Penn Yan/Elegy

Penn Yan/Elegy is a steel poem that I used to partially encase a derelict 1958 Penn Yan runabout boat. I then burned the entire structure in a public performance in Hamilton, NY. The physical dimensions of the wooden boat functioned as a mold for the steel poem, whose final shape has been determined by the boat’s destruction.

Penn Yan/Elegy embodies the attempt to use language as a container for the experience of concurrent loss and awe. In this piece I engage the paradox that while language often fails to hold the weight of profound emotions, it is ultimately the primary attempt to bridge understanding. In this way I have tried to conflate the notions of form and elegy, while visually engaging the relationship between language and memory, artifact and memorial.