Here at Bernheim, we’re still talking about how much fun was had at our 10th annual CONNECT! This funky, fun annual summer celebration showcases all that is possible when art, science and nature intersect. The night included live musical performances by Adam and Sarah of Murder by Death, Bill “The Sauce Boss” Wharton, and Louisville’s own, Juanita. Hands-on experiences for adults and families featured shadow puppet art, drum circle participation, a bubble zone and the ever increasingly famous mud pit!
But it’s the new art displays and interaction each year that makes this event unique and it was overwhelming clear that the diverse art experiences offered around Lake Nevin elevated the quality of this year’s CONNECT! As a former participating CONNECT artist, I know how much work goes into the creation of a piece for an event of this caliber and would like to take a moment to highlight our talented regional artists who made this year’s CONNECT so special! Click on their individual names to access their websites and see more of their work.
Valerie Sullivan Fuches is a new media artist who works with time-based media, video, video installation, sculpture and sound to encounter the industrial and electric forms which mediate our direct relationship with nature, the land and each other. Valerie projected video of running water onto a wooden bridge, just past the Garden Pavilion and heading toward the northern part of lake. She used a solar powered battery and small hand sized projector tucked behind a nearby tree. Those who passed through the moving waters were mesmerized by the projection.
Perfectly perched under the large and beautiful sycamore tree was an experience created by the Mammoth Collective: Initialization entitled ‘Challenge for Civilized Society’. This newly created art collective, headed up by artists and curators Aron Conaway, Shannon Westerman and Liz Rubino created an immersive art experience that challenged the norms of civilized society by utilizing the theme of consumerism and disposables. Sandwiched between paintings of animals and a Wendell Berry quote random material objects, once safely tucked away into storage but never retrieved, creating an interesting dialogue about what we care enough to protect and ultimately what is really worth protecting. This massive installation was complete by projected video, light and sound, and brought attention to this amazing sycamore tree.
Rebecca Norton is a multidisciplinary artist whose studio practice encompasses 2D and 3D design, collaboration, digital modeling and animation. Her work explores theories of synthesis and connectivity as they relate to the activity of reconstructing reality in vision and thought. Her CONNECT piece entitled A Battle Cry for Trees, consist of four free-standing sculptures oriented towards North, South, East, West, creating a compass around the base of a tree. The “faces” of each standing piece is designed from the translation of a Newtonian geometric space represents the beginning from which lifeforms emerge. Even without the use of light, this installation created visual impact both before and after sunset with the use of plexiglass and glow in the dark paint.
Located just past the Louisville Astronomical Society, at the northern tip of the Lake Nevin Loop was where you could witness Reflections by artist and Campbellsville University educator, Azucena Trejo-Williams. Trejo-Williams is an interdisciplinary artist working in installation, photography, video and sound. Reflections consisted of projecting video onto mirrors that ultimately mapped moving images into the nearby trees. Footage was from a controlled land burn at Clay Hill Memorial Forest at Campbellsville University. Thanks to a new interest in habitat management for a variety of species and a new understanding of fire safety, burning has seen a tremendous resurgence among professional wildlife managers and private landowners alike (Bernheim uses fire as one of our land management tools too. Read more here). This site specific installation illuminated an otherwise dark area around the lake and was a place for contemplation on the power of fire in the landscape.
Louisville, KY-based designer, architect and owner of PART Studio LLC, Nathan Smith and Daniel Chavez, architectural designer and furniture maker currently teaching at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates collaborated with Tony Sweazy from Solar by Ecos in creating a piece entitled: ‘Sketch Model for a Bus Stop’. This interactive installation allowed visitors of CONNECT a place to relax and take in the many views around the lake. Most specifically, it was the ideal spot to watch the balloons as they were inflating and brightening the back side of Lake Nevin. After the sun went down, a solar powered box, playfully emulating a fire, illuminated the space where one could sit, warm themselves and wait for a bus.
And finally, Bernheim commissioned Aaron Rosenblum to collect field recordings of this milestone CONNECT. Aaron Rosenblum is a sound artist, musician, archivist, and curator working in the fields of radio art, field recording, composition, improvisation, and installation. He is also a co-curator of the SONICBernheim lecture/performance series, exploring the relationships between sound, music, and nature. As we approach another major milestone, Bernheim’s 90th anniversary in 2019, I felt it was timely to document this event in a way that also celebrates another unique program within the Arts in Nature department. These field recordings may simply serve as archival material for the future, or be incorporated into some other cool future event at Bernheim! Check out more field recordings from this region (including others captured at Bernheim) by Aaron at http://kentuckianasounds.org.
Thank you again to our regional artists for helping make our 10th annual CONNECT an undeniable success. I think we’ll still be talking about this CONNECT for years to come!