Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IN the Outdoors

I came across the Bundanon Trust blog today and on reading found a couple of recent posts that resonated with me.

'How's it going/How did you get here?' speaks of how we travel through landscape and the influence this has on our relationship to it. The example of contrasting experience one could encounter if driving in a vehicle compared to walking is discussed. This post made me think about another relationship - the one between time (the luxury of today) and money. The choices of activity we make tend to impact in favour of one or the other of these. (This subject could fill a post on it's own, so I will move on.)

My art practice has evolved through direct observation of environments. This began in my own garden, in it's early years, when I spent a lot of time outdoors, planting, digging, mulching; to establish the garden. It was a time for seeing, seasonal changes, relationships, new growth, and over the years an increasing number of species making their home either temporarily, seasonally or permanently.

From this base I have explored local Gold Coast conservation areas; spent an absorbed year in the Australian Plant Communities of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha, and most recently nine months visiting and researching conservation areas in Redland City. For me it is only by being outdoors, in these environments, that I can gain a full experience of the place. And then it is only with repeated visits that I can begin to feel any depth of experience achieved.
In what would seem a contradiction to this, I found one advantage of visiting areas in Redlands I hadn't been to before, was being able to see these areas with 'fresh eyes'. I didn't have pre-conceived ideas about what I would find, or what to expect.

My research in Redlands will continue, I still have many areas to visit, as yet unseen. ( It was a bit ambitious of me to think I could visit all the green patches before my last exhibition.) I am aware of a feeling of sentiment towards environments in Redlands, where I have spent time, or towards the species that characterise them. How did this sense of relationship form? What does it mean?

This brings me to the second post I read titled 'Heart-spaces: sentiment and emotion', which speaks of bringing reason and emotion, passion and cold logic, intuition and facts together in our response to, and engagement with, ecosystems and place. Towards the end of the post a research project by Ross Gibson is discussed, I quote...'to produce a "national map of the emotional intensities lodged in Australian landscapes, regions and cities"..
What a wonderful thought, the idea of emotional intensities lodged in Australian landscapes. I am inclined to think that Redlands would be a hot spot on any "sentimental mapping network". I found a strong sense of pride, care and knowledge amongst residents and bushcare volunteers in Redlands. Witnessing this engagement with environment is in part what made my experience of Redlands so rewarding.

Is there a landscape or place that evokes emotional intensity for you?

Both Bundanon Trust blog posts discussed above are by Kickknees, you can read them in full here.

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