Earth Prism

[Image: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly at Honolulu's ii gallery; courtesy of the artist].

The ii gallery in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, is currently showing architect Sean Connelly's installation A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room), a "temporary earth sculpture" made from "32,000 pounds of volcanic soil and coral sand."

[Images: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly at Honolulu's ii gallery; images courtesy of the artist].

The resulting prismatic monolith is 7' tall, 9' long, and 4' wide, and it "takes geometry to a new level," we read: "starting with a basic rectangular block, the sculpture will feature a single sloping surface that aligns with the position of the sun and moon on a key date in the history of land in Hawai‘i."
The exhibition title is the definition of the term kuleana, as translated in the Dictionary of Hawaiian Legal Land Terms. Coupled with increasingly contentious perspectives on the future use, development, and management of Hawai‘i’s land and natural resources, A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) uses two of Hawai‘i’s most politically charged materials and highly valued commodities (dirt and sand) to comment on the state of its environmental decline.
It's what the Honolulu Weekly calls "a site-specific, conceptual indoor megalithic sculpture erupting with a breadth of natural materials, Hawaiian history and galactic alignment."

[Image: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly, seen from above; photo by Vincent Ricafort, courtesy of the ii gallery].

The form itself was molded using timber framework to shape, pack, and stabilize the soil and coral sand—

[Images: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly at Honolulu's ii gallery; images courtesy of the artist].

—but this, nonetheless, doesn't prevent the granular materials from seeking out their own, more natural shape, released from geometric imposition: sagging, cracking, creeping, buckling, and shedding matter over the course of the show.

[Images: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly at Honolulu's ii gallery; images courtesy of the artist].

It is a sculpture that slowly falls apart—the earth exhausted from holding itself in place for so long—crumbling back to a less formal and organized condition, leaving chalky, smudged traces like a beach on the gallery floor.

[Images: Four Instagrams by Sean Connelly of his Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) installation at Honolulu's ii gallery].

Apparently inspired by Walter de Maria's New York Earth Room, Connelly wanted to see "what a version of this might look like in Hawai‘i, on Hawai‘i’s terms."

[Images: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly at Honolulu's ii gallery; images courtesy of the artist].

To find out required his own massive earth-moving operation, bringing the 32,000 pounds of soil and sand to the gallery in a truck and carting it in with wheelbarrows; then compressing, framing, and forming the soil into the imposing trapezoid, a rammed earth Euclid.

[Images: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly at Honolulu's ii gallery; images courtesy of the artist].

The results are these gorgeous but temporary slopes, planes, and strata, soon to crumble.

[Image: A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly at Honolulu's ii gallery; courtesy of the artist].

You can also listen to the artist discuss the piece on Hawaii Public Radio. A Small Area of Land is on display until April 27th at the ii gallery, at which point it will be "demolished." I'm not sure if this is a public event or not, but the process of dismantling the sculpture would be an interesting thing to see.

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2 Comments:

Blogger brink. said...

In the fourth picture down, where the art can be seen through the doorway lurking in the other room, it seems almost sentient.

I am creeped out. Also, very probably, sleep-deprived...

April 20, 2013 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Shereen said...

Yes! Demolition party Saturday, April 27, 5:30- PUBLIC IS INVITED! Please byo-safety gear if possible: dust mask, safety glasses, covered shoes, clothes to contact a lot of dirt with! See you there- ALOHA

April 26, 2013 5:35 AM  

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