en/gulf: Ecopoetics of the Gulf and Bay
print / digital / motion / exhibition / fall 2015
collaboration: Roxy Dominguez and Tracy Ngo / poet: Dana Kroos / team element: Air
Society of Experiential Graphic Design, Honor Award, 2017
en|gulf: Ecopoetics of the Gulf and Bay is a collaborative exhibition by the Graphic Design and Creative Writing programs of the University of Houston. By researching and experiencing the local ecology of Galveston Bay, en/gulf uncovers a narrative of the environment's beauty and susceptibility through ecopoetry. The exhibit showcases a book of letterpress broadsides, an installation of 70 glass jars, and a series of poetry videos.
/ Publications /
"The purity of this exhibition, film and branding breathes air into us all by evoking the primal and visceral elements of nature. It’s light, lyrical and certainly poetic while expressing a powerful message. Beautiful typography, palette and layout—executed with incredible care and sensitivity." — Society of Experiential Graphic Design
“[SEGD] looks at some of the best work from around the world for these awards, so to have our students recognized really shows that they are creating wonderful work.” — Cheryl Beckett, Associate Professor of Graphic Design
Featured in University of Houston Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts.
/ Broadside /
For the broadside poem, we focused on breath. Breath as a mergence and division of two worlds. We created a texture emulating wind and sound waves to depict a coastline where two worlds of breath meet—the breath of industry above and the breath of life beneath the water’s surface. Although these two worlds are separated, they quietly connect through air.
Therefore, we kept our composition subtle and delicate by emphasizing the air between the lines of type. We played with the positive and negative space to represent the relationship between two divided worlds. Yet, they still bond through the blind impression of “a last exhale.”
/ 3-D Jar and Floor Installation /
"And nothing himself, beholds
nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."
—Wallace Stevens, The Snow Man
Referencing American Modernist poet, Wallace Stevens, air can be thought of as the “nothing that is not there” and “the nothing that is.” We’re so accustomed to air being present, that we think of it as “nothing.” Our immediate perception of air includes what we see. However, this element has several perspectives to it. The atmospheric gases found in our air can be viewed positively or negatively; they could be beneficial or extremely harmful to us and the environment.
These jars contain various gases typically found in the air above our surrounding gulf. Each gas tells their own invisible story.
Elemental jar poems written by Tracy Ngo, edited by Dana Kroos.
/ Video /
As one element of en/gulf: Ecopoetics of the Gulf and Bay, this poetry video explores the tension of walking on water. Based on the poem by Dana Kroos, “How to Walk on Water” combs through eerie, yet calming footage of the Galveston Bay landscape. The author’s delicate memories hide within local ecology, just as all fleeting moments are breathed in and out.