Community Innovator and Artist-in-Residence with the crees Foundation, 2015
In April of 2015, I was commissioned by the crees Foundation to be Community Innovator at their Manu Learning Center located in the Peruvian Amazon. I spent a month in the Manu Biosphere, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. My initial visit investigated the center’s physical infrastructure as well as its conceptual framework. I participated in jungle surveys; interviewed the staff, scientists, and volunteers at the MLC; mapped the research area using GPS; and began several new bodies of photographic work. This initial visit was designed to help catalyze the next stage in the foundation’s community philosophy.
The crees Rainforest Journalist, Katie Lin, who took the above photograph, accompanied me on one of my jungle explorations for an interview about the intersections of art and science in my practice. The short podcast is available for streaming on the crees website: The art in science: Andrew Ranville reflects on his residency at the MLC.
Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition, 2014
In the spring of 2014, I was invited to be a TBA21 Academy Fellow on an expedition to Isla del Coco in the remote Pacific. I took part in Treasure of Lima: A Buried Exhibition, curated by Nadim Samman. After donating an artwork to be included in a contemporary treasure chest, I traveled with a expedition team aboard the Dardanella research and art vessel to help bury the treasure on the island. A duplicate chest containing only an encrypted map was sold at auction, raising $150,000 for the conservation and study of pelagic species around island. Isla del Coco is a National Park of Costa Rica and an UNESCO World Heritage Site and the project was carried out with the permission and support of the Costa Rican government.
The project questions traditional notions of collecting and exhibiting, and brings attention to this unique marine environment and its legendary history. I am honored to be included in this unique exhibition with artists such as Marina Abramovic, Doug Aitkin, Olafur Eliasson, and Ed Ruscha. The chest was designed by architects Aranda/Lasch. Photographs are courtesy of TBA21 Academy and fellow artists.
Seven Summits, 2011-2012
The Seven Summits project was commissioned for the 4th edition of the Marrakech Biennale. In October 2011 I summited the seven mountains over 4000 meters in the Western High Atlas range. With the blessing of the local Berber community I cut a stone from each peak and transported them to Marrakech to be displayed in a temporary installation. At the culmination of the exhibition I repeated the trek, restoring the stones to their exact origins. The seven mountains summited were Toubkal (4167m), Timesguida (4091m), Ras (4087m), Afella (4032m), Toubkal West (4024m), Akioud (4016m), and Biguinoussene (4001m).
The installation consisted of the peaks set atop a framework of Atlas Cedar—a locally-sourced wood that grows near the mountains. Constructed at 1/1000th scale to the size and location of the mountains, the names have been carved into the wood to identify the stones above. Situated on the roof of the Théâtre Royal, the Atlas Mountains are visible through the seven structures.
Integral to the success of this project was local Moroccan support including Hafid Lamrani (satchel maker), Houssein 'Tajin' Chajaa (Berber guide), Said Aafik (contractor), Youssef Latrach (student intern), Youssef Seltaoui (woodcarver), Abd Rahim Ouhassou (assistant), Tarik Bani (assistant), and Salima Hadimi (production assistant). High Atlas photography and video assistance by Lachlan Pettit and Hermione O'Hea.