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Actions in Environment

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago

Actions in Environment


Title: Refuel, Refuge, Refugee, Refuse, Re-fuse -- 1991


In his best known work McDiarmid working in the Chesapeake Bay wetlands, bathed in gallons of the used motor oil collected from his own automobile. In an interview he stated, “I thought if I am out there driving then I am Exxon, I am the captain of the Valdeze.—and if this stuff (oil) is good enough for me to dump into the environment and onto the heads of other creatures then I better be willing to experience the same thing—so I did”. In 1991 with the aid of an Ohio University Research Grant and the support of American Wildlife Inc a private wildlife reserve, the Chrisfield Art association, and others McDiarmid’s team took an expedition deep into the Maryland wetlands.


On site McDiarmid bathed himself in the oil, coating himself from head to toe and also ‘bathing’ animal shadow puppets that represented many of the life forms that shared the wetlands. “It’s easy to think about scrubbing a big mammal clean, something like myself or a sea otter, sure, it’s physically traumatic but it’s survivable--but what about a dragonfly, or a jellyfish?


I made all these cardboard cut-outs of the animal life out there, and each one I dipped into the oil and then tried to rescue it by scrubbing it clean—nothing prepares you for the kind of concentration being doused in oil creates, I worked for some time to just get the stuff out of my eyes and only when I had that done did I realize I had a mouth full of oil—you can see it on the video I’m cleaning my eyes for several minutes and then suddenly when they are clear I spit out this big mouthful—I didn’t even know it was in my mouth I was so busy with my eyes.



2008 McDiarmid’s Newest Project ‘Trickster’ Now Underway:

The Trickster Project**, is a mobile technological artwork destined for remote desert landscapes,Its onboard computer archive is inclusive of viewers voices-- many opinions, cultural values, and social concerns are entered into the content of the work by participants. Trickster is designed to serve art’s ancient mission as forum for discourse and as metaphoric medicine.


I am engaging in abracadabra—non-sense actions from which startling clarity might appear out of the seemingly absurd. Art is not a discrete concept--it happens as part of a weave wherein ritual versions of actions and materials merge with healing intent. Art may actually ‘be’ the catalyzed interactions of individuals generated from such occurrences.


Carried to diverse and remote publicly accessible desert sites by an expedition team collaborating with local groups, Trickster, (a semi-autonomous, solar-powered ice-cream freezer upon a ‘litter-vehicle’ adorned with luxurious fabric attire and equipped with video and thermo-graphic surveillance, gps, and computer archiving capabilities) will provide free ice cream, mystery, and downloadable DVD’s to hikers, herders, and all those who happen upon it. A second ‘linked’ digital Trickster will reside in cyber-space expanding the discursive scope. The accumulation of alterable data provided via ‘wikipedia’ modalities on these two Tricksters is to become a collaboratively authored lore investigating the values imbedded in technological development and application. A ‘lore’ that embraces contradictory interpretations fusing the voices of the indigenous and alien into a community of participants collectively seeking to understand and interpret the difficult implications of the Trickster object.


I model a generous fulfilling of individual desire achieved through heroic efforts in the service of a frivolous goal of dubious value--a mode I find prevalent in my society--what does this strategy reveal when separated from the issues it is normally associated with--consumerism, military industrial expenditures etc? Can I through an absurdity create a catalyst for a ‘disarmed public exchange’--this is the project’s poetic.


Contact: Mcdairmi@ohio.edu


To date:


the Trickster Litter Vehicle has been constructed of welded steel and equipped with 10 wheels donated by Spinergy Co, and another pair from Invacare.

The Litter vehicle houses a 5.8 cu ft 12/24 volt DC freezer chest donated to the project by Sundanzer Inc.

Ohio University students from the College of Engineering working with the artist have built the onboard computer archive and interface

The project has achieved 4 channels of sensor activated onboard nightvision equipped video surveilence and archive documentation. A touchscreen keyboard allows direct to archive blogging, while operatives of the project introduce it via chat sites across the internet.

Field testing with the public in ohio has established that all systems are functioning autonoumously using the vehicles solar wings as the sole source of power.

Fine tuning of all aspects is underway and the team is working to augment existing systems with thermographic-IR video and Gps with visual contour mapping. Construction has begun on the 2nd life gaming platform for a 'Trickster Avatar' to operate in that digital environ.

The Project is in discussion with national recreation and other desert sites in several states and hopes that if funding can be secured the Trickster will be launched ito the us western deserts as early as summer of 2008.


The project has been made possible with support from the College of Fine Arts at Ohio university and it's Aesthetic Technology Lab (@lab)






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