Stasis / Strata (2011-2012)

Installation (water)

This work builds on the previous Grid experiments. Despite the multiplicity of themes, the grids could no longer develop. Rather than subjugating the environment and any emergent theme with its structure and colour, the threaded grid and pigment were abandoned, allowing the works to be more spontaneous in structure and better able to interact with their surroundings This reduction of materials also increased the translucency of the installations. Now, the context dominated rather than the construction. It was during this time that I developed a new technique allowing the production of thin self-standing structures of ice.

The result was a new form of living structure, intricate lacy patterns that became even more delicate as they were sublimated in the winter environment. Novel qualities of the material became apparent such as the surprising flexibility of ice, and its ability to capture and redirect light. Light became a transcendental connection between all the elements of the scene.

In medical terminology, stasis refers to “a slowing or stoppage of the normal flow of a bodily fluid or semifluid”. In more general usage,  it describes a state of equilibrium where all forces oppose and cancel each other. Stopped fluids in a moment of inaction, immobility.

In Stasis, I experimented with precarious balance and the thermodynamic law of entropy. I thought the ice sheet would lean and collapse drastically. Over the next week, it started to lean progressively, obeying to the law of gravity, although human eyes could not perceive the motion. Each instant was a snapshot. There was no apparent motion, until one day, my footstep created a vibration that sent the structure to the ground. Zeno’s Arrow Paradox is flawed – motion does exist. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful thought.

Philosopher Brian Massumi1 speaks instead of “Passage”, arguing that “if the arrow moved it is because it was never in any point. It was in passage across them all”, until it hit the target. Here, the floor is the target. Whether or not Zeno’s theory is correct (it did inspire the ”Quantum Zeno Effect” in physics), or Massumi’s interpretation, more accurate, I just keep shooting arrows (strangely enough, I was to make a work with ice arrows a few years later: link here).

The Strata series continued on the vestiges of Stasis, shaped by time and sublimation. Of particular interest was a surprising fold from one of the standing ice sheets.

The term “skeuomorph” refers to an obsolete technological feature that is passed on as a decorative detail, notably observed when tracing the evolution of tools. These devices help us through changes, by relying on traditional features. In the Strata series, the glint from the icicle on the window, a remain of a crucial anchor of the previous work, became such a device.


1 Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002. p.6.