Rabbit Island

Environmental Arts Residency – Rabbit Island Foundation
Sole resident on 91 acre island in Lake Superior, Michigan, USA
Duration: 1 month, August 2016

Proposal

The value of landscapes lies not in what we can take from them but what they have to give to us; in pristine and remote landscapes, we are our pristine and remote selves – we are not separate from nature, we are nature.

In Land, an Island – a guidebook

I would conceive the residency as an expedition, planning a series of micro journeys, long strolls and drifting itineraries to navigate the surface cover and underlying structure of Rabbit Island. I would focus on features and details – water, wind, rock, forest, moss, earth, lichen. Through this series of fieldwork surveys, written observations and photographic data gathered from the island will be used to compile an experimental guidebook. In using the format of a guidebook, I want to test how a poetic sensing of landscape can reimagine navigation, way finding and exploration. Can a book be a pathway? What are the emotional features of mapping? How can we move closer to landscape – can we be landscape?

For me, this means going back to a human sensing of our environment, to find an emotional geography of place. Rabbit Island, ‘itself an unsettled and undivided space’, provides an opportunity to investigate new geographic methodologies and artistic taxonomies. From the unique wilderness environment, I will consider how a remote landform could create meaning for a post-contemporary cultural imagination. Can an artist-led expedition discover new routes that establish the emotional significance of wilderness? What narratives can contemporary art practice add to a remapping of landscape?