Archikulture Digest

Deep Blue

Deep Blue

An Installation by Doug Rhodehamel

Music by Nigel John

Bold Hype

Winter Park, Florida</strong>

If it wasn’t for the bitter cold and dark, the bone crushing pressure, and the steady diet of dead plankton and hydrogen sulfide, living on the abyssal plain might be nearly as cool as this ambitious installation. A deep blue laser and a mist machine cloud the air with arty murk as creepy ambient music recalls the sound of a submarine hull being crushed in the depths. Recycled card board fish eerily float through the room. Outside it’s muggy and wet with a parking lot of damp bicyclists hanging out at the neighboring coffee house. Bold Hype appears closed – blue paper covers the windows and there are no lights or activity indicating art is occurring in side, yet the curious try the door and are led by a chain of small white fish through a short maze of black cloth in to a room filling with hipsters. It’s all part of the event.


At first your eyes refuse to adjust. Mysterious shadows float by and the laser paints an undulating sine wave of ocean just above the exposed air conditioning ducts. It’s chilly, and except for the glimmer of the obsessive texters, only the ultra violet light of the fish’s eyes illuminate the room. You move carefully – there’s minimal furniture but people drift through this murk as well, some holding a Vodka Collins that emit a faint green glow. Mr. Rhodehamel wanders around; you’ll bump into him eventually as he checks his installation for artistic integrity and offers to sell some fresh fish if you want any. The music clanks and scrapes away, sounding a mix between conceived bathymetric sounds and early ’60s East German modernism. The fish remind me of wildlife books I grew up with – the Trieste had just come back from the Mariana Trench and astounded the world with photos of hitherto unseen life forms. Rhodehamel captures their glowing eyes, toothy jaws and odd arrangements, using cardboard cut into strips and reassembled to form an environmental mobile.


One can ruminate of all the stock topics – environmental blah blah, saving the ocean by wearing the right tee shirt, the intransigence of art and reality, but one fact remains – this is a damn cool room. Like most of Rhodehamel work, the fish will soon swim away and the room will be repurposed to the gallery it is, but if he pumped up the bass, sold some Jaeger Bombs and charged $20 cover, he’s have this weeks trendy night club on his hands.

For more information on Doug Rhodehamel’s projects, visit

Other events at Bold Hype may be found at</em>

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