All These Gifts I Give to You (2014)
24-31 August 2014, Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Site-specific audio installation at 5 locations dispersed across approx 1.5 square miles; reinforced antique wardrobes, solar panels, batteries, voltage controllers, speakers, MP3 players, approximately 40 minutes of audio content, wood, rebar, bailing wire, lanterns, reflecting tape, cages, mailboxes, books, bike lock, mirror, and additional decorative and interactive elements
All These Gifts I Give to You tells the story of an epic desert journey, in the form of five fragmentary "parables" written by the artist. We have all experienced moments when something comes out of nothing; when a wrong turn takes us to the moment that makes all the difference; when the line blurs between being lost and being found; and when a glittering city of the imagination can vanish in an instant, or be revealed suddenly in the passing of a cloud of dust. The parables comprising All These Gifts reflect these themes.
The tales were physically dispersed across approximately 1.5 square miles of desert, each presented at its own audio installation site in the form of a repurposed antique wardrobe. The audio recordings of the tales were all performed by a single actor, Ashley Wren Collins, and played on small solar-powered speakers driven by MP3 players. The wardrobes also contained a variety of interactive elements that embodied or reenacted story elements from the recordings. Visitors who wished to encounter all of the installation sites were drawn into their own journeys across the desert, paralleling the journey recounted in the stories.
The wardrobe audio systems, powered by solar panels and supported by a rechargeable storage battery, continually retold the stories over the span of eight days, continuing to function 24 hours a day through thunderstorms, hail, dust storms, severe temperature swings, and heavy winds.
Sound sample: The Parable of the Temple (10 mins, 49 sec)
(note: in the first image below, the structure in the background is the Temple of Grace, by David Best)