Landscape today is not an end result,
but only a single frame
in a long-running, slow motion movie.
How well will we act our parts in the next scene?
(From Scene Shifters by Mary Smith)
Those beautiful lines from Mary Smith come via a post on heritagelandscapecreativity about Cairnsmore of Fleet, National Nature Reserve in Scotland.
Things change. Landscapes change. Even the little inlet I loved so much last October has changed remarkably. Floods brought the water up over the usual lake edge and also brought fishermen sheltering from the weather and trailering their boats in and out of the lake, trampling mangrove shoots and turning the lakes edge to mush, so that even now when the water has receded there is much evidence of change. Almost a new roadway where vehicles have moved boats in and out of the water on the wet lake edge, and much mud on the edges .Mary Smith’s words remind me to see it as part of a continuum. Nothing stays the same, the world, even our geological world, is forever changing and shifting.
The subtitle for Floating Land this year is Nature’s Dialogue. ‘Dialogue’ implies a two way conversation, a discussion, a to and fro of influences and ideas. We are part of that dialogue. What we do influences that long running slow motion movie.
I have never subscribed to the idea of some past, perfect state of naturalness that has been spoiled (by mankind) to which we must forever strive to return. Nor do I think the that the future of mankind and the natural world is tied to a return to simpler lifestyles and non-urban values. Indeed I think the best future for the world might lie in technology and more sustainable urbanisation. Most us today still live in a world where experiencing natural places is possible, but there are alternatives. Things like built green spaces, artificial beaches, rooftop gardens, and virtual spaces and experiences are part of our present and our future.
In my original submission to Floating Land I said:
My concept for Floating Land explores the possibility of creating new hybrid landscapes of mixed realities and experience. I am interested in the idea that new environments are being constructed through reciprocal modeling. I propose, not an intervention in nature, but a collaboration ……………………………….I want to eliminate the space between the real and the virtual and to explore the concept of convergent realities; to create an integrated, collaborative work that includes constructed objects, the natural world and technology. In a sense I become the conduit for the dialogue between technology and nature.
Having built my chairs as the metaphor for the conversation I am now exploring how I can add technology to the mix. In the meantime there’s practical stuff to attend to as well, like trying on the new waders that will let me install the chairs in the lake, getting ready to move out to a little borrowed cottage in Boreen Point for a couple of weeks, bundling up sticks to make more chairs in situ, and stockpiling mosquito repellent.