This Is Water

Submitted by Joe Thurston

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Client: Oregon State University

Location: Newport , OR, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $200,000

Project Team

Assistant Artist

Sean Healy

Site Specific

Studio Manager

Jessica Nickel

Site Specific

Glass Artist

Juno Lachman

Juno Architectural Glass

Lead Artist

Joe Thurston

Site Specific

Overview

This large installation of nineteen internally lit infinity mirror boxes designed to mimic submarine portholes transforms the lobby, atrium and mezzanine space of the new OSU Marine Studies Initiative Building. For the imagery included in this project, we worked closely with the scientists and researchers of OSU over multiple in person sessions to ensure their voices and expertise were included. Their contribution of imagery has proved important to them as a way of showing what it is that they do as well as highlight its importance in our changing world.

Goals

The goals for this project were to create a large installation the length of the staircase that transformed and evolved as the viewer moved throughout the space. We worked closely with the architects to engineer the walls to specifically support these works.

Process

we involved the coastal Newport community to be participants in creating elements of the public artwork. We handed audio recorders out to various community members and encouraged them to lend the units to their friends and family to collect the sounds of daily life in Newport and the coastal area. They recorded conversations with loved ones, walks on the beach, surfing lessons, sounds of the pier, commercial fishing boat sounds -- whatever sounds that made up their daily lives. These sounds have since been composed and layered together to connect visitors to the artwork in the MSI building with the outside life of the community. This was a way to offer residents deep ownership of the final work. For the imagery included in this project, we worked closely with the scientists and researchers of OSU over multiple in person sessions to ensure their voices and expertise were included.