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Palm: All Awake in the Darkness, is an installation by artist duo Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler / Morris) in collaboration with Ian Boyden that was commissioned for the opening of the American Writers Museum.  The installation includes live palms, a sound design, and centers around an original video work by Sayler / Morris, titled Threshold. Threshold can adapted to other site-specific installations. In March 2020, a stand-alone edit of Threshold was created for The Merwin Conservancy, intended for meditative on-line viewing at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Palm is inspired by the life and work of the American poet W.S. Merwin and meditates on Merwin’s capacity to invoke in his readers a sense of the wakefulness of the world. Merwin is not only a celebrated poet, having won nearly every major poetry award, including the appointment of poet laureate, he is also a visionary gardener and environmentalist. Over 30 years ago, Merwin embraced a piece of certified wasteland in Hawaii, and, along with his wife Paula, tree-by-tree grew one of the most abundant and species-rich palm gardens in the world—a garden that aspires to be a forest, as Merwin has put it.

The installation also includes a small sample both of those who influenced Merwin and those who were influenced by him – an ecology of ideas.

See full press release here.

Palm: All Awake in the Darkness (2017)

Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris (Sayler / Morris) with Ian Boyden

Sound Design:
Matthew Patterson Curry

Julie Gawendo, Alexandra Batorsky, Harvey Bernstein, Steve Meyer, Mary Lock , Stephen Young, John Burnham Schwartz, Michael Wiegers, Hal Crimmel and Michael Wutz

Alexandra Batorsky, Stephen Fraser, Courtney Asztalos, Maizy Ludden, Cait Foley, and Lauren Harper

Exhibition History:

Grants and Support:
The Poetry Foundation, The Merwin Conservancy, The American Writers Museum