly insatiable demand for power, regardless the necessity.
 

Within Subrural, the windmills are a quiet emblem of hope. The climate change we are experiencing has a chance to be altered by using renewable resources instead of relying upon fossil fuels. Windmills are a tribute to the minimal aesthetic used to extract energy from atmospheric differences in pressure. Silent and motionless, Windmills pauses for the next gust.

2014

2014

2014

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2013

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2013

 
  McCormack and Figg
 
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