this week we’re stationed at CERES environmental park. read about them here.
our involvement is a short-turnaround project, where we can create some site-specific works in a place that focuses on community, sustainability and environmental education.
today, while everyone else was measuring up and doing site analyses, i was starting my first work: burning the track of the merri creek into my arm. i’m not quite sure if it’s going to work out how i’d like it to but it has been an interesting foray into body work so far.
loads of artists do work relating to body. [i’ve been thinking about mike parr and stellarc (the two aussie kings of body work) and a little bit of todd mcmillan and his 24 hour endurance work overlooking the ocean]. i’m definitely not one of those artists, but seeing as the role of the audience and ‘people’ in public art has been highlighted in the last week (especially in light of no people engaging in artworks at docklands), i thought i would investigate the idea of personal in public.
my plan was to ‘burn’ the merri creek into my arm, creating the track of its course with sunscreen into the underside of my forearm (isn’t there just one word for that in english? i’m sure there would be in german!). having mostly worked with red throughout my practice, it plays on that colour. but more importantly, merri creek is a significant wurundjeri site and turning red/getting burnt also highlights that i’m not native to this site – an invader of sorts: that my physiognomy is not designed to deal with the conditions of the site.
interestingly, despite putting my arm in full-sun for 20 minutes all up, i’ve not gone the shade of red that I would have liked so far. there was an initial reaction – a slight burning and a bit of colour, but now it’s just regular, pasty-ish skin.
which throws up questions of skin sensitivity and whether you burn more when you’ve never been exposed to the sun (the preconception that i had), or in fact, the more you subject yourself to sun, the worse you burn.
i’ll get out there again tomorrow and if it still doesn’t go flaming red, then i’ll leave it as an interesting process with a not-so-interesting outcome. stay tuned.