Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas
Around Osprey is a two-screen projection based on our artist residency with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in Osprey, FL, 2018. We created the two video programs: Element A and Element B.
For this virtual exhibition, the two video programs have the same duration of 29 min 38 sec, simulating the interactive element of the original design. The suggested viewing setup is: two laptops placed side-by-side; Element A on the left, Element B on the right. The two programs should be started simultaneously.
Element A is a series of 12 poetic videos and relates to explorations. The moving pictures and sound treatments for these were gathered from our notes, poetry and stories, research outings, and meetings with local residents. The overall flow of the work relates to encounters with the natural world, environmental concerns over development and human encroachment into natural settings, and what derives from those human interventions.
Element B - Our explorations of coastal areas were overshadowed by the omnipresence and effects of the Red Tide, aka K. brevis. As it altered the environment, it also shaped our perceptions. As the cell count of these organisms grew, fish and other oxygen-starved sea animals washed up on beaches. We humans also choked for air. To bring forward observations about the far-reaching effects of the Red Tide, we created Element B (no sound), a real-time reading of a data sets for K. brevis weekly cell counts. (For this virtual exhibition the real-time has been replaced with a video capture.) Element B can be seen as a disrupted state of the environment. The data was entered by day and location on 16 South Florida beaches over a twelve-month timespan. When the counts are low, there is little-to-no change in the moving pictures. When the counts are higher, the images take on corresponding degrees of red tint and temporal shifts that show up as blurriness. The cell count data and location are not directly related to the images they are placed upon, instead, the flow of effects on images relates to how nature works, in cycles, always little by little, and sometimes, surprisingly fast, with overwhelming effects. The text information, on the bottom left of Element B is as follows: K. brevis cell count | Date | Location.
To aid the visualization of the K. brevis data, we are including the information below:
Possible effect of K. brevis
Not present - Levels of 1 cell or less: No effects anticipated
Very Low - Levels > 1 – 10 cells/ml: Possible respiratory irritation; shellfish harvesting closures
Low - Levels > 10 – 100 cells/ml: Respiratory irritation; shellfish harvesting closures; possible fish kills
Medium - Levels > 100 - 1,000 cells/ml: Respiratory irritation; shellfish harvesting closures; possible fish kills; detection of chlorophyll by satellites at upper range of cell abundance
High - Levels > 1,000 cells/ml: As above plus water discoloration
About the Artist
Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel H. Dugas have worked collaboratively on media projects, performances, and writing since 1990. They each continue to carry out individual creative projects as well. While the range of their individual works varies according to social, economic and philosophical concerns, their collaborations often carry an ecological focus.
The two have exhibited and presented internationally. Their Flow: Big Waters website of video poems and soundwalks is based on their residency in the Everglades National Park in 2014. In 2018, they launched EVERGLADES, the book version of the project.