Aim: Creating a site-specific artwork enables the artist to manipulate the participant’s experience of the actual environment, rather than presenting a simulacrum in two dimensions for the spectator to reconstitute imaginatively.
Method: Make five different small drawn interactions in the environment using only what you find around you and your own body and without damaging any plants or animals in the process.
Record your work on camera.
Try to do things which will affect the way a visitor to the space would perceive it, either by directing their gaze or by changing the qualities of the place.
Reflection: Make notes in your log about how you felt about making changes to the ‘real world’. What were the frustrations, what were the successes? How do you think the way the viewer experiences this kind of art differs from looking at drawings framed under glass? Do you think that viewers will necessarily know that what you’ve done is art?
We were tasked with ‘Make five different small drawn interactions in the environment’ – I have done 6 interventions! The six are shown below after the reflection along with a commentary on what I was doing and why in each case, as well as how it might change the viewers perception of the modified environment. environment
- Creating pieces that can be seen in a public domain.
- Using found objects and utilising them to my ends to make art!
- Even now some weeks since I first did these pieces they are still either wholly or partially in evidence.
- The leaves were a bit past their best before date, they were starting to break down. There would have been better results it I had done this a month or two earlier. The colours of the leaves would also have contributed to the overall feel of the work. As it was the leaves had degraded to a wet brown colour and feel rather than the dry crisp autumnal colours of freshly fallen leaves.
- Finding materials to utilise.
- Battling wind when trying to position leaves, however, one of the frustrations then turned to my advantage, as the wet leaves remained mostly immune to the teasing of the breeze.
How do you think the way the viewer experiences this kind of art differs from looking at drawings framed under glass?
- When viewing art under glass on a wall it is general a conscious decision to view art or ‘pictures’, these pieces placed in the environment allow the viewer to stumble across then. When walking to work or the shops they may pass art in the form of sculpture and other formalised art as they perceive it. These pieces placed seemingly at random in a local urban landscape allow the viewer to come upon they unexpectedly.
- When viewing art under glass, the artist has control over the framing, lighting and positioning in a room and on a wall; however, art in the environment presents a different set of challenges for the artist. The art may be not be visible initially until pointed out, it may be taken for a ‘natural effect’ rather than an artistic intervention. Whereas the artist has control indoor for the viewer of the glass fronted drawing in the environment he may have to present against the challenge of increment weather with wind and rain threatening to destroy and obscure or least amend what he has done. The viewer may not be optimally positioned to view the work or have the correct lighting conditions
- Do you think that viewers will necessarily know that what you’ve done is art?
- One of the first interactions I did was of the pine cones spelling “ART ?”, this probably hints at that the work is possibly an artwork, whether they regard it as so is then open to them to decide. The juxtaposition of all the interactions in the space of a few hundred yards will also lead then down the suggested route that this is art.
- The works could quite easily be seen as the play of some of the neighbourhood children. It was them that eventually took the pine cones after they were in place for 2 ½ weeks to play their own game elsewhere.
- I believe it is art as it raises a question in the viewers head as to what is it, what is its purpose etc. If I have presented even some of these questions then the viewer will look at it as art whether they realise it or not!
- Stumbling across a single one of the pieces I did may have suggested that to the viewer that this was done on a whim, stumbling across a succession of pieces will have strongly indicated that there was something more at play happening. They may then have started to think that these were art as in the space of a couple of hundred metres there was 5 – 6 pieces, so in the space of a few minutes they may have been knocked out of their morning stumble to work to think “what’s going on here?”
I have a question for passers-by to think about when they view this piece. Whether they see this piece as art or not is down to them. However, by posing the question to them I have hinted that it may be. The question mark allows them to decide!
This question is placed adjacent to the taijitu symbol.
Environment Interaction #1a
The burnt log /root provides on a sinister aspect to the winter gloom in the woods. Is an alien skull ? and is it looking at me ?, some of the questions which a walker may ask themselves!
Taijitu symbol (Ying-Yang) ‘embossed’ in ground under tree. Pine needles scraped away to create two-tones.
Taijitu symbol (Ying-Yang) ‘embossed’ in ground under tree
The yin is out of balance here, this is an urban site with houses and some parkland. A nearby the balance is somewhat restored as a woodland dominates, though the field side is being developed!
This piece was a little bit inspired by the work of Joanna Hendrick – leaf art, see below for further info on her work. Additional inspiration was from Andy Goldsworthy and his delicate arrangements of leaves, though I have not gone for the ‘delicate arrangement’.
Raked leaves reveal a new path.
The ‘new’ path offers pedestrians a choice in their route. Though most will opt for the official route over the mud track.
This is also a nod to the work of Andy Goldsworthy and Joanna Hendrick. Additionally, the work of Richard Long, especially his walks was influential in these pieces (i.e. my environmental interventions). Long took walks and left ‘signs’ that he had been there by recording his interaction with the environment.
Loose dead branches collected and placed into a hallow tree stump to become a dead tree.
A hallow tree stump as a ‘holder’ ?
The ‘dead tree’ blends into its environment as most of the surrounding have also no leaves, though in their cases this is only temporary. How long before the tree is seen for what it is rather than just blending into the background, maybe the Spring!
I am hoping that anyone seeing this will have to view for longer than a glance. They will need to question what they see. Is this a winter dormant tree or is it dead. Once it’s approached, the game is up and it is seen for what it is.
Andy Goldsworthy arranges natural objects such as stone, wood and leaves to redefine an environment, here I have taken a small leaf or branch and made an arrangement as a nod to his works.
Autumn leaves raked to reveal soil in an arrow shape.
Again, I am pushing a passer-by to question. Why is there an arrow (over 10 metres long and thus not easy to miss)?
What is it pointing at?
Something to see or something to avoid. There is no obvious answer so a possible second look and a questioning may occur!
This piece has influence of Andy Goldsworthy and Joanne Hedrick in it, as well as a leaning towards anamorphic illustration as on a football pitch. The initial draft of this piece was substantially increased in scale once I viewed it foreshortened. I then increased the length by about three times so that it can be read from the footpath as an arrow.
The scale of the autumn leaves arrow is quite big. The total length is approx. 11 metres. My wife Gillian and Cocoa reveal the scale.
Due to the viewed angle I had to reshape the head of the arrow, elongating it to account for foreshortening, much like the adverts on a football pitch.