Earth Measure by Matt Weir is celebrating 10 years at Bernheim! Constructed entirely out of more than a hundred tons of solid stacked Indiana limestone blocks, Earth Measure explores notions of science, geometry, sound, and architecture while deepening our connection with nature.
This iconic installation has been the site of events, numerous field trips, countless photos, yoga sessions, and group hikes over its ten-year tenure. Matt Weir, a Kentucky based sculptor and co-owner of Louisville’s Falls Art Foundry, was commissioned to create the artwork to honor the life and service of Barry Bingham, Jr. (1933 – 2006). Bingham, the former publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times who guided the publications to win three Pulitzer Prizes, was also an avid environmentalist, photographer, and supporter of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. He served on the Bernheim Board of Trustees from 1970-2006 and chaired the 2003 capital campaign, which led to the Platinum LEED Visitor Center and related projects.
Weir did extensive research on Barry Bingham, Jr. and dug into the principles that were important to him and Bernheim. Bingham appreciated nature and the environment, and was passionate about their preservation. He believed that there was nothing more important than public service. Bingham also had a strong commitment to supporting the education and research, and protecting the land that constitutes Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. He believed that photography and art were important means of capturing and appreciating nature as we know it.
Earth Measure is an educational, interactive, and multi-dimensional earthwork that must be experienced to be appreciated. It poses questions on the fundamental forms of the circle, square, and triangle. It invites discovery by all ages, both physically and intellectually. It places the visitor in a meadow and beckons them to tune in to acoustic ecology and soundscape science. In other words, the sculpture both frames the environment through its “lens” and captures the sounds of seasonal wildlife through audio waves directed to the center of the listening dome or parabolic sphere. It is simultaneously simple and complex, scientific and artistic, monumental and graceful.
For the past 10 years, Earth Measure has been an inspiration for Bernheim visitors and artists alike. Matt Weir’s sculpture is featured prominently in other artworks created at Bernheim such as Sage Delaney’s video “An Artistic Tour of Bernheim” and the Bernheim Minecraft world Wood and Pixels created by 2016 Artists in Residence The Common People (Adam Clark, Victoria Bennett and Django Moses.
We are thrilled to be celebrating 10 years of Earth Measure at Bernheim and anticipate many more memories, photos, and connections with nature at the installation for years to come.