Last May, Erika Raberg, Jonathan Raberg, Ryan Packard and Claire McCahan set out for the salt flats to pursue practice-based research from four distinct disciplines: science, vocal performance, new music composition, and the moving image. They wanted to explore the productive overlaps and fascinating contradictions that arise with cross-disciplinary collaboration, and sought to further develop a methodology that draws from each in equal measure along the way.

For 2019 NEST Graduate Fellows Jonathan, a paleoclimatologist, and Claire, a mezzo soprano—as well as their collaborators, sound artist Ryan and visual artist Erika—the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah were the perfect medium for exploring questions of perception, material, sensation, and time which drove their shared practice. Over the ten days of their exploratory research trip, they engaged with the landscape and its expressive potential through not only sight and sound but concepts based in scientific inquiry as well. They traveled with notebooks, cameras, and recording equipment.

We are now pleased to share their work with you—a collection of pieces that are a reflection on their time in the Bonneville Salt Flats. The MIRRORSTATE exhibition launches on November 12, 2020. 

The project, originally conceived as a physical exhibition, evolved into an online installation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is an experiment in artistic adaption that embraces the expressive potential of the digital world to create an embodied experience.

Furthermore, the exhibition is made also possible through our exciting partnership with the Arbor Institute in Boulder, CO. The online work is also installed as an immersive projection with multi-channel sound in and on the Arbor Institute building—the interior gallery installation is available for viewing in-person by reservation with public health guidelines November 12  – December 17, 2021—make a reservation here. The Arbor Institute is a non-profit creative incubator for environmental awareness, combining the arts and contemplative practices with ecological experience. They produce and host multidisciplinary artworks, programs, and dialogues that reconnect us with each other, with the Earth, and with the interdependency of life. The Institute helps people to feel deeply, see clearly, and act wisely to nurture a healthy, thriving planet.

Besides MIRRORSTATE, the Arbor Institute is hosting the exhibition Invisible Disruption: The Cultural Politics of Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado by 2019 NEST Graduate Fellows Denise Fernandes and Shelby McAuliffe, October 7 – November 7, 2020. We are thrilled about our ongoing collaboration—given the meaningful alignment of our respective missions—and look forward to a continuing fruitful partnership.