Artists’ Residency For Two
In early June of 2016, Elena and I (plus husbands) headed to Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard for a glorious week of pure art play, as we have done together for many years. Because Aquinnah is located in a sparsely populated area at the very end of the island and is mostly deserted in early June, we have a pristine beach to ourselves as a palette for experimentation. It is our own private artists’ residency, a place and time of rejuvenation and inspiration that has served as the incubator for many of our collaborative and individual art projects.
This year, we decided to limit the materials we brought for our experimental installations to black and red parachute cord. We wanted to play with the contrast of black and red line on the ochre sand and natural rocks. We also wanted to document the motion of the water as it ‘redesigned’ our line patterns. (For those of you who follow this blog and the progress of The Wave as it travels from site to site, you will note that we use black parachute cord to connect all of The Wave pieces that are created by public participants into our Wave installations.)
One of the first installations we completed was conceived as a two-dimensional ‘home’ constructed in the shape of a linear square box with interior ‘spaces’ and ‘rooms.’ When we began, the ‘home’ was situated on the sand at least two – three feet from the shoreline. Here it is, nearly complete, followed by details of its interior ‘spaces.’
Eventually, the tide moved in and altered the installation, shifting lines, moving rocks and adding lines and rocks of its own. (See green seaweed, wrapped around red and black cord) Our ‘home’ was no more, morphed into a ‘sea-scape.’
“Big, Black Rock”
While walking on the beach, as we did several times a day, we both noticed this big, black rock, decorated with a ‘dress’ of seaweed and poised magnificently between shore and sand. Using red cord to ‘wrap’ the black rock and mimic the seaweed ‘dress,’ we watched as the relentless sea moved in to pound against the rock and reposition what we had created.
“Big Rocks, Little Rocks”
Inspired by “Big, Black Rock,” we selected a series of big and small rocks to wrap and ‘connect’ with red cord. As with all of the previous installations, we were forced to move quickly before the waves took over. The first image below records the site before we began. The second image shows one of the rocks ‘wrapped’ intricately with the red cord. In the third image, the tide has already changed the careful ‘wrapping’ significantly and in the fourth, the water has moved over the small rocks to remove the ‘wrapping’ and tangle the cording.
With nothing to bring home besides the red and black cord we had brought to the site as well as the several hundred photographs we had taken to record the work, we are still internalizing the process we undertook and the images that resulted from our efforts. There are metaphors that come to mind that will need to be translated into future projects: the impermanence of ‘home’ and daily experiences; the fragility of personal and communal connections; the beauty of line, natural or otherwise. Stay tuned.