LOCATION : PROPOSAL LOCATIONS ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER BETWEEN CELILO FALLS & THE DALLES
MATERIAL : GLASS, QUARTZ SAND, SILICA
Salmon scales tell the history of each salmon and its life span. The scales are like a thumb print and rings in a tree revealing the inter-connected relationships between salmon, trees, and humans.
The concentric rings reveal the life of the salmon from its first year in the river at the center of the rings which are tighter due to the limited amount of food available in the river. After the salmon has spent its first year in the ocean the rings begin to become spaced out. During the winter months the rings become tighter because of the cold weather and this is visible in the scale. The age of the salmon and the years it spent in the ocean building its energy reserves can be determined by counting these rings. Once the salmon has reached the proper age and has the energy to migrate to its traditional spawning grounds then they will begin the journey upstream to the its origins.
The salmons journey back home is influenced by the Earth's magnetic fields as well as the unique mineral fingerprint that is unique to each traditional spawning grounds that are formed over the years through the combination of the underlying geological landscape and its shaping of the watershed and hydrology.
This sculpture is symbolic to the relationship between the salmon people who lived along the Columbia River and sustained their unique culture based on the the identity of place. The geological landscape of the Columbia River Gorge and its basalt bedrock have guided the flow of water over the centuries and the migrating salmon past the traditional fishing villages that occupied the river's edge.
The salmon scale sculpture acts as a way finding device along a proposed trail system where it highlights the history of the relationship between salmon and people. The sculpture is made of cast glass with an etched image in the center from a historical photo of the salmon people such as the Wasco and Wishram.
The sculpture also would illuminate based on the journey of each of the five important salmon species that historically have made their journey up the Columbia River to its various tributary rivers and creeks. The sculpture would illuminate different colors based the actual passing of a particular salmon species. Red would represent Chinook and Purple would represent Sockeye for example. The sculptures would bring to light the presence of the passing salmon beneath the surface of the water and make visible to the pedestrians along the trail their submerged presence in our life and culture. Data would be collected through collaboration with NOAA & F