Mediated Sculpture, by James Cook


Water Compass in Three Chapters

Beachwood rudder, beeswax, steel, book jacket, plaster, lead, DVD projector, DVD player

84″ × 42″ × 38″

Water Compass was created during a residency in the coastal town of Balchik, Bulgaria, on the Black Sea. The physical core of the piece is a beech wood rudder standing about seven feet tall culled from an old fishing boat. I sanded it back in places to reveal the beauty of its use and age in it's many layers of pealing blue, orange, and green paint. Local beeswax and wheat tops taken from nearby fields to repair the two breaks in the rudder.

A screen onto which I could project video imagery was constructed from a leather book cover entitled, ‘The Book of Marvels’, a piece of beech wood cut to fit between the open covers, and some molded beeswax. Many layers of gesso were applied onto the wood to render a projection screen. Over the course of several weeks I video recorded varied surfaces the sea…at all times during the day and in ranging weather conditions.

I was mesmerized by the unending variety of surfaces in the medium of water, having no stasis. The continuous motion of the seas surface has metaphorical value when considering our own perceptual and mental flux, including the attendant beauty and questions of orientation. The projected video imagery consists of a loop of abstracted macro water surfaces. The water sequence imagery is projected onto the rudders screen.

(This work was awarded the 2004 Process-Space International Festival Prize in Balchik, Bulgaria)

Main view of the sculpture
Detail view of the sculpture
Detail view of the sculpture