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How do we remain receptive to ecological signals in the chaos of climate change?




As lead artist for the Island Institute’s 2017 Tidelines Tour, Nina Elder helped design a mobile residency aboard Alaska’s public ferry and in towns along the way. A select team of five artists were brought together to explore the theme of “Signal-To-Noise” throughout a three-week community engaged journey. Signal-to-noise is a ratio that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise interfering with it. Through events, interviews, student projects, and a sculptural installation, the residents considered how the noise caused by human environmental impact rises alongside the internal noise of modern life. Community engagements occurred aboard the Alaska Marine Ferry and in the Alaskan towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, Gustavus, and Sitka.

This project is made possible by the Art Works program at the National Endowment for the Arts, the Harper Arts Touring Fund, New Pathways Alaska, the Juneau Community Foundation through the contributions of the Machamer Fund, the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council, the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, the Gustavus Public Library, and Hoonah City Schools.


Chosen from an international pool of applicants, the Tidelines team comprised Billy Joe Miller, Jimmy Riordan, and Wendy Given, with lead artist Nina Elder, and tour facilitation by Peter Bradley. Learn more.



With the residents of Gustavus, Alaska, a tiny island community, the Tidelines artists created a temporary sculptural installation. Tide Line was conceived as a response to rising ocean levels and an homage to Alaskan islanders relationship to the sea. Utilizing the regional skill of rope tying, and the excesses of rope that wash ashore on the island, the sculpture suspended rocks parallel to the rising and falling ocean.

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