Ghosts is a collection of six stacked piles of fieldstone collected from the site. From these mounds arise white marble stones drilled and fitted with expansion bolt assemblies and connected via fine woven steel wire encased in a black weatherproof covering to arboricultural cables mounted in the surrounding trees and camouflaged with spray paint. The entire sculpture is built within a 30 meter square abandoned stone sheepfold which has been overgrown with trees since its release from agricultural use between 75 and 100 years prior.
The client is a contemporary art collector and patron of the arts. This commission is one of several sculptures installed on the large formerly agricultural site (around 50 hectares). Each sculpture is part of a viewing/experiential itinerary for the client and his visitors. The scope of the overall project is to assemble a collection of work conceived and built at the highest levels of contemporary cultural production in the field of large scale site-specific sculpture. Ghosts was designed to honor the recently deceased mother of the client. Marking the land to commemorate loved ones who have died is a primal calling for landscape architecture. Ghosts drives stones to flight to recall and honor a mother lost, with a kind of magic, where base stones creep into the sky and spin in the wind, like spirits in the woods. The bright white color of the marble contrasts highly with the darkness of the woodland. The wires and cables holding the marble chunks aloft are obscured by the chaos of the forest. The installation employed a tracked lift, operated by the designer/builder, to allow for the establishment of tree cables 18 meters up in the trees. Thin high tensile steel cable was mounted to stainless steel threaded rod drilled through the trees and affixed with stainless steel washers, lock nuts and eye nuts. From these cables woven steel wires were attached with clasps and lowered to the stone piles and pre-drilled marble pieces were fitted with trim expansion bolt assemblies. The marble stones were connected to the fine wires with rotating steel swivels and suspended in the air so that they appear to float up off the piles from the viewing distance, around 20 meters away from the installation.
In terms of environmental impact the work was done when the forest soil was frozen in the late winter eliminating the risk of any soil compaction or erosion in the steep wooded site. The connection of the steel supports to the trees was done with accepted arboricultural practice used to cable trees for safety. The impact on the trees of the hardware is minimal by design. A central feature of the project is to minimize the visibility of the connecting hardware and to barely impact the woodland setting that the project occupies.
Entrant office name: Golden Bough Landscape Architecture, Jon Piasecki
Role of the entrant in the project: Designer and builder
Project location: Millbrook, N.Y. U.S.A.
Design year: 2016
Year Built: 2016