Sena Clara Creston

Semilla Besada




When I moved to Eastern Washington from New York City, I was overcome by how open it was. For the first time I could be truly alone in the desolate landscape. Impromptu rural shooting pits were an oasis of implied human activity. They were usually as vacant as the surrounding landscape, but the evidence of human presence was clear. Acres of public land were carpeted with thousands of spent shotgun shells. Brightly colored totems of red, blue, green, pink and yellow they look like toys or candy, innocuous and fun. But each one arrived with a secret explosion and an engineered intention of bloodshed.

How do I tell this story? It was a strange sensation to stand alone in plain sight in a bounty of catastrophic misses. Where I come from, every line of sight is interrupted by a human being and I am afraid for what could have been. I wanted to create an environment that evoked feelings of security and fear, showcasing the overwhelming bounty of a beautiful and dangerous material. I returned to the site again and again. Sometimes people would be there, shooting, and I would become afraid and drive away. Sometimes I would stay and listen or watch. Sometimes I would shoot photographs and video and sometimes I would stop and talk to the people about their story, about their feelings about gun rights and the second amendment and the feeling of safety and the feeling of freedom and the feeling of power and the feeling of fear.

The material matters. We don’t live in a world of nature, we live in a world of stuff, and that stuff doesn’t just go away after it serves its objective. Made of immortal plastic, it lingers as a reminder to what it once was. I spent months foraging for shells, returning with buckets full of colorful treasures. Each one had their own history seasoned by explosion, weather and neglect, but they were all related. They looked like scales or cells or the bark of a tree. They looked like leaves or flowers or crumpled bits of paper. I wove the shells together to form an enclosed enterable biomorphic structure. It looks like a tree or creature. It looks like Candy Land or McDonald’s Play House. It looks like a cave or a cage. It looks like an explosion. It looks like the cycle of life.

The Semilla Besada invites the viewer inside, embracing them with its outstretched arms of reassuring beauty while telling a history of violence and destruction. Its tentacle branches envelope you, pulling you in for a closer look. The shells are beautiful. They are unique. Tie-dyed by the sun and squashed into abstract sculptures. They do not hide what they are, but showcase their eternal brutal beauty.

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