September 18, 2012

Nature Versus Everything Else

Emily Vosburgh
August 30th, 2012


       Our first day at Firepoint was kind of difficult for me.  I felt like an odd transplant, made deeply aware of a disconnect between myself and my surroundings.  I decided that in order to have a deeper understanding of where I was, I needed to become a part of the space as much as possible.  So, of course this entails wheat pasting the earth all over me.  I thought the experience would be relatively comfortable, but I was so wrong.  So, so wrong.  This photo communicates a stillness and tranquility that were not actually present.  And yet, I wanted to communicate these things.  Why is that?  The ground was rocky, the pine needles were killing me, and the wheat paste was very uncomfortable.  Yet, so often the experience of nature is communicated as being this tranquil, soft experience. This led me to begin thinking about the rift between how we control our experience of nature and the experience of actually being a part of it.

Border Patrol (In Progress)

       I later hiked around the border between the national park and BLM land.  I began thinking about the way in which we compartmentalize our space.  And again, I was thinking about the ways in which we control our experiences of place and nature.  Why do we feel the urge to organize our space like this -- the designation of boundaries, the concept of perimeter?  What affect does this have on our psyche?  Why do we have respect for the places we set aside as being 'special' and not simply a deep sense of reverence for all spaces?
       So much of the way that we orient ourselves to place is arbitrary, dystopian, and abstract.  I think that 'the box' must give us some sense of security.  Too vast for us is this world of far flung hills and galaxies -- put it in a box, think of it in parts, figure out how it works in relation to society, and it becomes much more manageable.  Doesn't this organization of space, however safe it might make us feel, limit our capacity for dreaming?  Finding the space to roam in a truly wild place, unbounded by fence and signpost, has been made nearly impossible.  So tethered are we to the infrastructure of our society that we cannot escape it.  It is just another part of the grid.

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