As the west has always been a place for new beginnings, the roaming tumbleweed has always been a romantic symbol for the west. It represents the drifter seeking adventure, the immigrant starting a new life. It holds a sense of freedom, of opportunity, of the ability to pick up and go anywhere, anytime, completely carefree. In that way it is a perfect.
Tumbleweeds are a natural object; creating themselves through the natural processes and reminding us of our place being at once deeply tied to the land and also the ability to pick up and move at will. Through the change and dynamic flow of our natural physical environment.
The tumbleweed; as a natural object perfectly captures the American relationship with the land—deriving from the land while somewhat, strangely unattached. The tumbleweed also symbolizes the fragility of our environment, especially in the deserts of the west.
There is a darker side to that freedom, which is represented by the lack of moorings, a vehicle without a rudder, shifting with the wind, traveling on to no-one knows where and its lonely dissipation into the sun’s glare.
This piece begins with the construction of a 12' diameter recycled foam sphere. A meandering channel cut throughout the face of the foam will give the form an intricate pattern and will house a metal ball that will serve as the tumbleweed’s source of movement. As the weight of the metal ball falls through the channel, it will cause the sphere to shift in the direction of the curve. The entire piece will then be covered in a textural fabric and clear fiberglass or resin so that the ball will be held in its channel but be visible to the viewers. The tumbleweed will move across the landscape in a unique roving pattern dictated by the weight of the ball falling through the channel coupled with the force of the wind. People will also be able to interact with the sculpture, experimenting with the way the weighting of an object influences its movement. The metal ball will be lit from within by LEDs, so that the tumbleweed can be enjoyed both day and night. And although the object achieves its poetry through movement it will be tethered to a foundation that allows it to run within a large area.