Dislocated Plumule Ecology, 2016
1 channel video containing 9 loops with sound, running time: 29:02
In Dislocated Plumule Ecology I locate myself both inside the piece, as a part of an ecological system, and outside, as an historian/anthropologist cataloging downy Mardi Gras debris; each feather has a history as a part of bird whose plumage has been plucked, dyed and used as embellishment, “plumage”, for revelers. It’s a highly processed debris yet directly from the natural world. Run over by cars, stuck in mud and tangled in weeds that will be mowed, its dislocation is obvious and entirely disregarded: Mardi Gras Manifest Destiny! Its abundant appearance feels like a new [invasive?] species, fluttering as if determined to reproduce and relocate itself in the living world despite its abuse. This resonates with a basic tenet throughout my work: that what is within and without us is teaming with drama that we are just a small part of, and often only understand a small part of. To a large extent my work is a kind of homage to this fact.
Thoughts on making Dislocated Plumule Ecology:
The double meaning of Plumule – the primary bud of a plant or a downy feather – is activated when thinking about the appearance of this dislocated ecology. What is this odd event in nature that happens every carnival season: a new species, a budding, the makings of nests? Could a bird have dropped this garish plumage or perhaps it was ‘seed’ dispersing revelers?
Chance played a huge part in the making of Dislocated Plumule Ecology, from the chance encounters with feathers having found themselves caught in particular random ecological dilemmas, to the organization of the documentation of those multiple chance events.
Parametric choices construct the system of relationships:
Equal numbers of clips were grouped consecutively into 9 sequences. Their individual editing determined the length of each, which varied from sequence to sequence. Those 9 sequences were then put into one sequence. Each was then repeated until they all reached beyond 30 minutes, making a random shift in the 9 images possible during the duration of the loop. Simultaneously, the sound was taken from all sequences and put into an audio file in consecutive order. The audio was then edited, taking out most wind noise and loud machine or truck sounds and there was some duplicating of clips to fill in for what was taken out, with up to 3 layers, or tracks, of audio on the timeline, which was then divided into 3rds and layered on top of each other, making a dense multi-track of just over 9 minutes. The audio was then put into the image sequence, repeated 3 times until it came close to reaching 30 minutes, and the image sequence was edited to finish at the end of the audio sequence, bringing the whole loop to 29:02 minutes.
In the very few cases where a clip of debris other than feathers turned up in a sequence I chose to keep it in rather than edit it out, as a reminder of the extent of the trash that dislocated feathers find themselves among; the plucked are regarded the same as the plastic – a throwaway.