Artist Jonathan Schipper opened a new installation at The Boiler, the Pierogi Gallery's big exhibition space in a re-purposed factory boiler room in New York City.

Using some twelve tons of salt throughout the room, the knee-high piles are tended by a salt-plotting machine which hovers on four cables above the installation. Controlled by a laptop, the plotter, essentially a free-roaming 3D printer, collects the salt and drops it into geometric shapes reminiscent of objects such as buildings, fences and furnishings.

And you can watch the action while comfortably seated in a jacuzzi, should you be so inclined.

But to reach the comfort of the hot tub, you must first navigate across the salt sculpture which covers the floor, and in doing so, destroy the delicate and tiny objects in your path.

Schipper calls the whole creation:

…an ever-changing environment composed of salt, human will, and hot water bathing.

"By varying the length of the four cables, the machine moves about the room where it extrudes three-dimensional, abstracted objects in salt – representations of man-made objects that we take for granted as part of our everyday world," Schipper said. "Viewers have the option of observing these objects being created from the comfort of a hot tub. A new work in production will be an artificial, continuously-changing environment based on trash, salt, human will and hot water bathing."

Detritus installation hot tub

Schipper says that by varying the length of cables his printer will move throughout the room and extrude crude representations of objects like old chairs, toilets, tires, washing machines and other human specific objects which are often taken for granted.

"We as a collective species are continually reshaping our world to suit us," Schipper said. "We are filling it with things that have importance and meaning to us. While we strive for permanence, thankfully, the mechanisms that govern the universe beg to differ. Things we make are not permanent and forces beyond our control are constantly making simple the complex objects we devote ourselves to. This piece will be a reflection of that process abstracted and combined with processes of geology. Things will appear that look like things we recognize. But due to the fragility of the salt crystals used to make the piece, things will be deteriorating at the same rate they are built."

Schipper says his piece is an attempt to create a vantage point which is often impossible in the real world. He says watching the plotter at work "condenses and speeds up time and provides an abstracted overview of the detritus we value."