NOW HERE | GUILD HALL: OFFSITE | AMAGANSETT U.S. LIFE-SAVING STATION MUSEUM | 2022
NOW HERE, The No W here Collective
Guild Hall: Offsite, Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving Station
July 16–October 2, 2022
Guild Hall: Offsite’s, NOW HERE, created by The No W here Collective, made up of artists Alice Hope, Toni Ross, and Bastienne Schmidt, and curated by Christina Mossaides Strassfield, at the Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving Station, was on view July 16 – October 2, 2022.
This unique project primarily responded to the Life-Saving Station’s “faking box”, seen as the emblematic artifact in the station’s collection that reflects their mission — to save lives. The faking box shares a formal aesthetic with the Collective’s founding inspiration, the Metropolitan Museum’s Marshallese Navigation Chart. The artists exhibited works in the south-facing crew quarters on the second floor, the western-facing backyard, and the southeast corner of the wrap-around porch, as well as other areas on the site. In the crew quarters, the artists created responsive installations to the room and the faking box. The outdoor installations also responded to the site, the faking box, and included references to the Marshallese Navigation Chart.
Over the last few years, I have used my weaving practice as a life raft, a navigational tool to help me find my way through the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. In our collective exhibition, Now Here, I expand on this idea by exploring the maritime history of life saving at The Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving Station Museum and highlight the beauty of the building itself.
Many of the works reveal my fascination with rhythms and patterns of language. Abstracted international maritime signal flags figure prominently in the work woven through jute netting and potato sacks. Another element of the work brings attention to overlooked details by incorporating found objects from the site of the Museum. An interactive piece echoes the Museum’s architectural forms and provides the viewer a place to rest while contemplating the elegance and historical context of the Life-Saving Station.
I have long been interested in the rhythm of language, the ways we look to communicate and the origins of ancient writing. International maritime signal flags are a form of communication that is at once functional and beautiful, crossing language barriers to create a universal method of communication. A number of my works in Now Here contemplate these signal flags in the context of present-life challenges that require life-saving in one form or another.
We Require a Pilot, 2022
International maritime marine flag “G” speaks to the desire to find the path forward. As our country’s leadership continues to fail us, the signal’s translation of “I require a pilot” feels particularly relevant as we move through this historic moment.
Mixed Signals, 2022
As we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the confusion between what we know and do not yet know only grows. Represented in this piece are two international maritime signal flags that translate to “You should stop your vessel instantly (contagion on board)” and “My vessel is ‘healthy’ and I request free practique.” Presented together, what is one to do?
As our times remain tumultuous, we continue to search for new life-saving measures. In a direct translation of the universal maritime signal flags, these woven flags mounted together declare “I am in distress.” Natural fibers (wool, cotton, linen) make up the identifiable pattern of each flag. In an homage to the ALSS’s home on Long Island, potato sacks serve as the “warp” of these weaving’s in acknowledgment of the East end’s history of potato farming.
Nested Buoy, 2022
Found on-site among tall grasses, this beautifully patinated iron buoy is a time-worn nautical guide nested on over 600 feet of heavy-gauge marine rope, providing a much deserved pedestal as a resting place of recognition.
My site responsive work often draws attention to details that one might otherwise simply past, never seeing or noticing. Ramp is a mirrored pine replica of the elegantly proportioned ramp leading into the ALSS’s historic boathouse. Created with an added bench, Ramp provides a place to pause and contemplate the exquisite architecture of the ALSS.