Surfacing, C&O Canal, Washington, DC 2012

In this work, the rectangular resin floats built for Out of Place were complemented by translucent and luminous cylindrical vessels that could be submerged, pulled through and raised above the water. Dancers inhabiting the canal edges operated these elements via tensile lines, kinetically referencing both the donkeys that once pulled barges along this industrial waterway and the joggers and bikers who use the canal for long-distance recreation today. To contrast the horizontal axis of motion, cylindrical vessels were hung from the canal’s pedestrian bridges, their lines leading into the water. As the vessels rose up and out of the water, the vessels spun and released the water contained within, activating the water’s surface and the night with sound. On another bridge the glowing vessels were swung back and forth, signaling across distance. This in situ experiment transformed the inert, unused canal into an object of fascination—revealing layers of history and human use via both the sculptural interventions and kinetic movements.

Credits: in collaboration with Sharon Mansur, Dance Artist; Dancers: Nava Behnam, Heather Doyle, Jessie Laurita-Spanglet, Amy Scheer, Connor Voss; Design + Fabrication Assistance: Michael Fisher, Jeff Gipson; Additional Assistance: Kristen Fox, Zachary Klipstein, Kevin Vandeman; Graphic Design: Anne Kopf; Screen Printing: Justin Strom; Photography: Jeff Gipson, Zachary Z. Handler