NAV x Kristina Guison | Metal Manipulation

Written by NAVIGATION participant, Louis Delos Reyes

When I walked into the Kapisanan Centre, I navigated behind the curtains to find Kristina, Darrel, and Eugene in a dimly lit space hanging metallic objects from the ceiling with metal wires. I did not know what to do, so I solemnly walked into the space and did as they were doing. I didn’t ask what they were doing, just greeted everyone with a “hello.” Everyone was focused on his or her task, which I can only assume was – to “hang stuff with metal wire.” With limited instruction on the task, I played along. We stood on chairs to hang wire from the ceiling, tugged on our wires for more tension, and wrapped wires to connect with other objects, all without verbal direction.

Every move we made was self-directed; we all had free reign on our task. With this in mind, the amount of focus put into this one task made it feel like an instinctive experience. The dimmed light, and little to no verbal communication during the task, created an environment of tranquility, and earnestness. We knew when to help each other, and when to give each other space.

When all of the metal objects were connected by wire, we stood back and took a look at what we made. There was silence in the room, as we observed the piece. I didn’t know what to think of it; for me, I appreciated the shadows it cast due to the dim room and spotlights from above. For others, the installation piece symbolized the process or hard work we put in.

We were given stethoscopes and a wooden stick to tap on the metal objects. Tapping one metal object on the end of a wire, and listening to a connected object from the other end, you can hear metal vibrations, from loud rings, to low echoes, evocative of listening to the sound of an ocean from a seashell. This production of sound varied depending on the material of wire being used. Tin, copper, or silver wire, each produced their own unique tone.

I enjoyed the notion of not knowing. In the end we created an organism, according to Kristina, due to the sound and movement of sound between object to object. And Darrel shared his feelings and mentioned the installation piece was “emotional” because of the process we went through to create it. So it’s safe to say, we made an emotional organism.