The Wildlife Divide was created to highlight the tremendous difference and contrast between natural and urban habitats and more succinctly to explore the threshold where the two are joined. The initial workshops at the Spring Mountain National Recreational Area paired naturalists, with local area artists to create an experience capable of educating on our natural habitats and provide hands on workshops based on ideas and concepts related to the wildlife divide. Partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, The Great Basin Institute, and the Southern Nevada Conservancy the project fostered artistic creativity and awareness in the natural sciences. The workshops varied from video and audio production, to condition reporting and electronic lamp making. They were designed to introduce a thought provoking and/or unconventional method of outdoor art production. Participants were from a wide range of ages, from retirees to children under the age of five. There was evident cultural diversity and the projects were exhibited on the mountain at 7000ft elevation and in the City of Las Vegas. After two years of activities in Mt Charleston the project became dormant. In 2016 The Wildlife Divide re-emerged as part of Interlude, a series of performances and presentations hosted by the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center and the Media Arts Project in Asheville, North Carolina. All projects were decidedly interdisciplinary and included concepts and ideas on how to merge the arts and sciences to create unique experiences. The development of the Wildlife Divide is ongoing with the hopes to create more opportunities for the public to engage in critical environmental issues through artistic practice.
New Citadel is designed as a project that enables viewers to take part in the cacophonous movements of urbanism and to embrace individuality within the multitudinal effort. The installation permits visitors to build a model city based on ideas of what could be constructive and useful within their own personal urbanist experience. Architectural model making materials are provided and instructions are given on basic architectural design. The citadel starts to populate itself with the creations of its visitors, each one adding a new element to the project. Each construction is a manifestation of the individual working in a larger group, while discussions on urbanism and democratic process are encouraged. Participants are asked “ How effective is their participation and what benefits could there be to a more open process of determining the change around us?”.
This project is an extension of past efforts to convey ideas of generation and decay of the complex systems and structures that surround us. Like Gustave Metzger’s work it is dependent on the idea that creation and destruction are a unified action. Human and natural intervention upon our landscapes are often at odds with the social, architectural, biological and economical systems that exist or are created to support us. While natural systems are based on patterns, global warming studies suggests that we can expect that uncertainty will be a prevalent factor in forecasts and climactic conditions. Human systems are often adapted to comply to global economic values. These values imply that secondary or tertiary needs are not important in a financial sense therefore unimportant in a general sense. This project emulates a constant re-constuctivism induced by perpetual states of maintenance and decay, the perpetual confrontation of the demands of human and natural systems in relation to their purpose, usefulness and expiration. The solution suggested in the work to the rapidly declining resources, and in many ways to the problems arising from the lack of equitable distribution of these resources, is the embracing and the advancement of an infinitely more modern democratic approach to changing the landscape.
New Citadel constructivist efforts are a small element of participation. Through devices and control panels available to visitors change and reorganizing is produced in the city through sound. This component of the participatory and interactive experienced is accomplished through kinetic forces brought about by the power of sonic frequencies. The result of the sonic intervention is a constantly changing city that is perpetually being re-evaluated and rebuilt by its participants, placing the process of system creation and regeneration in the hands of anyone willing rather than anyone with influence. The project in its final stage addresses retirement, archiving and documentation of the changing platforms, interventions and history of New Citadel. This stage of the process as it is for any organized effort is a stage of reflexion and evaluation of the project itself. Often the documentation stands alone as the aestheticised remnant of what was accomplished in the collaboration.
Beyond Sunrise Mountain
Beyond Sunrise Mountain is an ongoing exploration of various subjects including: the human alteration of landscape, geological processes, the historical, social and political narrative in the south western region of the United States. The majority of the research and projects were completed in areas around the Sunrise Mountain east of Las Vegas, Nevada.
