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Environmental Responsibility in Action ...and Art

Featuring: Electrosonic

Project Overview: Bringing together environmental subject and environmental design, Electrosonic was proud to install Gregory Colbert's exhibit, Ashes and Snow at the Nomadic Museum in historic Zócalo, Mexico City.

Mr. Colbert's exhibit integrates a variety of media to demonstrate the beauty, complexity and power of nature. In telling his story that has been exhibited around the world and enjoyed by over one million people, Mr. Colbert makes use of fifty large scale photographic works, a sixty minute film, short films, art and novel in letters. Moreover, the museum itself is a unique undertaking and a masterful example of creative environmental design.

Like Gregory Colbert's subject, the Nomadic Museum is a study in transience and sustainability. Designed by Colombian architect Simon Velez, the museum is made of bamboo and other recycled and reused materials. Because the museum travels with the exhibit, the environmental design of the structure itself becomes part of the overall experience for visitors. The Nomadic Museum, as the Ashes and Snow representatives describe, "demonstrates sustainable practices and an innovative architectural approach."

It is a marriage like this that Electrosonic built on in its work to bring the exhibit at the Nomadic Museum to life. For the Mexico City installation Electrosonic provided the background audio for the two large photo galleries; installed two small, high definition theater projection and audio systems; and lit the main gallery theatre with a two thousand 25,000 lumen projection system and audio. In this process, the Electrosonic project team appealed to the nature of the building and its surrounding area as well as the spirit and presentation of Colbert's unique exhibit. Lighting installation responded to the world outside the museum as well as the world of Colbert's photos. Sound design mirrored the sounds of nature and swelled as visitors walked through the exhibit.

By April 27, when the Mexico City exhibit closed its doors, 8,732,632 people had visited it in just one hundred days. Electrosonic's work to present the exhibit as an organic whole helped lead to what The Economist called "an extraordinary exhibit."

Marking the extraordinary exhibit, and Electrosonic's reach, is the fact that it traveled internationally. In addition to the New Mexico City staging that wrapped the project, Electrosonic helped to debut Ashes & Snow in New York three years earlier.

Integrating the themes of the exhibit and the natural element of the Hudson River where the Nomadic Museum was located was a challenge. Rich Krzesinski, Electrosonic Project Manager, describes the process of mounting the screen so that it would "appear to be floating in space" and the way that the Museum swayed in the wind off the river. The 25,000 lumen projection system for the New York installation was carefully mounted to limit the effects of motion on the images. Integrating the AV design with the artistic design on the Ashes and Snow project marks the coming together of environmental design in concept, installation and location. A courageous undertaking, the Electrosonic installation was haled as "a smashing success" by Alessandra Pasquino, the Ashes and Snow project post supervisor.