Silueto

The Fowlers Gap Interventions

My initial proposal for our visit to Fowlers Gap was to explore my bodily relationship with the land by revisiting an ongoing series of body/land/performance artworks.

My first Silueto was a straightforward scratch in the dirt of the driveway just after breakfast. Morning cross-light put the mark into relief.

I chose the driveway because it was on the path between Cottage 1 (the assisted living annexe) and the kitchen; I knew that it would be affected by car and foot traffic. Not more than half an hour later, Grant drove us over it on the way to Leopard Tree Hill, beginning the inevitable process of erasure.

Ephemerality is a significant aspect of the series so I documented the changes around the same time on most days (the camera makes the line stand out more than was visible to the naked eye).

Figure 1  – Silueto 242

One night I couldn’t sleep because of a migraine so I went out into the dark and did some long exposures with a bike light to mark my outline. This comes from medical advice I’ve received that you’re going to be in pain doing nothing you might as well be in pain doing something. Furthermore, art, distraction, and movement are all known to reduce pain.

These figures are the most ephemeral I have made, disappearing from existence at the literal speed of light. The app on my phone allowed me to layer subsequent exposures onto the original image, which I animated as a gif.

Figure 2 – Silueto 250

I also did more-traditional Siluetos using stones found in the landscape whence I discovered that the new wide-angle lens on my phone does interesting things to locate the symbolic body in a much broader landscape.

Figure 3 – Silueto 258

Still experimenting, I also made my first Silueto using a UV torch that caused quartz rocks to fluoresce.

Figure 4 – Silueto 259

My largest Silueto – and biggest “failure” – was a 25-metre intervention drawn with bright yellow spray chalk that degrades in months depending on environmental conditions. The size is so large that it can’t be seen from the ground but when I climbed to the highest point on Leopard Tree Hill I couldn’t see anything but the landscape.

Figure 5 – Silueto 260

Tellingly, the land had swallowed my symbolic body whole, leaving nothing for me to see. It is an epic failure and the perfect analogy to my time in The Gap: no matter what you do to make a mark nature always erases it. However, my artist’s ego wasn’t happy with this conclusion so in a fit of pique, I painted white spray chalk onto a sheet of corrugated iron, recording my presence on an artificial surface if nothing else. It might also last longer because it’s out of the sun and from previous experience metal holds the chalk better than more porous surfaces like rock.

Figure 6 – Silueto 261

So what does this mean for Assessment 2 of this course? The ephemeral nature of the interventions draws my attention as I have been thinking about entropy and the loss of information caused by any transformation. Running through several scenarios in visualisation sessions I have found that the more abstract the imagery the more it aligns conceptually. Other elements will resolve as I explore the rest of the work I did on the field trip.

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