Mentor Highlight / Andy Ducett at Eaux Claires Festival 2017
This past June, Visiting Faculty and MFA mentor Andy DuCett was a contributing artist at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Eaux Claires is an annual event created in 2015 by Justin Vernon of indie folk band Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of indie rock band The National. Performers at the third annual Eaux Claires festival this summer included Chance the Rapper, Paul Simon, Fiest, Wilco, and more.
DuCett “makes work that collects, maps, groups, and plays with the non-linear ways we relate to the world around us.” DuCett had two art installations at the festival, the first in collaboration with Los Angeles sound artist and performer Chris Kallmyer. Kallmyer’s work “explores a participatory approach to making music through touch, taste, and process using everyday objects that point to who we are and where we live.”
Their collaborative installation, titled Living Room, was an upper midwestern living room set deep in the woods at Eaux Claires. Living Room included objects sourced from local homes in Wisconsin and a stereo broadcasting a recording of Super Bowl I, modified by Kallmyer with ambient audio tracks. Festival goers were invited to the installation to “come take a nap, watch the trees from the couch, or listen to some sounds on a vintage stereo console.” As with any living room, anyone who came to visit was asked to remove their shoes.
DuCett and Kallmyer had been interested in collaborating on a project for some time, and the Eaux Claires seemed like a great opportunity to create an installation that blended both of their unique and overlapping sensibilities. Placing a living room in the woods wasn’t the piece the pair originally planned on, but Living Room came to life through the collaborative process. As DuCett and Kallmyer worked with the artistic director and got to know the needs of the festival, Living Room became a pragmatic solution that recontextualized the act of people watching personal interactions—like at a concert—into an art installation.
DuCett and Kallmyer both completed multiple installations at Eaux Claires 2017. MOMS Booth, DuCett’s other project, was exactly what it sounds like: a station where festival goers could “ask about life’s big questions, get a hug or some help with your homework, and grab some sunscreen from Mom.” An opportunity to “engage with the familiar notions of motherhood and see how they change from person to person,” MOMS Booth was staffed by real moms from the local community.
This was not the first iteration of MOMS Booth, and DuCett was intrigued by the new and authentic interactions people had with moms at a music festival rather than in a gallery. It became a natural landmark location at the festival for a new lactation tent, and like a true midwestern mother, a few moms attending the festival and not originally a part of the project stepped behind the booth to provide some motherly advice. The booth, DuCett tells participating moms, is a platform for them to interpret motherhood and for them to be who they are, each bringing a different idea of what it means to be motherly.
Kallmyer’s other project, Crickets, was the sound of “one thousand live crickets amplified throughout the Eaux Claires woods. Installed in their natural environment, the crickets created a sound that points to memory, the passage of time, and the poetics of place.”
If you’re disappointed about missing out on the experience of Eaux Claires 2017, don’t worry—DuCett is already dreaming up ideas for next year’s festival.
Photography courtesy of Andy DuCett.