The Hoosic River North Branch Spillway prototype installation of Airborne Transmission consists of 16 masks suspended on 83' length of fencing located behind the historic Eclipse Mill in North Adams, MA. On view from July 2020 until all mask wearing mandates in Massachusetts are lifted. A project in association with the Eclipse Mill Gallery.
About The Installations
The title of these installations refers to the multiple “airborne transmissions” facing our community, and the world. The SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through airborne droplets. Our digital atmosphere is additionally filled with airborne transmissions: Data and evidence. Conspiracy theories and political opinions. Thoughts and prayers.
Each site-specific installation consists of a repeating pattern of surgical style face masks sewn to white cotton fabric rectangles. The flags are suspended on riverside fences at socially distant intervals. These ephemeral works, visually activated by passing breezes, will subtly deteriorate from the effects of seasonal weather changes as the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course.
The historic mill buildings and continuously changing flow of the Hoosic River at both sites stand as symbols of endurance and transformation. The white flag, an international symbol of peaceful surrender, references the flu pandemic of 1918, when female volunteers hand-sewed stacks of white cotton masks for medical and personal use. The commercially available surgical masks, sourced at a local grocery store, are manufactured in the People’s Republic of China, where the SARS-CoV-2 virus first appeared. These two items, synthetic masks superimposed on cotton, reflect the similarities and evolution of personal protective equipment since the last massive global pandemic.
One intention of a prayer flag is that the movement of the wind spreads compassion. My intention is that these installations act as visual prompts to keep community safety in mind, and compassion in heart, as we endure the long-term effects of this pandemic.