The Invisible Inside the Visible (2014)

Sheilah Wilson

About this exposition

The Invisible Inside the Visible was a personal quest turned art project to locate physical evidence of a century-old racetrack on the Cape John peninsula in the village of River John, Nova Scotia. The journey to find the racetrack was marked by its double invisibility. Not only was it remembered without specificity in regard to location, it was also invisible to the observing eye because it was embedded into the landscape. This exposition is a reflection on the nature of landscape as a marker of cultural geography, and on my ability as an artist to pull the past forward through performance. I see the performative gesture as a physical articulation akin to a vibration; it disrupts the stability of the narrative. This project adds to the discourse investigating maps, memory, rural community, oral history, depictions of landscape, performance as tool, and the potential for dialectical articulations of place and history.
typeresearch exposition
affiliationindependent, w(here) festival
published inJournal for Artistic Research

comments: 1 (last entry by Sharon Kivland - 26/05/2014 at 14:32)
Sharon Kivland 26/05/2014 at 14:32

A thorough and well-conceived project that is articulate and convincing, raising relevant questions about memory and place, and challenging preconceived ideas about experience and location in relation to language.  The published version of the project performs with a neat simplicity and directness. There is a quiet and purposeful poetic structure that underpins a text that takes this reader on a journey through the ideas and the places of memory in relation to a specific site. The reader/viewer is led through a landscape on screen, and also may actively engage with moments of encounter or interpretation. The artist has staked out a territory for enquiry with well-supported work that is insightful, speculative, and compelling, using a shift in register and pace throughout, nicely balanced. The essay is presented with care and the images function to support and move the argument, as more than merely illustrative figures. The project and its exposition has been approached thoughtfully with the use of first-hand testimony and newspaper report, providing not only a sensitive means of engaging with the subject, but also a persuasive primary source of social and anthropological research, which has allowed the examination and support of what is proposed from a (small) range of personal perspectives and experiences. There is a good understanding of the critical context of the subject and the bibliography indicates substantial research, while the project itself constitutes research.

A clear proposal of the question is delivered, traced/explored through various means, shoring up the investigation into the relation of place to memory, and finally, to language. The project functions as an example of primary research, from which a number of insights are drawn. It is grounded in empirical research and primary practice, and is both consistent and convincing. The design of the maps is engaging, and works well, relating the sketches to voice. The maps, as drawing and entry points to oral/aural histories, work effectively and with affect. This is a careful and direct approach to a thoughtful study.

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