Threshold/Interface/Transition (when)

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Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
February-April, 1997

Materials & Dimensions:
Tree trunks of beech, cherry, ash, and maple, oak bark, ailanthus tree trunk wound, hollow log, paulownia tree, cast concrete, composition metal leaf, silver-coated paper, acrylic stain, sono tubes, mylar, agate, bluestone.
Entry gallery (‘low’ space): 15 feet high x 28 ¾ feet wide x 58 feet long
Second gallery (‘high’ space): 40 feet high x 34 1/3 feet wide x 38 feet long

The site was the second floor of the Institute of Contemporary Art. Then, there were two parts to this floor: one long and low space that led to another that was more than twice as high. The high space had clerestory windows that the museum usually covered because they faced a façade that reflected south light into them. I uncovered the windows for this installation.

I stained the walls of the low room transparent ochre, and installed a field of silver paper with a small, back-lit agate aperture on the end wall. This reflected the shifting daylight and tree shadows from the entrance. The ailanthus tree wound imbedded in the wall to the left of the silver wall was connected to the high room by a silver-lined tube that opened in the high room as a horizontal oval. A hollow log imbedded high in this same wall provided another window between the rooms. The portal between them was lined with the halves of a split beech tree. The existing architectural column adjacent to this was sheathed in oak bark. In the high room, the clerestory windows were the only light source. The five thirty-feet trees in this room rose in sections from cast concrete bases to touch the ceiling beams beneath the windows. The gold leaf field surrounding them was bordered by cut bluestone. This field, the walls, and the trees were lit by sunlight at midday in patterns that changed as the season changed to spring.