Back to Artship Olympia

Joanna Platt & Nathan Solomon

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Laid Up in Ordinary

This work explores the fleeting nature of memory, the fragments picked up over a lifetime, and the haunting stories of those long departed that continue to resonate in present time. The installation is located in the Sick Bay because it was a place of solitude, a place where mortality was confronted, and a place of shadows, with only traces remaining of its past inhabitants.

Several very different light forms and technologies (both contemporary and archaic) are used to integrate images with light. Ghostly and open to interpretation, this is a memorial to lost sailors, past, current and future, in homage to the hazy memory of war.

Illumination within the Sick Bay, subdued already, is closely controlled in level and nature in order to provide an effective environment for the added components. Three ships, including Olympia, that had been present at the Battle of Manila Bay, are cast in clear resin and set atop a transparent sea surface embedded in the bathtub (in several layers). A liquid light of video imagery is projected onto/into the surface of this “sea,” while the resin boats glow with precise light that isolates, defines and highlights their ethereal nature. In the far room, beyond the sea battle in microcosm, standing transparent panels bear fading images of sailors who served on Olympia during the Battle of Manila Bay.

About the Artists


Joanna Platt is a Philadelphia based sculptor whose work deals with the ways our interaction with technology has created new configurations of defined space inside our computers and media devices. She received her BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick, NJ and her MFA from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

A member of the gallery collective Tiger Strikes Asteroid, exhibits of Joanna’s work have included Galeria Nacional, San Jose, Costa Rica, SoHo 20, NY, NY, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia, PA, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia PA, The Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton NJ, Sloss and Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI. Her most recent work has been included in Artist Run at the Satellite Art Fair in Miami.

She is currently employed as a sculpture technician at Independent Casting, Philadelphia, PA and an adjunct instructor at Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ.

Nathan’s career inspiration is Flight Lieutenant Robert Hendley, and he hence considers himself a Scrounger, rather than either an artist or a businessman. He has had several careers, all successfully based around being reasonably competent and extremely curious in technical matters. First, as a cameraman, then producer/director, messing about with the hardware (and abusing the chemistry) of filmmaking in LA and NYC. In 1993, he convinced 20 talented friends to live on bean soup for three months to develop the first interactive web narrative (called Root). The later work of this group for Word (an on-line magazine) is now included in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Nathan moved into games in 1999, with a specialization in groundbreaking business models in customer-facing technologies, initially as VP of Business Development at Electronics Boutique, and co-founding a funded business in 3D-asset integration, called Gameflood in New Orleans. He is currently the president of the Philadelphia Game Lab and a principal in Art + Alchemy, focusing on collaborations with industry and academics in development of innovative creative technology.