Rounds – 2014

A Multi-Media Installation, in collaboration with Ethan Rose

Rounds was a collaboration between Ethan Jackson and Ethan Rose at Ditch Projects in Springfield, OR.  Ditch Projects is in the Booth-Kelly Complex, a historic site that originally housed a lumber mill and waterway that were central to the non-indigenous settlement of the region.  While researching the site, the artists discovered an Oral History archive, which was loaned by the Springfield Museum. The archive contains hundreds of hours of recorded interviews and photographs that document a cross section of individuals’ memories of logging in the region.  Drawing from this recent history, Jackson and Rose have created a multi-sensory installation that uses generative imagery, sculptural gesture, and spatialized sound to engage this unique location.

Jackson designed generative imagery of tree rings, constantly growing, cracking and decaying. The generative tree rounds grew on the floor and on pedestals, each developing its own character by slowly adding rings and cracking in unique ways. Curved mirrors in the center of each tree allowed a different view of the developing cracks, expressing a different aspect of the site. Ghostly forms appeared in the reflected image, based on material found in the archive – faces and features of the past.

In dialogue with Jackson’s generative rings, Rose installed a series of speaker arrays that hang in discreet locations across the gallery.  In order to generate source sound, Rose edited the Oral History archive recordings, removing the interviewees speaking voices and leaving only the inhalations and exhalations between their words.   These bits of breath – along with accompanying room tone and tape hiss – were then carefully layered to create an abstracted audio composition that flows across the space of the gallery.

Rose’s composition of inhalations passed overhead in combination with Jackson’s expanding anamorphic tree stumps below.  Echoes of time’s passage rebounded within the sounds and images of the installation while evoking the specificities of economy, ecology, and personal history that have transformed the region.  The result was a work that abstractly resonated within a multiplicity of perspectives, inviting the visitor to draw their own experience from the layered meanings of the gallery site.

The original gallery wall-text is available here as a PDF.


Thanks to the Springfield Museum, The Oregon Arts Council, The Ford Family Foundation, and Ditch Projects