Americana Waterfall. After William James; made in our apartment, 2007-2013, bathrobe, wood, copper nails, paint, gear motor, found hardware, and acrylic waterfall riser. 21" x 63" x 18".


Americana Waterfall. After William James; made in our Apartment
is a motorized replica of a scientific apparatus built by William James (America’s pioneering psychology professor and Pragmatist) in 1890. James’ original "Artificial waterfall. After Bowditch; made in the Laboratory", currently housed in Harvard University’s Collection of Scientific Instruments, was designed by noted Harvard physiologist Henry P. Bowditch and was supposedly made from a professor’s black and white bathing suit. This tool was used to study the waterfall illusion, a motion aftereffect linked to neural adaptation (if one stares at the descending water of a waterfall then removes one’s eyes, the nearby landscape appears to move upward). For my “artificial waterfall”, I used my partner’s red, white, and blue striped bathrobe. She is a William James fanatic and it only seemed appropriate to make this instrument using one of her cherished objects. It took me four years to negotiate the sacrifice of the robe.

This sculpture was first shown at Vassar College in the office of Art Chair Professor Molly Nesbit (Spring 2012). It was also included in Sid Sach's Camp Paradox Days at The University of the Arts' Rosenwald--Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia (Aug 25 2013 -- Oct 8 2013).