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2005 10 21
Shifting Landscape #1
On Oct. 1-2, 2005 I presented an installation Shifting Landscape #1, to the public.  The work is situated out in a local farmer’s field seen from outside my kitchen window. As I have leased a house for 27 years in the country-side I am very familiar with this scene, albeit without an extended living room situated in the centre of the view. To provide a description of the work I will rely on film business terminology used to describe  parts of a set. The installation consists of a 9‘x12’ platform raised up on 3’ risers, upon which are installed four 4’x 8’ flats held up by headers and 10' jacks. The work has been prepped, painted and dressed.  The field was ploughed after the work was installed. The farmer has delicately worked around the site to make it accessable to the public.
The purpose of this work is to raise questions around issues of urbanization, the sensing body and our perceptions of nature. Everyone who has visited the site to date has been asked the question “what is nature”. Most of the responses have been recorded either on video and or on a digital audio receiver. The work is a continuing process: I would like to locate an interesting building in downtown Toronto to re-install this work, utilizing a rear-view projection screen with the view out the window appearing via digital video.  As an additional audio element a layered collection of voices (just recorded in the field) will be played at the  “indoor” installation.

There is an urban myth that life in the country is far more peaceful and sublime than city living. Many people seem to think that they are moving to the country when they leave a large city. (A friend once announced that he was moving to the country, to a brand new house being built in the middle of a cornfield, along with 3,00 other homes.) I live 45 minutes N/E of Toronto on a small lot which is part of a 30 square mile plot of prime farmland that were expropriated 33 years ago for a failed attempt to build an airport by the Federal Government. My experience of observing the expansion of the burbs around the city as I travel to and from Toronto has brought me to install Shifting Landscape #1. The question “what is nature” is one that has been provoked in me by loving life in the city and, in the country yet observing close hand the monster we are creating with urban sprall. Robert has asked me to open up a conversation with the members of Reading Toronto so here I am to explore with you issues of urbanization, the sensing body and our perceptions of nature.
There is a Shifting Landscape #2 installed in an uncultivated field constructed out of the natural surrounds. I will post an image of this at a later date. My thanks go out to farmer Ashmore Reesor, photographer Chris Thomiadis and two remarkable carpenter friends from the film business, Thomas Peter Pearce and Joe Curtain for their enormous generosity in making this project happen.

[email this story] Posted by HEATHER RIGBY on 10/21 at 11:39 AM

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