December 2, 2016

Erasure: Desert Markings

By Molly Zimmer
White Sands National Monument, NM
October 26, 2016


Participating in the group collaborative project, “Human Sundial”, my shift for standing as the dial was in the afternoon from 4:30pm -5:30pm. Showing up a little early, I was instructed to go erase all the footsteps from the Sundial filming location.


They had rigged up a small broom, attached to a long pole for people to use. I took the brushing to heart-- as many of my previous concepts for Big Bend State Park was about creating a tool to erase the footsteps of people who had crossed the border. In White Sands, the elements of wind and time erase all the tourist’s footsteps, but even through that process, a mark is always made--such as ripples in the sand. I had spent the first part of the day walking around exploring, where I noticed the way that grasses in low places and next to the rising sand dunes had created completely perfect circles in the sand around them. Depending on the length of grass fibers, it would be larger or smaller. I appreciated the way that blades of grass could mark distance, time like a sundial, and work as both erasing previous marks while constructing a new one. In the process of doing so, I chose to create a spiral mandala, ceremonially walking around and around as a dial would on a clock. Walking in a Clockwise direction, I started at the center moving outwards until i reached the point where the person’s shadow stopped.

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