The Hi(gh) Sign
a landscape wink

Photograph of Installation

© 2002 by MeGo (Melissa Gould)

high' sign, n. a gesture, glance, or facial expression used as a surreptitious signal to warn, admonish or inform.

Webster's Universal College Dictionary, 1997

In the Summer of 2002, at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program's SMIP Ranch in Woodside, California, I noticed that the post remnants of an old cattle fence/gate seemed to spell out the word "Hi."

Using this existing ruin as the basis for my 'found' sculpture, I dotted the i of a vertical post—a subtle tweak to the landscape which I call a Landscape Wink, thus articulating Hi and isolating it—a visual separation from yet paying tribute to the vernacular rural agricultural architecture of the SMIP Ranch. (In my mind it is also an obscure nod to another California visual icon: the HOLLYWOOD sign).

The dot of the i was created by attaching a richly patinaed metal float ball to the vertical post by means of a handmade spring-like copper coil; the wind causes the sphere to sway slightly—mimicking the gesture of a hand waving in greeting—literally animating the sculpture; a reference to the "follow the bouncing ball" sing-alongs in old black-and-white cartoons.

The Hi(gh) Sign is first spotted from a main road, then (due to the peekaboo rolling hills of the terrain) it drops from sight momentarily and comes into view again.

With the exception of dotting the i and removing a loose extraneous post, the sculpture is essentially as is—a "found object." My aim is to engage viewers in a playful moment—via an element of surprise—as they discover by chance the presence of The Hi(gh) Sign in the SMIP panorama and by doing so experience a visual reframing of the landscape.