Grant Cutler                                     

Ocean with Spirit-Patterns

Ocean with Spirit-Patterns (2023) integrates field-recordings from cold-water islands with abstract minimal-animation together in an immersive dual-channel video installation which challenges the viewer to reimagine their relationship to their environments through deep listening and trance-viewing.

The work is meditative, deliberately slow (at tidal pace) impressionistic and colorful - exposing the depth and density of ecological soundscapes while de-centering the dominant human narrative. Reducing the visual sensory plane to color-fields and simple graphic gestures pulls the sonic to the foreground amplifying the often subtler voice in the continued dialog between nature and culture.

Our minds are conditioned to treat soundscapes as insignificant background noise against which we choose meaningful points of focus - usually relevant to human endeavors, like speech, or recognizable symbols - often cultural, spiritual, or biological. When no obvious focal point is present, it is easy for our mind to acquiesce to our own interior narratives, hoping to find a familiar voice. That is why, in this arrangement, a key is given: the slow moving shape, or icon – as a subconscious instruction to listen. When attention is placed on this drifting icon, the urgent push of interpretation, which is often experienced as a swell of anxious expectations, shielding the sensory experience, is interrupted. Listening, the embodiment of the presented sound, is then fully possible.

This project was conceptualized and developed while in residence with two organizations during the winter of 2022: the Artist Association of Nantucket,MA, and BEAST gallery in Bornholm, Denmark. Many hundreds of hours of audio field-recordings were captured in the wild areas around both locations with a focus on the unique coastal landscapes inherent to each island.

Watch an excerpt here.