January 1, 1939, 4 a.m. - a weather report

Anna van Suchtelen / January 1, 1939, 4 a.m. - a weather report
Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, Central Washington University  
March 12 - April 16, 2006

I arrived here January 1, 1939 at 4 a.m. It was pitch dark. The whole town was buried in a a fog covering for two months. I got my directions turned around then and have never been able to straighten them out in all the time I have been here. This installation takes as its starting-point a quote from CWU emeritus art professor Sarah Spurgeon about her first memory upon arriving in Ellensburg, WA on January 1, 1939, at 4 a.m.

Through sound, projected texts and visitor’s participation, Anna van Suchtelen’s piece explores the context of an arrival. The changing weather serves as a metaphor for new beginnings and pivotal events. While walking through the space, one travels through time and history. From the present, while listening to the sounds of weather and mental reports, one goes back in time to explore one’s own memories by completing interactive writing prompts. And further back, to explore the significance of the date January 1, 1939. Impressions of historical events from late 1938 to early 1939 are evoked by the projected texts, such as the early stirrings of WWII in Europe and America’s newfound prosperity after the Great Depression, including the Golden Age of Hollywood and the burial of the Westinghouse time capsule.

Non-fiction and fiction stand side by side; serious and whimsical themes switch to and fro; black becomes white and vice versa. Events range from local to global, and cross the ocean to explore the theme of new arrivals in a broader sense: immigration, exile, and leaving one’s home or country to make a new start elsewhere.