Second Field Trip to Swan Lake

Water became a protagonist of my project, and when I heard about the buoy, I wanted to touch it. Since the divers had been in the lake, I also wanted to sink into it.


Initially, I felt a strong reluctance to swim in Swan Lake because the bottom was so muddy. When I put my foot on the lake bed, it was immediately covered in five centimeters of soft mud. The muddiness was mentioned many times in the video footage that I had watched some months earlier. It was as if I was connecting both with the actual place and the its description. The mud had been conveyed through the video footage. Now it was covering my foot. The water was lukewarm and it was raining.

In the exposition “Unfixed Landscape” (2017), Ruby Wallis employed swimming as one of her means of defining a ‘place.’ The way she described this experience resonated with my approach: 


The (lake)(...) is dark and fluid, provisional, ‘unfixed’ and ambiguous in its nature, being a lake far from sight of human habitation, it is by nature a primal secluded site and the very nature of water suspends me within that fluid context. I wanted to move away from my attempts to represent the landscape from a fixed perspective (...) In the fluid context of the swim, I am alone, embodied, it is womb-like but also there is an element of danger, of struggle." [1]

The physical labour and the feeling of risk that Wallis here describes was recognizable and resonated with my approach. It took me about 5-10 minutes to swim to the buoy. The bottom below me was mud-covered and undefined. Upon closer inspection the buoy had lost much of its color during the years it had been floating in the water. I felt I had to move fast so that I could return and stand on solid ground again. I had touched the ground of the event, I had been as close to its aftermath as possible. The place had now been studied both from a distance and at close range. The closeness and the bodily experience made me lose the overview. Later I attempted to put these two different experiences together.

A more familiar approach, which I also used, was to document the hike and the place with my camera. Below a selection of this is presented.

[1] Ruby Wallis, "Unfixed Landscape. Is it possible to define 'place' through artistic practice?” Journal for Artistic Research, Issue 2, 2012. doi: 10.22501/jar.959.