The Sound of Snow

I wonder as I wander the land. Am I in a dream? It’s difficult to live in two different homes. Being in one place, I’m always thinking of the other.

While I’m busy with my own thoughts and the weather, my good friend, and artist James Jenkins from the Chicago area is busy with a dream of his own.

Jim is the latest artist to become the Artist-in-Residence at Fermilab, in Batavia, Illinois. He is working on several pieces for a show opening next December.

As artists, we keep and collect thoughts of the past to use as the foundation for new works in the future. One of Jim’s pieces started 44 years ago in 1973 on a trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to visit a dear friend. It was the 5th of December as he traveled through Grand Forks, North Dakota to cross the border at Pembina, North Dakota to Emerson, Manitoba, Canada. 

I remember the landscape being flat, featureless and covered in snow. My thought was it would be interesting to stretch a wire or wires across the landscape. I even made two drawings that still exist one titled... "A North Dakota Landscape in a Word" and "The Four Directions of a North Dakota Landscape.” Both were minimal and sparse. There was lettering used in both though I've continued to play with up till today. Later on, perhaps two years later, I thought it would also be interesting to record the sound of snowflakes hitting the wire/wires. I kept the idea going and now I can execute the project. I was also missing an important feature of the project until 3 years ago..."Bone Jazz"! 

Jim’s piece entitled Ring Around the Ring is an art experiment in recording the delicate impact of a snowflake onto a wire or wires stretched across the landscape above the decommissioned ring at Fermilab. 

© 2017 Nate Strayve, Jim Jenkins working on "Ring Around the Ring"

© 2017 Nate Strayve, Jim Jenkins working on "Ring Around the Ring"

Jim speaks in more detail of Ring Around the Ring

The distance of the stretched wire/wires is based upon the function of the relationship between a Lightfoot and the Δt of a distressed fetal heart rate of homo-sapiens. 
The recording instrument and sound pickup system will provide evidence of the impact/sound/ring. The disparate materials will be combined within the extended metaphor of the art experiment: an OB/GYN fetal stethoscope, a fabricated record lathe, x-ray film, an historical reference to the Cold War smuggling of jazz music into the Soviet Union disguised as Bone Jazz and our environmental impact upon Mother Earth. Our impact upon the Earth should be as minimal as a snowflake striking a wire. It is a dream.
© 2017 Nate Strayve, Jim Jenkins working on "Ring Around the Ring"

© 2017 Nate Strayve, Jim Jenkins working on "Ring Around the Ring"

Brian O’Keefe from SoundCloud visited Jim Jenkins to learn a little more about his art, and what it means to be ‘artist in residence’ at Fermilab.

Being in his element, Jim is enthusiastic about his work. I hope his dream continues into a successful exhibition. Good luck Jim!