Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Yuma Project: You Jin Seo

At You Jin Seo's installation; Richard Saxton

For more information on the work of Richard Saxton and his students in Yuma, Colorado, please see our introductory article.

Today we're happy to begin our series of reports from Yuma with the untitled land installation by You Jin Seo, a Master of Fine Arts student who has traveled from South Korea to work with the artists and scholars at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Below we feature Ms. Seo, in her own words, describing her installation and her vision for how her artwork engages with the local community:

My journey to Yuma, Colorado, inspired me to think about the beauty of nature and landscape. When I move into the vast landscape and became a part of nature, it leaves me with powerful and lasting feelings of beautiful moments. Especially, when observing myriads of twinkling and shimmering lights, I am left with such feelings that are inspired by such beautiful moments. The experience of looking at the night sky of Yuma, standing within its quiet and expansive natural environment, also created a poetic, fascinating and unforgettable moment in my mind.

I wish to evoke the remembrance of beautiful moments through my installation artwork. In Yuma, I installed shiny, round-shaped, silver-colored bells on the sand hills. The sand hills are part of a unique and barren landscape near Yuma, Colorado, where it is constantly windy and extremely sunny. When I stood upon the sand hills, I felt that I was standing the closest I’d ever been to the sky and could feel the sky, sun, wind and nature moving all around me. The 900 bells spread across the hills created a soft, yet enchanting, sound and the round-shaped bells shimmered beneath the sun.

The arrangement of bells is placed in such a way that a walking path through the bells is created, which leads to the top of the sand hills. My intent and hope is that the local people will see the portion of the hill, filled with bells that is visible from the road, and be enticed to stop and walk through my installation to enjoy the experience of the sounds and shimmering light of the bells within the natural landscape. In some ways the bells are reminiscent of stars in the night sky and this memory (of viewing stars in the sky) might be evoked in some viewers’ experiences while walking through the path through the bells. Just as humans created constellations from patterns of stars in the night sky, and often used them to navigate across the oceans and on land, I have created a path through arranged groups of bells that people can follow. And when they reach the end of the path at the top of the hill, they are also presented with a captivating view of the expansive landscape of the plains of Yuma beneath a vast sky.

I hope that this art project is seen by viewers as a part of nature that will evoke in them feelings and experiences they have had in the past of beautiful moments in nature that surprised and captivated them.