An Industrial Rainbow
The Sunrise Mountain Area is composed of a very deep and large gypsum sedimentary deposit, pyroclastic rock sandstone clays, sulfides and other mineral deposits. The area is also known to be called “Rainbow Gardens”. Pabco a gypsum board factory sits to the north. Nellis Air Force Base Area 2, a storage area for munitions that allegedly include nuclear weaponry, is north-east, Lake Mead is south. It is an area crossed north to south by high tension wires owned by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, connecting a Utah power plant to the Southern California power grid. It is an area that is frequented by accidental death on the roadway. The often stereotyped image of southwestern abandonment is there complete with mountains of broken glass, boats on the side of the road, metal burn offs, (stolen copper wire melted down into ingots), bullet casings and other refuse. The meteorological conditions eat away at these remnants with grinding efficiency on a time frame that humans rarely have patience for. The corroding leaflet advertising massage services on the strip reminds one of the proximity to Las Vegas.
Unlike the frontier of the 19th century, somewhere beyond the horizon where riches and fortunes were to be discovered, today we have quantified and mapped every square foot of the continent with exacting precision. Knowing where minerals are, and in what quantities, has not caused a desire to pace the exploitation process. The finite water supplies and sustainability of certain ecologies have been studied exhaustively for decades but the pace of development in the region continues to rise.
The projects I make here are a way of defining a sustained collaboration with the land drawing a perspective that although alteration is inevitable, we can change the intent of our use and cause it to be less damaging. The American landscape continues to be altered drastically, our current land use plans have changed little from frontierism mentality. I think that this approach has reached its course, and new, more sensible philosophies shall become prevalent.
Performances and Interventions
The land in this region causes one to be keenly aware of geography, geological process, and human intervention. Although the desert looks constant and rigid, one quickly finds out when looking carefully that the desert is time based on an epic scale, every geological processes and millions of years of land formation detailed in every rock protrusion and hill, the decay of human fragments caused by the meteorological conditions is a time based work, stretching and collapsing depending of material science, chemistry and physics. A post nature-archeological site. Collaborative projects have been made her with other artists. Some sound and video interventions were recorded.
While most of the projects happen and stay at Sunrise Mountain, a set of works derived from the experiences were put together as an exhibition at the Clark County Government Center Rotunda in Las Vegas. Each work represented an example of a project that might be completed at Sunrise Mountain.
n o w h e r e r a d i o
n o w h e r e r a d i o was first executed in a town called Badger in 2010 at the foothills of the Sequoia National Park. The exhibition was curated by New York Artists, Tom McGlynn and Bill Doherty and California artists Bachrun LoMele nd Anné Klint. The exhibition was completed in a large industrial building in a very remote region that allowed ample space to accelerate experimentation and create unique works of art.
The intent of this first iteration of n o w h e r e r a d i o was to give people the opportunity to adjust the outcome of an art exhibit through participation. Is it possible for art to work as a broadcast? The function of interactivity can create a relationship between the participant and the broadcast. The relationship becomes intriguing when we an audience becomes a momentary community and a set of exchanges of ideas and expressions through the broadcast range.
n o w h e r e r a d i o is composed of experimental sound devices and instruments, microphones, armatures, a mixer, digital processors and a low powered FM transmitter, it is designed to be highly transportable and can run on the battery of a standard car. Participants are encouraged to create their own sounds and generate their own projected and broadcasted thoughts and ideas.
Since the first exhibition of n o w h e r e r a d i o it has been exhibited in its entirety or in parts at The Clark County Government Center in Las Vegas, Nv, Pop Up Art House in Henderson Nevada, Jen Kleven Contemporary in Las Vegas, and at Art Murmur 2012 in June as part of the Mobile Arts Platform directed by artist Peter Foucault, and in Memphis, Tennessee as part of the Memphis Social an Apex Art Exhibition.
Instruments and Devices
The instruments and devices used to make sound in n o w h e r e r a d i o are created from found objects, custom manufactured materials and hand made electronic parts, ranging from kitchenware to heavy machinery the objects are created with a dual purpose. One is to create a work of art that can stand alone as a visual element and two is to take advantage of the resonant acoustic property of the objects and materials themselves. It can be said that n o w h e r e r a d i o is as much a collection of individual works as it is a complete art installation. The instruments and devices are made to endure rugged contact and can be repaired easily. The instruments acoustics are based on traditional instrumentation but are also constructed to be un-intimidating and approachable, the point here is not to replicate music but to generate new sounds.
