Hue Chen's Project.
Cosponsored by the Esmeralda High Desert Institute and the International Car Forest of the Last Church, visionary artist/activist Hue Chen (@desert_hue) recognizes identity in everyday objects and actions. They bring skills in reinventing materials and expertise in community arts activation. Hue is fascinated with the transformation of materials and intent over time. Hue will be acting as an adventure guide/representative of the International Car Forest of the Last Church, allowing this residency to be participatory for visitors of the Car Forest.
As the artist in residence, Hue invited visitors to contemplate what it means to both be a reflection for someone (mirror) and be open to new ideas, conversations, experiences (a window).
The Car Forest is one of Nevada’s preeminent land art installations. Thousands of visitors around the world take the pilgrimage to Goldfield every year to see this everchanging gallery of images. An Open Walls venue, talented graffiti artists regularly reanimate the cars with new work. Featured in books, movies, fashion shoots, music videos the site has been embraced by an underground audience of everyday people.
Created in the early 2000’s by Goldfield resident Mark Rippe and later, collaborator Chad Sorg, the area has old cars and buses buried in upright positions. Over time, artists and vandals alike have augmented the vehicles to make an ever changing physical landscape. Art is encouraged and destruction discouraged by the nonprofit recently created to preserve the installation. But cars have been impacted and windows have been shattered.
Hue’s residency theme involved creative mending and social dialog.
In Hue’s current body of work, broken glass is repurposed and mended back together with various materials such as, rope, zip ties, or fiber. The verb “to mend” comes from the ancient craft-based practice of fixing torn or damaged clothing; traditionally often done by women. Only recently has anything related to the fiber arts, like mending, been seen as a higher art form in the contemporary arts world. Part of Hue’s exploration of mending is also to question these power structures of mending as labor and as an arts practice. They understand that the process of mending calls to a higher form of the verb, “to mend.” Mending, in this sense means more than just repair, it is a powerful way of bringing people and elements together; introducing non-traditional materials to repair a traditionally non-repaired item, like glass.
The participatory aspect of the residency involved inviting visitors to the Car Forest to assist in mending glass pieces through drilling holes, helping tie zip ties, or simply sitting down for a conversation about what it means to them to be here at the International Car Forest of the Last Church.
Hue was assisted by partner Andrew Hansen.