Salish Sea Lab

Chris Landau, USA and Miguel Horn, USA-Mexico


Title: Salish Sea Lab 
Artist: Chris Landau (b. 1978, United States) and Miguel Horn (b. 1983, United States)
Medium: Yellow Cedar log, paper pulp, and digital projection
Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.2 x 4 x 1.2 m (4 x 13 x 4 ft)
Weight: n/a
Location: Squamish Adventure Centre in District of Squamish (2014)

Salish Sea Lab contemplates the effect of rising sea levels on the diverse topography of the Salish Sea Basin along the US/Canadian International Border. Considering the theme of “Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver”, artists Chris Landau and Miguel Horn of Philadelphia collaboratively explore this phenomena through a combination of projected animation on sculptural forms. The central images of the installation draw from the traditions of boat building in the Squamish region as well as the topography of waterways and mountainsides that characterize the region’s natural wonder and unique geographic identity. The artists’ installation manipulates these boundaries of land and sea through projected, fluctuating light.

The work allows viewers to experience larger landscape phenomena at a smaller, yet palpable scale. Salish Sea Lab offers the opportunity for reflection on larger regional systems, providing another dimension to our environmental perception.

The canoe was built with help from local First Nations group, carved using their traditional methods and style. For the project, the artists received a 100 year old cedar log as a donation from a logging company. One of the Squamish Nation elders had always dreamed of creating his last canoe and going on a trip to Bella Bella with his family. Knowing this, the artists gifted half of the cedar log to the family to create the canoe.

The installation draws from traditions of boat-building as well as the local topography and ecology of waterways and mountainsides. The resultant sculpture uses new technology to explore the ancient history and future of the region, finding a dynamic balance where the two worlds come together.