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Salish Sea Lab

Chris Landau, Miguel Horn
Year: 2014
  • Sculpture
  • Digital Projection
  • Paper Pulp
  • Yellow Cedar Log
Status: Decommissioned


This artwork was a brown, wooden canoe with a cement topography sculpture inside the canoe. Created as part of the Vancouver Biennale, Salish Sea Lab contemplates the effect of rising sea levels on the diverse topography of the Salish Sea Basin along the US/Canadian International Border. The work allowed viewers to experience larger landscape phenomena at a smaller, yet palpable scale. Salish Sea Lab offered the opportunity for reflection on larger regional systems, providing another dimension to our environmental perception. The installation drew from traditions of boat-building as well as the local topography and ecology of waterways and mountainsides. The resultant sculpture useed new technology to explore the ancient history and future of the region, finding a dynamic balance where the two worlds come together.

The canoe was built with help from local First Nations groups, carved using their traditional methods and style. For the project, the artists received a 100 year old cedar log as a donation from a logging company. One of the Squamish Nation elders had always dreamed of creating his last canoe and going on a trip to Bella Bella with his family. Knowing this, the artists gifted half of the cedar log to the family to create the canoe.

Artist Statement

Considering the theme of “Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver”, we collaboratively explored this phenomena through a combination of projected animation on sculptural forms. The central images of the installation draw from the traditions of boat building in the Squamish region as well as the topography of waterways and mountain sides that characterize the region’s natural wonder and unique geographic identity. We manipulate these boundaries of land and sea through projected, fluctuating light.”

Miguel Horn lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. he maintains his studio at el cubo, a space he founded in 2019 in the parkside neighborhood of West Philadelphia. He lives in South Philadelphia where he is raising his two children with his wife and community.

Primarily focused on design, education, and technology, Chris’s artistic roots in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture have evolved into establishing and managing his digital design firm, LANDAU, since 2018. Notable among his achievements is Land Kit, a computational toolset revolutionizing landscape design.

Previously serving as a ‘Visualizer’ and ‘Digital Design Manager’ at OLIN, a renowned landscape architecture firm, Chris contributed to global projects by integrating 3D modelling, rendering, parametric design, and python development. His work propelled OLIN and other firms into the 21st Century, demonstrating his commitment to innovation and advancement in the design field.

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