September 30, 2012

Reflections on Journey One

Heike Qualitz

The former Tipover canyon campsite, now waterfront hunter's lodge

     An unexpected lush expanse of forest welcomed us after hours of winding through arid landscapes.  Fungi in all shapes and colors covered the spongy forest floor beneath the Ponderosa and Aspen regrowth, apparently not an everyday sight.  Their vibrant presence reminded me of the vital role the largely unnoticed underground networks of mycelia play in a forest ecosystem.

     The stark white stems of the twisted aspen trees posed as an inviting setting to honor aspects of those complex mycelium networks.  Aided with various pieces of string that fellow land artists kindly shared with me, I went to play.

Webbing in progress (photographs by Eso Robinson)
Night photograph of string in pines

     There is anecdotal evidence of saunas being constructed during land arts journeys.  Outdoor settings such as the Kaibab forest combined with extensive periods of limited access to water (ok, throw in some northern European heritage as well) are somewhat conducive to be inspired to create such spaces.  Fueled perhaps also by having just witnessed an extreme of environmental landscaping and immersive environments - Roden Crater, I woke up one morning somewhat driven.  
     I started transforming the space created by a fallen Ponderosa, right next to our campsite, using the naturally formed hollow that was left by the uprooted majestic pine.  Later in the process, fellow campers joined me to refine the space.  We used mostly materials provided by the fallen tree; branches for support, needles for cushioning the seating, and timber for the fire.  Despite the process being highly enjoyable, the lack of material accessible for covering the cavernous structure sufficiently eventuated in the space being a 'warm cave' (as opposed to a sauna), an immersive experience most of the group shared nonetheless.

Ponderosa sweat lodge

     Upon more pondering the wonders of the Ponderosa pine, I decided to use the fallen bunches of needles, which after being exposed to the sunlight darkened to a reddish shade, their underside remaining pale.  I wanted to use those varying shades to create a drawing with the intricate shape and geometry of a pinecone, which presented itself as an obvious choice and challenge.

Pine needle drawings (day and night scan)

Jenn Hart-Mann with skull: found and returned

After a rare desert rain at CLUI
Horseshoes flying in the Wendover evening sun (with Bill Gilbert and Amelia Zaraftis)
Playing with and recording the aeolian harps attached to the
CLUI tower with Celia McKinnon (photograph by Amelia Zaraftis)
Working on the Bonneville Salt Flats
Leaving Wendover
Colorado River above Lake Powell
Muley Point - breathtaking sunset after a rainy day
Muley Point - Army Juno missile launched from 
Fort Wingate, New Mexico, visible in the morning sky

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