Exhibition

Charles Sandison: Figurehead 2.0

On view September 28, 2019 to January 1, 2022

Internationally renowned for his animated digital projections, artist Charles Sandison installs a site-specific artwork created for PEM's East India Marine Hall. Sandison activates the words and images from 18th-century ship captains' logs to create an immersive environment drawing upon the trade routes, politics, competition and voices that led to the founding of the museum and the origins of its remarkable collection.

Sandison’s responsive algorithmic code, inspired by patterns he observes in nature—the movements of ants or bodies passing through water—combines the bodily movements of museumgoers with historical data to create an ever-changing, lyrical tapestry of past and present. This current installation, which revises the original 2010 work, incorporates real-time location feeds of global ship traffic and weather patterns, as well as cameras that detect visitors’ movements.

Museum purchase with funds donated by Mr. Alfred D Chandler III and The Reverend Susan Esco Chandler, Nancy B. Teiken, Dan Elias and Karen Keane, and The Anna Pingree Phillips Fund.

Charles Sandison: Figurehead 2.0 is made possible by the Nancy B. Tieken Memorial Fund and supporters of the Present Tense Initiative, including The Jeffrey P. Beale Fund for Contemporary Art and Matthew and Rebekah Gardiner. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation, Jennifer and Andrew Borggaard and Kate and Ford O'Neil provided generous support. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Share your impressions on social media using the hashtags #PEMpresenttense and #CharlesSandison

The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver
The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver
The first iteration of the Figurehead installation.
The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
Charles Sandison working on Figureheads 2.0.
Charles Sandison working on Figureheads 2.0. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Ken Sawyer.
The first iteration of the Figurehead installation.
The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
The first iteration of the Figurehead installation.
The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
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The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
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The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
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The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
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The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
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The first iteration of the Figurehead installation. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by by Walter Silver.
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PEMcast 012: Revisiting Charles Sandison