Orpheus Filter

The Building Centre Trust

London, GB - 2004

Orpheus Filter, presented in 2004 at The Building Centre Trust in England, is a hybrid ‘geotextile’ equipped with layers of miniature valves and clamping mechanisms that slowly digest and convert surrounding material to form a porous network. The array is organized in a cohesive structure using shifting patterns of non-repeating geometry. It is hung vertically like a thick curtain. There is a suggestion of archaic infant sacrifice (derived from the Palatine Burial series) and immersion in nature (derived from the later ‘geotextile’ series) synthesized in the Orpheus Filter piece. Orpheus is captured in this sculpture after he has been dismembered by the Maenads, and fused with the surrounding forest floor. The filtering material has a kind of ‘pull’ built into it – the openings make a one-way osmotic action by virtue of the orientation of the serrated fronds. They make a distributed caressing, sucking motion, embedded by means of patterns of serrated fronds that are configured to work like trapping, softly toothed mouths – a cross between whale’s baleen and octopus suckers. This physical quality resonates with the Orpheus myth, a gesture of hybrid Dionysian fertility. The piece is luminous, and is intended to be seen in darkness with streaks of half light, encouraging semi-conscious associations.