High on a Hill - 2009
High on a Hill is a multi-media installation that exposes a romantic bond between two children of the Alps – Miss Heidi, the classic fairy tale mountaineer and a young man goatherd/yodeler, and the impracticality of their cliché romance in the light of global warming. Furthermore, this piece will investigate the imposition of global warming - its devastating effects on iconic, snowy landscapes. In effect, I am attempting to juxtapose certain environmental realities (i.e. melting snow caps) upon the realm of traditional Hollywood cinema, in order to disrupt naïve utopian ideologies and address issues of climate change. In breaking down ideal (Hollywood) models of the world, with real environmental problems, I am attempting to disillusion “perfect” perceptions of the environment.
The well-known tune “High on a Hill”, from the Sound of Music, served to inform the narrative of an encounter between a young Heidi and Yodeler. The video initiates with the two characters communicating with one another on the top of two opposing, snow covered, Appalachian Hills. The characters are both attired in green uniforms, and easily recognizable when contrasted with the white snow. As their romantic gestures develop, the snow progressively diminishes, making it more and more difficult for the lovers to see and communicate with one another, until finally (using chroma-key technology) they are completely absorbed by their green backdrops. ~ THE GREEN GRASS GROWS ALL AROUND ALL AROUND ~ …time passes, the snow never returns and the two never meet.
The piece also contains two knitted, sculptural representatives of the two lovers. These small surrogates are fastened to and suspended by climbing ropes that travel from the top of one wall to the bottom of the opposing wall around the entire gallery, which merely enhances the potential for physical interaction. The surrounding walls within the gallery are painted as lush green hills, while slight remnants of melting snow are distributed around the gallery’s floors. Also a constructed tourist vignette, wooden and with two face holes, allows for the viewer(s) to become the mountain, and physically engage with the exhibition. Lastly, the sound of a babbling brook may be heard throughout the space, will give the impression of snow melting.
In High on a Hill mountain life breeds potential romance, song and dance, but due to environmental alterations, loneliness prevails.
installation at the Khyber Centre for the Arts, Halifax, NS
installation at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John's, NL
installation at Arnica Artist Run Gallery, Kamloops, BC
*** you can watch High on a Hill on VIMEO - https://vimeo.com/32412476