S.L.A.P. AiR
A Martha’s Vineyard residency program for site-specific art.

Photo Credit: Jen Brown

LAB: Aggregates in Four Directions
Snezana Petrovic
wood, dirt, bark, wire, aluminum, rocks, gem stones; site-specific installation ~ 1,600 sq. feet

As Petrovic writes, "The LAB is a site-specific installation, focusing on the materials and objects found within the site and organized by the directions north, south, east and west. On the second day of my walks through the forest, an unusual wave shaped horizontal tree trunk with some of its branches touching the ground caught my attention. This area then became my laboratory for daily experimentation, contemplation and meditation - a place of dialogue between myself and the space with the intention of minimal intrusion or destruction. Similarly, the artists in residence and spectators were invited to collaborate and add their own reflections or interventions. "This piece," Petrovic continues, "explores and parallels the traditional Western and Eastern elements of earth, water, air, fire, wood, metal and akasha/aether. The existing four trees in a square formation reflect the classical design of Hellenistic physics and determined the floor plan. Their symbolic placement coincides with the elements' geographic directions: earth/east, water/north, air/west and fire/south. Wood and metal were used as transitory energies, reflective of the transformative forces inhabiting each direction. Akasha /aethar is both elemental and metaphysical. It has a sound as its property, but that cannot be perceived directly. The west/air includes floating twigs and a harp-like "instrument" conceived as an akasha conduit that directs energy via its center to all the other directions. The air produces sounds via rocks and metal chimes, also moving towards the center. The radiating center in the site is intended as a metaphysical and poetic discourse that transforms energies from one into another. "In the earth/east direction above a dirt mound, there is a 'levitation' tree, suspended in the air and, thus, challenging gravitational force and the spectators' expectations. The main meditation place is located by the tree/nest at the south/fire end with the red 'dragon' tail flying into the sky and the red logs/sparks floating in the space. The real pond is visible from this spot. The light directs the viewers' eyes towards the water, into the shadows. The north/water element references Zen gardens with its unusual wave-tree trunk shape repeated, like a reflection, in rocks on the ground. A big rock also was placed as an island. Instead of sand, the ground was covered with red dirt produced by ants that inhabited the space. Many details and interventions in these spaces occurred subsequently as discoveries were made; e.g. a heart shape tree stump. "The title LAB: Aggregates * in Four Directions, in addition, proposes an antidote to our attachment to the material world and our denial of impermanence. LAB: Aggregates in Four Directions is a meditation on sensory experiences and their fleeting nature. In the future, the ephemeral quality of this piece will become even more visible as the elements are altered by time and as the forest transforms and takes over their existence. "This installation, then, is an invitation to the viewer to indulge their senses on a metaphoric and experiential level."

*Wikipedia: Aggregate (Pāli, khandha; Sanskrit, skandha), in Buddhism, refers to a category of sensory experiences.