Our first official post for the Inside the Warehouse blog comes from photographer, author, and environmentalist Eddee Daniel, who reflects on his work “Seiche”, a piece featured in the On the Nature of Wisconsin exhibit.
Eddee Daniel. Seiche, from the Menomonee Valley project, 2014
"It was a somewhat gloomy overcast autumn afternoon when I finished a shoot in Three Bridges Park and headed back to my car at 33rd Ct. As I crossed the pedestrian bridge over the Menomonee River I glanced down and was immediately arrested by the odd sight of swirling water. When I looked more closely I could see that mostly yellowish leaves were flowing slowly downstream and oily streaks with a metallic blue-gray sheen were flowing slowly upstream. These two contrasting streams met just below the bridge and swirled around each other. It didn’t seem possible.
I’d walked over this bridge many times. The river had always flowed freely downstream at this point, well above the place where it usually meets the Lake Michigan estuary, near the 27th Street viaduct. But now it appeared that somehow lake water was pushing the river backwards. I didn’t know why at the time; all I knew was that what I was seeing was beautiful and eerie and intriguing. So, I made a series of photographs that eventually became “Seiche.”
Upon researching the phenomenon, I learned that seiche (pronounced “saysh”) refers to a temporary, tide-like oscillation in the water level of a body of water not typically subject to tides, such as Lake Michigan. It is often caused by changes in atmospheric pressure. In this case, the phenomenon became visible due to the coincidence of the natural (leaves) and unnatural (oily slicks) being pushed together and commingling. “Seiche” is not just a metaphor for the human impact on nature but a perfect representation of themes that underpin my work.
It is an honor to have my work, “Seiche,” included in the exhibition, “On the Nature of Wisconsin.” Nature and in particular the relationship between humans and nature have been at the forefront of my artistic practice for a long time. This piece was created during an artist in residency in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley that ran January to December, 2014. The residency was sponsored by Menomonee Valley Partners in association with Zimmerman Architectural Studios. The residency program was intended to stimulate an exchange of ideas about the Valley, its history, its future and its place as a dynamic and vital part of the fabric of Milwaukee. The work created during the residency lives on in a dedicated website: Menomonee Valley.
The Menomonee Valley residency was part of an on-going series of related projects I’ve called Urban Wilderness. The series promotes an awareness of the interrelationship between urban and natural environments. My latest project in this series is called “A Wealth of Nature: Parks and natural areas in Southeastern Wisconsin.” The project is in association with Preserve Our Parks and has its own dedicated website: awealthofnature.org."
Eddee Daniel. "Milwaukee River Greenway"
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