Kevin Summers is an interdisciplinary artist. His work uses sound, performance, education, perception, found objects, humor and technology. He sees his work as a tool to increase ecological awareness, critical engagement with or appreciation for the world. He grew up here in Northern Michigan and now lives and works in Garfield Township; near the former site of the piggery that was part of the Traverse City State Hospital farm.
How do I make art in collaboration with this site if I accept that the land has natural rights? How do I submit to the site’s subtle cues? How do I let the landscape, history and natural systems of this site assert their dominance and shape the work? How can an artwork open people up to a deeper and more radical understanding of this site’s beauty and complexity, and their connection to it? Is there an artwork more sublime or challenging than this site just as it is? How do I make art that sits more softly on the Earth?
My work here asks participants to literally and figuratively walk deeper into the landscape, toward boundaries and more remote places, think about this land over time, listen, feel, pay attention and let go.
Six-Sided Sound Circle
Perennial – This is a space for listening and meditation. Gently explore, sit, stand or lie down and listen. No sound is a barrier to our experience or understanding. Each sound is an invitation to go deeper or further. A vibrating and pulsing field of sound moves through each of us, in search of a natural ground.
Rock Pile (for Jana)
Perennial – This rock pile sits in this farm field as a historically appropriate sculptural form, sign and marker. It is a memorial to every force that participated in the creation and care of this site: The geologic processes that formed these rocks over billions of years, the glaciation that shaped the land and carried the rocks here, the humans who have and will continue to steward this site. Walk the site, find a rock and place it here.
Ephemeral – A series of drawings comparing the shadows made by new and historic fences at Historic Barns Park. The “Shadow Match” activity asks viewers to examine the impact of fences on the landscape by matching the silhouette drawings to the fences that created those silhouettes. The activity was inspired by a singular Hello Kitty activity sheet from an old coloring book (Copyright SanRio 1972) found during a Site Clearing with the SEEDS EcoCorps.
Tree Tube Firefly Hazard Signals
Ephemeral – Flashing solar-powered LEDs were placed inside existing translucent tree tubes to create a random and recurring light show. The work references both fireflies and flashing hazard road signals.The work adds a dimension of whimsy to the site, avoids bringing in additional material and creating more visual clutter. It appreciates, honors and amplifies the aesthetic possibilities of functional, disregarded and maligned forms already in place.
The Growth Guardians: A Biophilic Journey of Coloring and Poetry for Children of All Ages
Ephemeral – A coloring and poetry book that explores how we can use public art, mindful awareness of the biotic community, humor, sound and modular synthesis to more fully develop a loving, consensual, respectful and appreciative relationship with Earth.