LOCATION : PROPOSAL FOR CELILO PARK, OREGON
MATERIAL : HYDRATED LIME, VOLCANIC ASH, SAND, GLASS,
Salmon are a keystone species that bring life to a diversity of species from humans, bears, ealges, osprey, and other creatures that feed on its physical remains that have been left on the earth or in the water where its body becomes nutrients for future generations of life. The body of the salmon provides nutrients that helps build the soils within the surrounding forests and organisms in the forest floor process the materials for trees to ultimately uptakes as a fertilizer.
Salmon provided the main form of sustenance for the Columbia River tribes such as the Wasco, Wishram, Chinook, Nez Perce, and Umatilla. The tribes who lived along the river's edge understood the importance of salmon as a keystone species. The death of a spawning salmon brings life to a new generation of salmon, but they also provide materials and resources to the entire ecosystem.
Humans benefit from its resources primarily as a food source, but its role in the health of forests also enables the timber that we harvest for lumber to build our homes. The limestone deposits of ancient ocean beds are the result of years of calcium deposition from invertebrates that live within our oceans and rivers. The sand eroded from our mountains are flushed through the rivers to the oceans where they raw materials can be collected and used as an important ingredient to a variety of building materials.
The salmon vertebrae sculpture was inspired by the very form of the vertebrae as well as the materials in which it is composed. The sculpture acts as an observatory of time and the cycles of the seasons that ultimately determine the return of the spawning salmon. The green roof acts as a catchment for the rain and is symbolic to the watershed that brings life to the landscape. During the day sunlight passes through the openings and casts light onto the walls and central reflection table. A circular bench wraps around the edge of the inner wall where one can observe the passage of time during the day. At night the inner light casts its structural form onto the surrounding darkness where we contemplate the day that has now passed and dream about how the landscape once was before it had been altered over time and inundated by our consumption of water, electricity, and natural resources.
The salmon is so vital to the life of the landscape and to human survival. Without the health of the water and land we would not be able to exist and the regenerative nature of salmon will not be able to nurture the culture of the future.