Chelsea Polk

MFA ’19 Photography

44,320 is the story of 8 bogs. These spongy pieces of earth contain matter from tens of thousands of years ago and distinctive histories. Various cultures have used the bogs as sources of energy, medicine, preservation, and even sacrifice. They have been the basis of shared stories and mythologies, and the sites of artistic endeavors. Bogs remain vital to the earth, functioning as carbon sinks, and today are nature preserves and tourist sites. The stories in 44,320 came out of an equal parts celebration and lament of our current state. An imagined nostalgia for a time before climate change and an absurdist pursuit of information resulted in this pilgrimage to the 8 bogs. The stories contain these bog histories, yet also tie them to divergent material, including memes, pop songs, politics, and global crises. Bogs, like other landscapes and sites I explore, represent our fraught relationship to land, environmentally, culturally, and politically. This work also positions itself in my wider artistic, musical, and design practice as a frustration towards the limitations of working within a particular genre or medium. As a lifelong musician, I’ve always found connections between sound and landscape. As a result, narratives resist genres through embodying varying personas and styles which shift between informative, performative, and poetic, or music, abstract sound, and spoken language.

Chelsea Polk is a multimedia artist, designer, and musician from Cleveland, OH. Her works have been exhibited at Boston Sculptors Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA; The Center for New Media Culture in Riga, Latvia; Longy School of Music, in Cambridge, MA; and The Cleveland Print Room. Currently, Chelsea channels her creative pursuits into User Experience and User Interface Design in education technology, living and working remotely from Pittsburgh, PA.