Jesse Paul Miller | Searching for a Quiet Place: Turnbull Bay

December 12, 2003-February 27, 2004

From January 20 to February 9, 2003, during a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Jesse Paul Miller gathered over 300 minutes of audio recordings at nature preserves, forests, and parks in North Central Florida. His intent was to find an area of nature free of the human presence. He was searching for a quiet place.

“The reality I found,” said Miller, “was that of nature mitigated by humanity: pockets of wildlife surrounded by suburban houses, airports, golf courses, highways, and strip malls. Many of the native species are in an ongoing battle with invasive forms of plants and animals; all land with wildlife is mitigated by humans. Even in the most remote region I visited, airplanes and cars could be heard in the distance.”

Nestled on a 69 acre ecological preserve, Turnbull Bay is a beautiful, brackish, shallow bay on the north edge of the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Using projected video of Turnbull Bay as a visual backdrop, the installation at the Jack Straw New Media Gallery features a drawing of a human skeleton constructed of audio tape in a loop, running through a reel-to-reel tape player, set in motion by visitors. Created in the studio in early 2003, this drawing, a form of interactive visual poetry, represents memory and the fragility of our existence as beings intertwined with the natural world.

Searching for a Quiet Place: Turnbull Bay is a multi-layered, interactive installation based upon these the audio recordings Miller made. It is a reflection on the current cult of technology, as well as reproduction and memory.

As the real Turnbull Bay is an example of the beauty and fragility of nature as mitigated by humans, this installation is a metaphor for our stewardship of and our ongoing struggle to manage the fragile diversity of our environment. Miller’s work asks us: will “progress” eventually leave us with only memories of the natural world in the form of reproduction?


Nine circular shapes of various colors that appear to be mounted on a white wall.

Jesse Paul Miller

Seattle artist Jesse Paul Miller has exhibited installations and sculptural/sound works throughout the U.S. His most recent work has been shown at Art Chicago 2002 and at Deadtech…