dance improvisations by Rulan Tangen
video projected on a mound of sea salt
30″ diameter x 6″ H
(size may vary depending on space)
A spiked wheel was an instrument used by the pagan Roman emperor Maxentius to torture Saint Catherine of Alexandria for converting many to Christianity. Named for Saint Catherine, the wheel became an instrument of death in the Middle Ages.
Throughout history, the powerful of the world seem to have fastened the earth to a metaphoric Catherine Wheel by destroying or putting indigenous cultures at peril, polluting the planet’s fresh and salt waters, damaging the soil, felling the forests, raping resources, and endangering many species.
The salt in this installation provides a natural environment for the images of an indigenous dancer amid the beauty of the natural world. Salt is everywhere around us – in our bodies and all life forms, as well as in our waters and the body of the earth. It also is used for healing, cleansing, and purifying in many cultures and in many rituals. The salt and the Catherine Wheel create a paradox, the paradox of the healing power of the salt and the spinning images symbolizing the torture of the earth.