15 November 2010

Dog Fence

Back in June I visited Central Australia. One of the art students asked me to tie a piece of wool around the Dog Fence and take photos of it, which I did. It was part of a project she was working on and others had done the same for her when travelling up north.

Last week she asked me to write something about the act of putting the wool on the fence which may end up in a booklet supporting her work.

The long journey home after 5 days in the outback
My spirit still immersed in the vast arid landscape, my mind still expanded
The dog fence – I’d missed it on the way up, I must find it on the way back
I’d promised Liz
Artists like to make stuff, to externalize their inner world, to leave their mark through their work on the outer world
Liz had given me no context for tying the gaudy blue and red wool around the dog fence
I couldn’t invent or impose artistic meaning upon this act of graffiti
Leaving this mark came not from my own creative impulse
I was simply an instrument writing Liz’s personal message upon a fence
I travel light, finding meaning in the mystical, the nameless, the subtle, the invisible
Leaving as little trace as possible, preferring silence, translucence…
Weaving artificial strands of wool around the iconic dog fence I felt the heaviness of layering another mark upon this pure, ancient landscape
The act would reverberate in my conscience, like the dark residue left on my psyche from speaking unkind words
But I’d promised Liz
I wove the red and blue wool around the wire, leaving the long ends free, intuitively needing to set them free, to fly, externalizing my own hidden compulsions
Without the wind they would have hung limp, but instead they rippled and danced, flying wildly in the wind, tugging at their shackles for freedom
My job was done
The dog fence…to Liz a symbol of division, separation and alienation, had come alive with colour and movement
I hear the wool is still there
Speeding past, you may catch an enigmatic bright flash of streaming colour as the wind whips the fence
The meaning, like life itself, is open to interpretation…

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