September 12, 2014

The Journey

Wayne Nez Gaussoin

As I began to awake by the increasingly glowing orange dew soaked rainfly. I am trying to make sense of where I am. An increasingly loud roar comes closer and closer from the distance at a rapid pace. My heart starts to increase, it pulses at the same rate now the object that was in the distance now feels like it skimming the roof of my tent with all its muster and power. I am fully awaken now and remember I am in an alfalfa field south of the Albuquerque International Airport.

Farmland, Junkyard, Alfalfa, water treatment plant, Rio Grande river, ducks, port o potty, cottonwoods, allergies and of course the mosquitos, yes the evening attire for all, mosquitos. All of these elements are what have influenced surrounded and engulfed what is now called the Valle del Oro.


Starting out in the element with a group of only a couple familiar faces this was the beginning adventure of a group of strangers whom were about to engage in a 2 week journey together, living, learning not only each others pace but the environments we were about to explore.

During our journey there we decided collectively that it would be best to evacuate the beating Albuquerque heat and escape under the large cottonwood trees near the River to reflect, observe and learn to take serious notes about the natural world we were going to embark on. Not only the natural world but how as humans have we learned to adapt and in some aspects dominate and how we affect that as humans and Artists. Therefore like all humans before us we started with the creation of fire! Our good mentoring visiting guest Joel not only showed us the tools to staying warm and alive but invigorated our mentalities through teachings that he has learned from the ( tribe ) that he shared with us. Being who I am, it was a little hard to swallow at first judging his sincerity, which actually ended up being completely honest and actually we continued the morning practice the rest of our journey every other morning...for awhile.


As, our time there closed and it was time to move on up north
this part of the trip entered into a new world...


Rio Grande Headwaters


Visceral sound echoing through the canyon of a permeated history, calming the mind and displacing time making one feel micro to the cosmic universe. Time spent here puts a pause on constant email and social media addiction. Instead the rushing river and wind are the new ipod beats as I walk through the aspens. The fire we make at night, just to keep us warm for a bit is also the evenings Netflix choice. It is a real treat to be in such a visually attractive place. My only gripe that has been increasingly growing is...the constant annoyance of getting out of the way of serous faced ATV Users. The more time spent here and hearing the ruckus in the distance tearing through the mountains. This is a personal inner conflict, I am starting to realize. An inner battle and reminder of attributed carelessness of our connection to the land and the true appreciation of what gives us life. At the same time, I know it is fun ripping through the forest in a Jeep or ATV, using natural resources to our demand and pleasure, this is the world we have created for ourselves... When a group of us hiked up the Pole Creek trail and climbed to the top of a steep hill that over looks a massive waterfall. This definitely gave a contrasting feeling as I overlooked the massive valley and realized its immense power making feel micro. This was a fortunate opportunity to feel so small. This space allowed us to to gain a healthy aspect of the land and each other where we able to start to actually use found elements in sculptural ways. I felt that this process was a healthy way of being able to just see... and know that art is a true practice that has to be worked on continuously and changes continuously.




back south we traveled...


Chaco Canyon (National Monument)


We are not the first and we will not be the last... We are only in the 4th world.

Being a resident New Mexican, I can’t believe that I have never visited here before. I recommend this to all my NM people. This is a must it is a place that places you in a timeline of history, simplicity and beauty. It made me think of what a little ...complainer, I can be in life. Looking at all the symmetry of the precisely stacked walls and how the entire place was put together by bringing trees chopped with handmade stones and carried somehow about 30 - 40 miles away.


It made me think how much love there was for this place for so much work and detail to go into this massive place, where we would drive from Kiva to Kiva to reflect on spaces for ancient meditations. The little walking that I did in this vast area felt like I had walked for days. The sun was so very powerful showing its strenght as my little brimmed had did its best to hold back the UV’s. I feel I could go on and on about all the questions I had about this place and the curiosity of my own human DNA rooting these walls to an ancestrial past time telling stories that are whispered through the walls. This location is still puzzling archeologist a thousand plus years later. If anything.. some of these ideas might pop up in my work later...?


El Vado Lake
North East of Chaco - North West of Santa Fe / Albuquerque
Our last trip on Journey I .


In this spot, I was able to come more clear of my ideas in how my thoughts and creations started to collide with the land. On our way there we luckily ran into the man named Mike, who told us all about the Reservoir as much as he knew, and boy...most of it was over my head. CFC and what not. As I started to grasp the ideas it started to make sense to me in terms of Water Pressures and Levels.


Through the observation of the reservoir and the high desert landscape my ideas started to formulate with my own sense of curiosity.

One of two projects that I would say were of curious study was the question of ... now how do I take a nap in this blazing heat with no trees within 50 yards and only boulders to lay on. This was the birth of the Kite Camp.


Now, while I was up at the Head Waters I had discussions with Jenn Hartmann about the concept of home and one instinctually creating a space to inhabit it. The couple of tools I had with me were my hiking sticks, tarp and a couple of bungees. I had tried in numerous amount of ways to make it work but the wind just wouldn’t have it. An old Aikido philosophy that had actually come up during Joels talks was the concept of working with the elements and not working against it. Therefore, my tarp that was flapping in the wind was transformed into a kite. The tarp kept wanting to take that shape anyhow and all I had to do was figure out how to harvest the wind that would keep it up above my head and anchored to the ground. My hiking poles began to act as a steering wheel navigating the air that it would catch and all the boulders I was sitting on easily kept the back corners anchored to the ground..after that, it was smooth sailing.


I soon took down my kite camp and started to head back as it was starting to get late and I didn’t want to travel back in the dark. I was observing how dry the outer perimeters of the lake were, where it once was. The patterns of the cracks created a beautifully eerie feeling, as the hard dirt below rumbled and cracked below my feet. The concept of water has always been a mystery to mankind. It gives us life, we are constantly learning from it and often we think we are trying to control it by placing dams on it. Water is something we are always learning from. It made me think of the Ancient symbol of my pueblo pueblo. “ Avanyu” ( Tewa ; meaning water serpent). This serpent like figure is an ancient figure representing a connection to water, rain, rivers above and below ground. Growing up in New Mexico this depiction is found almost everywhere now days starting from ancient cliff walls to pueblo pottery and even mugs and t-shirts in tourist shops. I started to think about what it meant to me, as I started to draw out my own interpretation lines in the dry dirt. The area I chose was on a slight lean toward back to the reservoir. The deeper and deeper lines I began to draw as it became a slow addiction, as I am sure there was a little smile to my face like a kid drawing in the beach sand. I eventually made the lines deep enough that they started to look like little rivers to me. I decided what would the relationship if this was a performance like piece and I decided to take water from the reservoir and pour into the lines of the large drawing ( about 50ft) that ended up pouring back into the reservoir.. so I decided to try it. ( stay tuned as video should come later...)




Land Arts... I was curious how it would change my style or make me think about the approach to my work... So I tried. check back for more adventures.

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