The Invisible Inside the Visible



The Invisible Inside the Visible, 2012.

The Invisible Inside the Visible began as an information gathering project in a rural Nova Scotian community.  Its purpose was to locate physical evidence of a century old landmark, a racetrack.  While collecting interviews and maps drawn by residents, it became clear that the memory of the racetrack location was both variable and imprecise. The physical location defied specificity in either drawn or oral recounting.

This project investigates the mutable nature of memory, as evidenced in the journey to find the track. I was curious about the nature of lived and collective memory versus the physical evidence of a historical site. Hierarchies of perception and location were turned upside down by heterogeneous memory of collective experience. The oral memory was fluid in location. This destabilized the existence of the actual mark; the imagined locations unmoored the mark from its physical existence.

The performance onto the track was a mirage made tangible. The documentation was put into newspaper form and distributed in the community, creating another utterance of location to add to the stories collected.

The primacy of authoritative voice is intentionally subverted by the personal and the lived, in both my own writing and the collected memories and maps from the area. The potential for location as a mental state is proposed through a performative gesture into the land. The ephemeral performance is a metaphor for the way in which a gesture or word can leave a mark that can be both affirming and generative in the creation of place. I am interested in exploring the experience of place as felt through the body and translated through language and geography. The multiplicity of versions becomes a perplexing and destabilizing way of considering the possibility of anchoring place through words.

The goal of this collecting was to create a temporary drawing of something that exists-- and does not exist. Using hydrated lime, I traced the outline onto the landscape. The act of putting the powder down was, itself, an act of appearance and disappearance. The wind carried the powder, creating forms that mimicked clouds in the sky, before dispersing.  Some fell into the grass, creating a drawing for the airplane to photograph. Since then it has rained. The mark has disappeared. The question of where the oval exists can be asked once again.   It is situated in the midst of a large green field.  I have seen it. 

Link to Audio Directions to racetrack

Link to pdf of newspaper document The Invisible Inside the Visible

Link to interview with curator, Corey Lindsay, at Ross Creek Center for the Arts about project. Ross Creek exhibited project in September-December 2012.

Thank you to those who gave directions and shared stories:  
Jim Baillie
Janice Gill
Mildred Heighton
Donnie Langille
Willis Langille
Margaret MacLean
Peter McDonald
Susan Sellers
Linda Thompson Reid 
Beulah Wright 
And especially the community pasture supervisors:  Ross MacKay and Raymond Mitchell 

Canada Council for the Arts.
   
Rita Wilson for all of her help, Cydney Haynes for the use of her camera and Marcus Boroughs.

A huge thank you to Meh’s for so graciously providing a venue for the project. It was important that the work be available to the community, and the publication and audio will be installed at Lee Tik’s gas station and Quikmart during the W(here) festival.

 

© 2017 Sheilah Wilson