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Instructions to traverse the Long Night (spring & trig), 2023

Inkjet print on 300gsm cotton rag

841mm x 1189 mm (each)

“A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape.” — Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking (85)


This work is accompanied by an essay that explores the intersection of place-based and walking-based research methodologies through the creation of Instructions to Traverse the Long Night (spring & trig), 2023. The project draws from Rebecca Solnit's notion that a path represents a "prior interpretation" of the best way to navigate a landscape. It critically examines the process of walking Ponui Island both without prior knowledge and then with informed intention, highlighting the complexities and revelations that arise from these actions. 

The essay begins by documenting an initial traverse of Ponui Island in April 2023, where the artist engaged in walking as a method of inquiry. This journey not only physically traversed the island but also metaphorically navigated its historical and ecological layers. The initial walk raised questions about the land’s deep histories, prompting further research.

Place-based research emerged as a crucial methodology, involving archival investigation and engagement with the island’s multifaceted narratives. Such research required sensitivity to indigenous perspectives and an understanding of colonial impacts. The essay underscores the necessity of grounding creative practice in a thorough comprehension of place, aligning with the artist's ongoing exploration of personal and collective connections to the land.

Walking—viewed as an embodied, sensory experience—complements place-based research by fostering a deeper, more immediate connection to the environment. This methodology moves beyond academic understanding, engaging the sense and emotion to prompt new insights.

The studio work culminates in two 35mm photographs: one depicting the spring where water was collected, and the other capturing the trig station at the island's high point. These images symbolise moments of presence and inquiry, representing both the beginning and the culmination of the walk. The essay concludes by emphasising the ongoing nature of this exploration, suggesting that true understanding of place and walking as research methodologies requires continuous engagement and reflection.

Please contact the artist for a pdf copy of the essay.  

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