En Route

slip cast porcelain
3.5'h x 8'w x 0.5"d
2010

Exhibited at Ice Cube Gallery, Denver, Colorado.

Swarms are mesmerizing to watch, with their swirling movement and shape-shifting forms. They are systems in constant flux, writhing in the air until they find an appropriate place and time to land. Though swarm behavior is complex, it is basically the result of simple, individual actions, just as migration is the result of individuals traveling.

The objects in this swarm are limpets, sea creatures that live mostly in the intertidal zones of the ocean. They are primitive animals without a developed brain, yet they have an ability to travel out to sea and later return to the exact spot they left. I like this simple model of homing instinct, a base instinct common to many animals.

As humans, we have the shared experience of seeking a “home”—a place in the world where we feel we should be and where we feel at peace with ourselves. In this constant search, there is often an uncomfortable period during transit from origin to destination, when we are in neither place. With the frozen swarm movement of En Route, I attempt to capture those unsettling feelings that arise when letting go of one shore to reach for another.

- Elaine K. Ng