Overnight Projects, 2018
From Overnight Projects: “As an icon of transience, the roadside motel is simultaneously a place of leisure and utility, occupying a space in the American imagination that conjures nostalgia, longing, and sometimes, fear. The Sandbar Inn, built in the 1950s, was for decades a quintessential vacation spot — the stuff of sunsets, mod bathing suits, and hand-tinted postcards home.”
When I first visited, I was struck by the distinction between the dilapidated state of the Inn and the wonderfully active ecology of the lake. There was wild mint everywhere, and on that first day I saw a hawk hunt for fish, diving headlong into the water to catch them.
I wanted to make the motel disappear, or use it like a telescope to view the ecosystem.
I saw the building as a wall that kept people from seeing the marsh, but also sheltering it from the road, which seemed like important attributes to use. In room 23, I made a passageway through the building to frame a view of the lake on the other side, exactly where I saw the hawk. I used muslin and stretched it like a 3D canvas, referencing painting practices as a way to frame (and define) landscape. I made an essential oil from the wild mint, and sprayed it all over the muslin tube. As people removed their shoes and walked from one side to another, they were hit with the breeze from the lake, and the strong smell of mint.
In room 24, which had a small bird’s nest over the sconce outside, I made my own nest of detritis (mostly trim and lath) in the middle of the room, and inset a small screen into the floor below it, as a sort of sacred “egg”, which played the vide of the hawk fishing.