The Ashes and Snow Art Exhibition Journeys the World


Ashes and Snow is an exhibition of photographic artworks by Canadian photographer and filmmaker Gregory Colbert. The exhibition debuted in 2002 in Venice, Italy; it consists of more than 100 large-scale photographic artworks, one 60-minute film and two 9-minute films exploring the natural interaction between man and other animals in their own environments and on their own terms. Colbert’s images attempt to recover a lost time when man and other animals shared a common language.

The exhibition appeared in its own Nomadic Museum, a unique structure housing built from shipping containers. The Nomadic Museum is Colbert’s vision of a transient structure that would permanently house his exhibition as it toured the world. It was first seen in 2005 at Pier 54 in New York City. In 2006 it paid a visit to Santa Monica, CA and in 2007 it arrived in Tokyo. After Tokyo, the exhibition traveled to Mexico City.

Electrosonic, Inc. designed, furnished and installed the technology for the Nomadic Museum.

When sited at the famed Santa Monica Pier, the museum had a different configuration from New York. The single, long exhibition hall has been split into two parallel halls linked by the main theater; each hall terminates in a smaller haiku theater.

Electrosonic furnished the main theater with a 35x20-foot screen, which displays uncompressed 2K resolutions, a new artist-commissioned feature.  Because the museum’s canvas roof did not offer enough support to hang the projector, Electrosonic custom engineered the mount for the Christie 25K DLP projector to span the sides of the shipping-container structure and float 22 feet above the ground.

In the two haiku theaters 16x9 screens display HD films running in 10-minute loops.  Electrosonic outfitted the theaters with Panasonic DW7000 projectors and Electrosonic MS9100 HD MPEG players that output 5.1 tracks.

In the exhibit halls Electrosonic installed approximately 60 ElectroVoice 8-inch, all-weather speakers mounted on top of the shipping containers for overall background music support.  As visitors view Colbert’s work, they walk through pools of subtly changing sound and music timed to the main theater’s presentation. 

“Our biggest challenge was the museum’s incredibly tight time schedule,” says Electrosonic Business Manager Bryan Hinckley, a veteran since the original New York City installation.  “We had two weeks to install the 60 speakers, the giant screen and two smaller ones, hang the projector, pull all the cable and test the systems.  It meant a lot of guys working very hard.”

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The exhibition seen here in Los Angeles is constructed from shipping containers.