Artist in Residence
2004: Eva Wohlgemuth
Visiting artist Eva Wohlgemuth had an epiphany during her residency in Durham. Eva was in Durham, Ontario for almost two months as a guest of United Media Arts. She spent her time communing with nature and reveling in the inspiration she found in the Saugeen River. An outdoor exhibition of her new work was coordinated by the Durham Art Gallery with sculpture and light installed directly on the river.
From her live-in studio in the old Knechtel Feed Mill, across the street from the Durham Art Gallery, Eva was able to explore the town and the river and the trails that wind through the Durham Conservation Area. It was on those walks that her previous artistic ideas blended with the physical environment she was experiencing and led her conception of a new, outdoor artwork.
In her previous work, first as a painter and conceptual artist and later as a creator of ‘reactive visual systems’ she has explored codes and software and their relevance to the human body (think of DNA for example). She even went so far as to have her own entire body scanned into computer data at a research centre in the States.
Now she created RIVER CODE, a sculptural installation as well as a website. The installation consisted of rotating balls immersed in the water as it pours over the Middle Dam and powered by the flow of the crashing water. Computer code and human bodies printed on the balls both struggle to surface for air.
These blue balls were echoed a few meters downstream where the artist replaced the twelve globe lamps on the wooden pedestrian Heritage Bridge with matching blue lamps.
Eva’s poetic approach to images and artmaking are displayed in the photos and texts she incorporated in the online version of this project.
About her project and her stay in Durham, Eva says,“The residency program enabled me to enjoy a beautiful, undisturbed reflection and working time in the middle of a vast natural environment – a joy I haven’t had for the past ten years, or maybe never at all. The resulting artist response in an outcome of this wonderful nothing, the genius boredom where you can start playing again, as well as from the refreshed view I tried to get from the things surrounding me and their inherent qualities. I’ve been able to swerve from myself to the point that enables me to look at myself from a different angle, and to recode my behaviour structures where necessary.
“The project mirrors nature outside and inside, but tries to imaginatively amend it - to show its inner logics, which can not be grasped, except in your own inner pictures. Consciousness is a pitiful hostage of its flesh envelope and a floating psychodrama. In the end, the eye decides what to see and why, and is used as a navigator to your fate.”