David Franusich: Down Stream [Appalachia]

  • ©2019, David Franusich

  • ©2019, David Franusich



    Down Stream [Appalachia]


Creation Year:



    Interactive, digitally-fabricated sculpture, projection, spatial audio




Artist Statement:

    “Down Stream [Appalachia]” addresses themes of ecological preservation, conservation, and connectedness. The exhibition is composed of reflective, refractive sculptures and underwater video footage, surrounded by fully immersive spatial audio. The interactive audiovisual elements respond to audience presence and proximity, illuminating the precarity of imperiled freshwater species in the Appalachian region.

    Extended Summary:

    Down Stream [Appalachia] is an immersive, interactive art installation that addresses themes of ecological preservation, conservation, and connectedness—illuminating the precarity of imperiled freshwater species in the Appalachian region. The exhibition is composed of three reflective, refractive sculptural forms, each made from stacked acrylic and mirrored surfaces, projected on from within to create glowing objects that appear to float in the darkness, surrounded by spatialized sound consisting of music and field recorded audio. Each object contains video footage of a different imperiled animal native to southwest Virginia: The Candy Darter (Etheostoma osburni); the Cumberlandian Combshell (Epioblasma brevidens) and other freshwater mussels; and the Eastern Hellbender Salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis).

    Upon entering the installation, the viewer is plunged into near darkness and submerged in swirling sound, with only the glow from the three forms to guide them, acting as beacons in the void. A disorienting loss of sense of place requires the viewer to focus on the glimmering forms, begging them to draw closer to the objects, and subsequently the threatened and endangered animals contained therein. The glowing forms could be likened to pools of water, precious gems, or shards of amber preserving these animals for a hypothetical future where they may not exist. As each object is approached, rippling underwater footage fades away to reveal the animals in their natural habitats, illuminating these rarely seen and imperiled species. Simultaneously, the immersive audio reacts to the presence of the viewer, swelling and unfolding new threads of the composition. The reactions are compounded as more people gather, rising to a nearly smothering blanket of sound.

Other Information:

    Down Stream [Appalachia] attempts to foster a connection between the viewer and the threatened/endangered animals contained within.


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