The Perseid Dilemma, 2019

4’ x 90’ x 90’

Fabricated steel, solar lights, video/sound loop

This work was completed in 2019 at Salem Art Works during the Salem 2 Salem Arts Residency Exchange

The Perseid Dilemma compares and contrasts agricultural systems with celestial cycles and orbit.  For hundreds of years the farmers almanac has predicted future weather patterns with high accuracy utilizing the sky as a tool for prognosis.  It is claimed that there is a ‘secret ingredient’ to its accuracy, and the almanac is now recognized as a form of pseudoscience - which is characterized as statements claimed to be factual while being incompatible with the scientific method.  This sculpture was completed during the 2019 Sturgeon moon - historically recognized as the period when sturgeons are ready to be harvested. Happening simultaneously was the Perseid Meteor Shower - which happens every summer as the earth passes through a trail left by the Comet Swift-Tuttle.  This comet has a 16 mile wide nucleus and passes by earth every 133 years - originally thought to collide with Earth in 2126. The comet leaves traces of debris when it enters the solar system which creates one of the most visible meteor showers from earth.  

The Perseid Dilemma is an object and remnant of an action.  A tool roughly referencing an agricultural Pivot Irrigation System is manually pushed around an 80 ft diameter circle, stopping every 6 feet to drive in a steel stake meant to hold a solar light.  The day of completion matches the celestial happenings mentioned above - what remains is a large circle defined by the points of light that depict the topography beneath it, as well as video documentation of the day the tool left its mark.  My connection to homesteading in relation to my childhood has always spawned a curiosity and skepticism of large scale agricultural systems. The above mentioned Pivot Irrigation systems have emptied parts of the Ogallala Aquifer - the largest water table in the world.  These two orbits, one local, one somewhat other worldly, both threaten the earth in distinct ways. This work aims to compound these two specific cycles in a mysterious manner similar to the ‘secret ingredient’ utilizing the stars to predict patterns in the farmers almanac.  

The sound loop is comprised of ‘And bliss everywhere bliss’ by The Caretaker - the last song from his 2019 album, ‘Everywhere, an empty bliss’.