Near the road to the village of Lončari (Karin Gornji), on the path leading to the River Bijela canyon, there is an installation by the American artist Dodd Holsapple called “See glass again”. Created as a result of the project “Seagrass beds: It’s not too late” (holder is Association for nature, environment, sustainable development and tourism Lončari), this work with a diameter of nine meters represents the largest artistic intervention in a public space in Croatia, in the creation of which hundreds of people participated.
The first phase of its construction began before the installation was even conceptually conceived. Namely, in three eco-cleaning actions that took place throughout 2020. and 2022. volunteers, local activists, mountaineers and climbers collected 120 cubic meters of glass waste that was on the way to the Bijela canyon, as well as five tons of surrounding garbage.
How did it start?
The mentioned glass waste is intended as a material with which the artist will create an installation as part of his residency at OPG Pueblo Escondido. For this purpose, at the end of 2022 year the international competition “On accepting the undesirable” was published, in which Dodd’s work, among 46 applications from all over the world, was selected as the best. His proposal was based on a ring-shaped drywall with an eel mosaic that would serve as a seating and conversation area.
Holsapple is thus in September and October 2023. replaced his address in California’s Santa Barbara with a residence in Lončari.
During his stay, a glass separation workshop was held at OPG Pueblo Escondido in which students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Croatia and volunteers from the Ocean Knowledge Association participated, as well as a drywall construction workshop with expert guidance from members of the Dragodid Association.
Special feature of the installation
The largest part of the installation was made precisely during the dry wall construction workshop, which took place on September 30.
In addition to Holsapple, the workshop was attended by residents of local towns, volunteers, climbers and mountaineers, so in this way the work of art, in addition to the artist’s, received the signature of all those who participated in the public events of the project.
As a material for the construction of the wall, apart from glass waste, discarded stone from abandoned quarries that can be found in the area of Bukovica and Ravni Kotar served as a way for the organizers of the action to give importance to this problem.
“Creatively developing the concept of the project, I considered how to best use the collected glass waste in a public art installation. The difficult question is how recycled glass scraps can be effectively used in art while maintaining the spirit of environmental protection and public art. I focused on a design that would avoid creating a wasteful process that is wasteful or requires additional significant resources,” Holsapple told for the Morske livade portal.
As a part of his stay in Croatia, Holsapple also created a series of original works of art on the theme of the Croatian iris as a valuable national plant that is also present in the canyon of the River Bijela.
His works were exhibited at OPG Pueblo Escondido in Lončari, where the artist resided.
In addition, with the guidance of the director of Zagreb’s National Museum of Modern Art, Branko Franceschi, Dodd visited the exhibition One World in the Providur Palace in Zadar, and before leaving for the USA on 9th October, he gave a lecture to the students of the “Introduction to Art Theory” course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.
The residential stay as part of the project was a logical continuation of the previous work of this artist, who is normally occupied professionally with topics related to water resources, air and endangered plant and animal species. One of Holsapple’s works was selected for the upcoming 5th National Climate Assessment in the USA, which will feature around 90 works by American artists, which will take place at the end of this year.
Research part of the project
The creation of the installation “See Glass Again” is part of a project that, in addition to the Association for Nature, Environment, Sustainable Development and Tourism Lončari, was led by the Ecological Association of Zrmanja and the Marine Explorers Society 20.000 leagues
These two associations in June 2022. these two associations collaborated on the cleaning of the seagrass bed of the Karin and Novigrad seas, as part of which researchers from the Marine Explorers Society 20.000 leagues also mapped the habitats of seagrass beds of the Karin Sea: Zostera marine, Zostre noltei i Cymodocea nodosa.
The goal of the project, in addition to cleaning the Bijela canyon and the seagrass beds of the Karin and Novigrad seas, was also to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting seagrass beds.
The action is part of a project approved through the Three Seas FLAG competition for the selection of the Measure 2.1 project. support for the valuation, protection and promotion of the natural resource base – rivers, seas and coasts within the implementation of the Local Development Strategy in fisheries FLAG Three Seas for the period 2014-2020.
The series of events that took place from 16th September to 10th October 2023. was also supported by the Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
Financial support was also provided by the Serbian National Council (SNV), and the Paklenica Sports Climbing Club greatly helped in the organization of all events.
Other participants: Students of ALU Split, Students of ALU Zagreb, NMMU Zagreb, Students of the Zadar High School of Natural Sciences and Graphics, Erasmus student network Zadar, Sports climbing club Paklenica, The Serbian Cultural Society “Prosvjeta” , SNV-The Serb National Council, Association Lončari, Organization Ocean of Knowledge, Art organization Teatro VeRRdi, Association Vizura Aperta, Center for new media_kuda.org, Eko Zrmanja Association, Karin Resort Association, OPG Pueblo Escondido, OPG Due di denari Karin Gornji.
The event #itIsNotTooLate River Bijela 2023, taking place from September 16th to October 10th, is supported by the Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.