Boston Institute of Contemporary Art
Art on the Harbor Islands
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 (see map of installation). 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.