Molluscs Hunt Wizards is a body of work that makes a correlation between landscape, identity and personal narrative, and aims to develop my understanding of boundaries and markers in relation to these, and the role of storytelling in their formation and identification. The boundaries and markers I sought took the form of natural structures found in the landscape that might be used as practical navigation aids, but also those less visible, yet potentially palpable, traces of moments of experience.
During the beginning stages of the work (2014) I spent time revisiting areas of west Cornwall that were most familiar to me. I then travelled from London, via Beijing, to the Mongolian Gobi where I sought to learn more of nomadic herder relationships with, and reading of, the epic and often harsh terrain of the desert. I then returned by rail to Beijing to fly to Australia, where using both Melbourne and Sydney as bases, I made excursions into the central red deserts and the world heritage Willandra Lakes region
I met with artists and rangers who helped me find access to the desert and plains that were seemingly opposite to my home landscape of Cornwall. I collected stories and knowledge of boundaries and markers from people who helped me during my journey, and through my own experience, and I began to learn something of the landscapes that I visited.
Molluscs Hunt Wizards pays attention to pace changes, and how powerful moments and their edges, become form, objects to be handled and reviewed again and again. Within the overall narrative of Molluscs Hunt Wizards, molluscs and wizards act as metaphors for gradual and dynamic modes of action. The project looks for a deeper understanding of identity, and finding ones’ own power, through shifting perspective and letting go.
The 2014 work and travel was funded through the sales of artworks and through a crowdfunding campaign, all those who sponsored and supported me are acknowledged HERE. As rewards I offered badges, drawings and postcards sent during the journey, these accompanied a project blog, which documented experiences and findings. The drawings made whilst travelling can be seen above, and the postcards below; to read the journey’s blog please click HERE.
‘An artist-led adventure: memories, markers and a walk in the desert’, an article for a-n about Molluscs Hunt Wizards by Stephen Palmer, can be read HERE.
I used a fictional, but familiar, narrative voice to begin the work, and as a foil to push against and set a framework for my questions.
‘Through sources that it would be unfair of me to expose here, I have discovered that wizards head to deserts to charge their power and test their affect. My aim is to find the edges of their testing grounds, and the markers of their moments of power. To harness these to navigate my way through the desert, collecting moments of experience and charting the stages and platforms that promote dynamic transformative action.’
All work copyright the artist