Britta Johnson at Lawrimore Project
Courtesy of the artist
What it is: Finding Nothing to Do, Doing Something #1 and #2, two-channel video
Where it is: Lawrimore Project
Seattle artist Britta Johnson created her latest animated videos at the massive seacoast fortification of Fort Worden in Port Townsend. The big concrete batteries, built to house cannons to defend against ships that never arrived—the way war was waged changed, meaning the fort never did become the site of battle—are now part cave, with stalactites growing in them, and part curious history. What can one artist do faced with forces as massive as landscape and war? How to do something, finding nothing to do? On one channel of this two-sided video, the camera is embedded inside a concrete battery as its door seals over with a skin of glowing wax. Tomblike conditions arise and then are dispersed again, the wax disappearing as the motion plays in reverse. Repeat, forever. On the other channel, the same scene is viewed from the outside, several yards away, as daylight streams across a lawn and tall trees, then retracts. It is a little like a funeral, experienced both by the dead and the living.