The installation uses several types of microphones and sensors to capture sounds, the microphones are hand constructed and the electronics and software are tested thoroughly. Multiple channel processors, MIDI devices and sensors are also used. The transmitter is a legal FM transmitter for large building use and can be adjusted in power and signal strength. The transmission is received and amplified via radios located strategically around the installation and within the transmitter range, the range can vary from a couple hundred feet to a mile in diameter depending on the installation space.
The sounds created during the day can themselves be inserted in the broadcast layering the activities of the participants over a span of time.
Literature on the subject of communities, utopias and dystopias, is made available to be read through a microphone, the viewer is encouraged to write their own ideas and add to the project.
“Please play the art at David Sanchez Burr’s exhibit” Mark Adams Las Vegas Weekly Wed, Apr 4, 2012
“David Sanchez Burr wants to kill the radio” Radio interview on KNPR Las Vegas
“Sensory Overload” Jenessa Kenway November 10th 2011
“Artist Talk About east of Fresno” Donald Munro Fresno Bee
“Recapping East of Fresno” Donald Munro Fresno Bee
10 x 10 Exhibit Appears through Dec. 2, 2011 Channel 4 Broadcast November 17th 2011
Pop Up’s brilliant ‘Salon Show’ is no simple rehash Kirsten Peterson Las Vegas Weekly February 22, 2012
This project began with a couple of interventions at the Sunrise Mountain Recreational Area in 2007
Desert automations are a combination of interactive, kinetic, transformative and generative sculptural works that exist in pre-determined geolocations scattered on the interstitial boundaries of wild and urban ecologies. Sites are visited by chance encounter or through GPS coordinates. Each site is an incursion on the landscape and a modification of the intended terms of abandonment. The duration, condition, and activity of the the sculptures vary and transform according to predetermined processes. The project is a study of urban and social impacts on ecologies and draws new potential terms that can define usefulness and meaning to our interruptions in the landscape.
While working on several different projects in the desert southwest near the vicinity of area 51 and the Nuclear Test Sites. I habitually came across domestic appliances left abandoned in the scrub and creosote. This type of refuse in the desert is not unusual, it is analogous to the abandoned satellite and spaceships parts moving uncontrollably about our near space, they are also like asteroids in the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune, elements casted out of organized systems. The discarded elements are superfluous and interject themselves within a prehistoric and ancient ecology that persists despite the damaging effects such intrusions create. The primary intent behind things left behind in the desert, to remove inoperable, damaged, or obsolete objects and place them in “nonintrusive” situations where they may disappear. The intent is where I draw my focus for Desert Automation projects. While the abandonment and subsequent decay of objects left to the wild is an alluring social and environmental subject to be studied and researched thoroughly, I wanted to start a project in which the intent could be shifted to change the pretext, impact, articulation and deterioration of objects left behind. The intent of abandonment can be changed to a purposeful realization of alternate systems of human interventions on landscape. A set of criteria was designed to highlight the purpose these new intrusions on the landscape.
Must transform over time using controlled methods beyond environmental decay.
This can be accomplished through wind power, solar power, gravitational pull, material decomposition and corrosion.
The work must not only be transformative but also be actively doing so independently and without service or repair.
The work should serve as a declared and intentional interruption of the landscape, while simultaneously serving as a contemplative and reflective moment for the viewer upon an encounter.
The location of the work can only be made available to the public by way of GPS coordinates, providing the possibility for both accidental encounter and purposeful expedition to remote sites.
The artist provides no documentation of the automation sites. Visitors will be the only source of video, sound, and still image documentation made available.
Desert Automation Sites
So far only one desert automation site has been published in a location near Sunrise Mountain east of Las Vegas. The project is still undergoing meticulous study and sites will be published methodologically, considering variables: site expected life-cycles, materials decay studies, potential accidental destruction, vandalism or removal, meteorological effects and local, state and federal law ordinances.
Desert Automation Tests
Project documentation of desert automation has been made available through images and testing carried out over the course of several years, in some instances the documentation has created off shoots of work that has been exhibited.
Contact: info @ davidsanchezburr.com