Art residency: Hayden Dunham
In June 2019 Hayden Dunham undertook a residency at the Eden Project to investigate rubber plants, oil, and plant gender, echoing elements of her research for an earlier work, 7 Sisters, a play performed at MoMA PS1, New York, in February 2018. Her residency culminated in two artworks: ‘In Syncing’, a performance presented at the Zabludowicz Collection, and ‘At the Mouth of the Sky’, a continued installation and performance for the Eden Project.
Dunham was inspired by how the growing plants in the Rainforest Biome need gentle disturbance (wind) to become established, grounded and stabilised (much like us) and that within the captive space, the necessary flow of air is generated by the visiting public.
At the Mouth of the Sky uses sound to generate vibrations throughout the Lookout, a floating metal structure at the top of the 50m-high Rainforest Biome.
The soundscape echoes the air circulation in the Biome and the exchange of breath between the plants and their visitors. Dunham used her own body and breath to generate the sound.
This artwork ties into a broader, societal concern in the inter-connectedness of humans and nature, and the dialogue between human bodies and materials that cannot be easily seen but are constantly in conversation with, such as asbestos, fluoride and microplastics.
At the Mouth of the Sky was recorded by the artist with London-based collaborator Jack Armitage. Her residency at Eden was facilitated in partnership with the Zabludowicz Collection.
Hayden Dunham was born in Austin, Texas, in 1988. Her sculptures are living and transformational in nature, actively relating with the environment in which they are placed. Her constantly evolving practice derives from a personal interest in ecological studies, and her choice of materials evokes both aesthetic and emotional responses. She explores ideas of systems, state change and energy, and is invested in the active exchange of this energy. Dunham's work has featured in numerous exhibitions at key galleries and museums, including the Moma PS1, Art Basel Miami and the Zabludowicz Collection. Dunham lives and works in Los Angeles and New York, USA.