Manon Bogerd Wada

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Installation inSITE is an experimental in situ sculpture created by the removal of soil from a plot of land with dimensions of 53ft by 13ft. In this piece, two pathways descend into the earth where they converge at the center. At this point of convergence, two seats carved from earth face each other. This land intervention is an attempt to embody moments of time in one’s life journey.

One pathway springs from a pre-existing road. This main pathway into inSITE has two trees on either side, forming a natural gate. The opposite pathway leads out of the earth and continues along at ground level, until it is abruptly cut off by a barbed-wire boundary and we are confronted with a view of inaccessible wilderness beyond. Although this pathway can be used as an access point, it contrasts the main entrance as it is not a thoroughfare and as an exit point from inSITE, it is essentially a dead end.

These two pathways are parallel, yet misaligned. Cutting into the ground in the form of stairways, they meet at the deepest section at the center. This intersection is a transitional point and pivotal site for engagement. When sitting within this space, the threshold where the underworld meets the world above is directly visible at eye level. This node highlights the experience of being inside the earth and is intended for introspection. When two people are seated within, they are face to face. For both viewers, one pathway is always visible when looking to the right; the opposite pathway is hidden from their seated point of view when looking left. This arrangement creates a shared experience for these two people– of mirrored, yet ultimately offset, perspectives.

In 2014 while studying in Tuscany, Italy, I began developing blueprints for a structure carved into the earth. An intervention into landscape and site, the form of this project takes shape through removal of soil and the creation of negative space. This piece gestures towards the architecture of a house sunken into the ground with rooms demarcated by varying depths, made accessible by stairs.

I created an initial model in ceramic and I am interested to further develop this concept, however, as a site-specific work at ComPeung that responds to natural elements of the land on site as well as weather/climate conditions. I am intrigued to focus on the form and structure, the subtle experiences of being inside the earth, as well as the light and shadows cast within this piece.

Upon my arrival in Thailand, I intend to research and visit architectural sites specifically directed towards architects’ responses to building with weather/climate conditions. Additionally, I am interested to learn about and spend time in Chiang Mai prior to the artist residency to gain insight to the local natural environment, which would essentially infuse the premise of this project. An additional intention of mine is to experiment with different building methods on a small scale prior to creating a larger installation on site.

In 2009, I completed my BFA in Community Arts with a concentration in Sculpture from California College of the Arts. Environment and social engagement are significant threads in my art practice. Within found objects, I am intrigued to discover hidden stories and to divulge the unseen and overlooked.  In recent years, I have worked as a teaching artist and I was awarded grants for my HEARTH Community Art Garden Project to partner with public elementary schools in Oakland, California. HEARTH residencies culminated with installations at the elementary schools as well as Laney College’s edible garden. In 2014, I was invited to the Artist Residency, A Place of Her Own, and later served on their Curatorial Team. As a member of AAWAA (Asian American Women Artists Association), I am actively involved and exhibit frequently with this organization. Currently, I am based in the San Francisco Bay Area where I work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Photo by Reiko Fujii
Photo by Reiko Fujii