Crafted: Objects in Flux, MFA Boston, Boston, MA
August, 2015 – January, 2016
Mood Indigo, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, WA
April 9 – October 9, 2016
Indelible Blue: Indigo Across the Globe, Albuquerque Museum of Art, Albuquerque, NM
January 8 – April 24, 2022
Dried indigo plants, indigo dyed ramie, interactive sound
Installation by Rowland Ricketts, Sound by Norbert Herber
Mobile Section was created for the Museum of Fine Arts Boston’s exhibition Crafted: Objects in Flux. To further explore our understanding of process in relation to art-making that we had examined in earlier collaborations, I invited Norbert Herber to develop a new sound work for this installation. Mobile Section is comprised of very simple elements: Indigo dyed cloth, dried indigo plants, and sound – both of and derived from the growing, harvesting, composting, and dyeing processes. Each of these elements, in its own way, captures some aspect or “section” of one historical indigo process that leads from seed to color.
Gilles Deleuze describes a conception of reality in which every object or moment, such as the dyed cloth, plants, and sound that make up this installation, can be understood as constituent parts that undergo a continuous change of relations. This change, when conceived as movement, is qualitative. It “…expresses the changing of the whole in relation
to the objects and is itself a mobile section of duration.” (Deleuz, Cinema I: The Movement-Image, 1983) An artwork cannot stand for the whole, just as it cannot be reduced to its quanta. Rather, as a mobile section, the sonic and visual elements of this installation are part of a whole that include the annual loop of the indigo cycle, craft knowledge, the evolution of (historical) traditions of making, and our constant reinterpretation of these elements based on the changing conditions of the culture in which we live. “The real whole might well be, we conceive, an invisible continuity” – something that we engage in but that like the color it produces is at once present yet immaterial and always just beyond our grasp.
After showing at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, this installation was reconfigured and featured in the Seattle Art Museum’s exhibit Mood Indigo and Indelible Blue: Indigo Across the Globe at the Albuquerque Museum of Art.