the bottom of the sea, 2010
Port of Portland, PDX, Port of Portland Airport, Portland, Oregon; in the entry lobby, ground floor
The entire installation for the lobby is The Bottom of the Sea. It includes the sculpture, Core; the video of diatoms on the wall above the sculpture and the black terrazzo floor.
The vast and articulate biological machine, the world ocean, inspired this artwork installation. The sculpture, Core, is composed of stratified luminous layers that ripple with light. It appears as a vestige formed by the ocean currents, recalling the hull of a ship and holding the power of waves.
On the high wall behind, and above the sculpture is the video of diatoms. As the earth’s largest carbon removal system, the delicate diatoms are forever blooming on the surface of the ocean and invisibly falling to the depths the ocean floor. The video celebrates their delicate structure, so beautiful as to be called the jewels of the sea.
The terrazzo floor is filled with flotsam and jetsam of the ocean. Shells, jewels, and the luminous mother-of-pearl are all cast into the black terrazzo – even a string of pearls.
This artwork honors the ocean as a biological machine. It is located in the lobby adjacent to the Living Machine, the architectural gesture that is also a biological machine, transforming the water used in the building into clean water. There is a poetic call and response between the Living Machine and the sculpture that speaks of the organic machinery of life.