Deborah Fisher (American, born 1972)
Solid State Change, 2007
Discarded tires and electrical insulation. Purchase of the Committee on Art in Public Places with funds provided by the Middlebury College Board of Trustees One Percent for Art Policy. 2007.023
Location: Hillcrest Environmental Center
Solid State Change, inspired by the geology and topography of Vermont, alludes formally to the metamorphic bedrock beneath Middlebury itself. The artist conceived the sculpture in relation to the exterior curved wall of Hillcrest, the newly renovated and expanded home of the College’s Program in Environmental Studies. Established in 1965, this interdisciplinary program—the first such undergraduate major in the United States—combines course work in geology, geography, economics, political science, biology, chemistry, physics, religion, and philosophy.
Recognizing the multi-faceted approach to learning in Hillcrest, and seeking to juxtapose a broad range of references, Fisher created an artwork from discarded—and hence recycled—materials. Working from the ground up, she assembled strata of rubber tires intermixed with colorful strips of plastic insulation that were once used to sheathe copper wire. Composed of materials that are not biodegradable and not accepted at most landfill sites, the 6000-pound structure incorporates the processes and products of industrial activity, yet it appears to have emerged naturally from the earth.