Art Professor Lowry Burgess Completes
30-Year Project This Weekend in Greece
PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University Art Professor Lowry Burgess will complete his 30-year art project, "Seeds of the Infinite Absolute," this weekend (June 30–July 1) at the Mediterranean Sea in Greece. "Seeds" is the sixth aspect of his larger work, "Quiet Axis."
In the "Seeds" project, Burgess created two seeds containing elements from around the world, including sap from 44 trees, water from 36 rivers (from the Mississippi to the Volga), essence from 52 flowers, blood from 33 university faculty and students, vermillion, pulverized holograms of peaches, and telepathic images of 60 pairs of people's desired future lives. These elements were distilled for 25 years under various conditions, including zero gravity during a parabolic flight above Los Angeles. The shells of the seeds are made of 12 metals, which were distilled at the foot of Mount Whitney.
Burgess will place the seeds off the coast of Pilos, Greece. One seed will be placed atop the Taygetos Mountains and the other will be dropped into the 5,000-meter Calypso Deep, the lowest point of the Mediterranean Sea. Here, the African tectonic plate subducts the Eurasian plate. The pod will be pulled under the plates and into the earth's magma. The two pods will always be separated by 30,000 feet and gravity.
"All infinities are two, or double, in their fundamental nature; therefore, this sixth major aspect of 'Quiet Axis' is concerned with the boundary at the edge of infinity, between it and the absolute. They demarcate opposite conditions of infinity relative to the larger field of the 'Quiet Axis,'" Burgess said.
As technology has advanced in the last 50 years, artists have expanded the scope of their work. Burgess creates work that incorporates celestial and cosmic ideas. His "Boundless Cubic Lunar Aperture" was the first artwork taken into space by NASA in 1989.
Burgess is a former dean of Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. He is also a distinguished fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon.
His book, "Burgess, the Quiet Axis," received the Imperishable Gold Award from Le Devoir in Montreal. He has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artist Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation.
To listen to Burgess speak about his artwork, visit the news podcast titled "Burgess Completes 30-year art project" at www.cmu.edu/cfa/labA6.html.