Spectacle Island was recently transformed into a publicly accessible landfill park after serving the city of Boston as a dump for nearly a century. Core Sample is a GPS-based interactive sound walk that evokes the material and cultural histories contained in and suggested by the landscape of this very unique island environment. Visitors take the 15 minute journey to Spectacle Island via the Harbor Islands Express Ferry from Long Wharf and borrow headsets free of charge at the Spectacle Island Visitor Center. Sounds play back automatically in response to each visitor’s unique itinerary. Thematic sound content shifts with the changing elevation contours of the path system suggesting the vertical layers of a metaphoric core sample. Abstract sounds and spoken word blur surface and core, natural and artificial, industrial and organic, past, present and future.
The installation has a corollary presence in the Founders Gallery at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art where a ninety-nine foot sound sculpture appears as an architectural element installed along the length of the gallery which offers panoramic views of Boston Harbor. The two sites are engaged dialogically as each references the other abstractly through the disjunction between what is seen and what is heard.
Art on the Harbor Islands is a multi-sensory discovery of the Boston Harbor Islands’ remarkable resources--water and sky, sand and city, historic sites and new trails, all just a ferry ride from the heart of Boston. This national park area, home to beaches, marinas, walking trails, picnic sites, and wildlife, provides inspiration for four new contemporary art projects. Leading artists and architects who examine our relationship to the spaces around us-whether abandoned buildings, progressive design, or the natural world-present work that goes below the surface and into the past, exploring the built environment, the natural landscape, and our connection to it all.