Title: Land Art

Media: Audio/photo installation
Duration: 7' 09''
Year: 2009

Cast: Tomas Spencer (as Mark); Jesse Inman (as Mr.Q)

  The general idea for this work was to invest a huge effort to make something barely noticeable, tiny and irrelevant. I got this idea while looking at the mountain tops with some snow that didn't melt during the early summer. Those are small white parts in the pastoral green landscapes, often just a few pixels in the large image, digitally speaking. I wanted to do something with it, to move it, to change it, erase it, anything that can be seen from a far away. For two summers I was searching for the perfect landscape. When I finally found it, I managed to transfer enough snow from point A to point B with the bag and the shovel, to create a new detail in the landscape, visible from the valley.

I asked myself what was the result - a land art, site specific art, intervention, landscape painting or painting the landscape? It had something from each of these things, but it wasn't any of it. 

The solution was writing a play for two characters observing the landscape:



    Mark: Good morning ladies and gentlemen, my name is Mark, welcome to this art happening. Mr. Q is our guest in the studio today. Hello Q.

Q: Nice to be here Mark, thank you for inviting me.

Mark: You are welcome. Today we are witnessing an artist’s performance, if we may call it that. We can see the artist in front of the mountain. Q, do you think you can has a guess perhaps, to what might be happening next?

Q: Well, it’s too early to say anything, but let me try. This is obviously a landscape scene, and the artist is in the pose of a painter or a photographer. Or at least he wants us to think so.

Mark: Right.

Q: This mountain could also be a reference to the most famous Cézanne motive – Mont Saint Victoire, which leads us to the XIX century impressi…

Mark: I am sorry, I am sorry again, the artist starts moving towards the mountain, wow, just listen to the music, Gosh… what do you think about the music he is using?

Q: Ohm, well, I think it’s pretentious. He probably wants us to believe that something very important and exciting is going on.

Mark: But you don’t believe so?

Q: Let’s say I am not convinced yet…

Mark: Come on Q, give him a chance.

Q: Well I am here, am I not?

Mark: Of course, of course. Ok, do you think that maybe he will try to climb to the top of the mountain?

Q: (sarcastic laugh) Well, I hope not, because I don’t see what would be the meaning of that. I mean – is he an artist or a climber?
: Wait, wait, we are receiving a blurred close up – wow! It really does look like he is going to climb the mountain. Oh my God, what a scene! What an image! This is…this is exciting!

Q: He is trying hard, I must admit…

Mark: I am sold. I don’t understand a thing, but this is very exciting.

Mark: Oh, there is a second camera on him, it looks…it looks like he is approaching snow, must be a glacier? A glacier? Q?

Q: I have to pass Mark...

Mark: Ladies and gentlemen, we are back, Mr. Q is with us still in the studio, we are live at the art performance location. Do you think we are any closer to making a guess at this moment Q?

Q: Not really, the artist is not giving us any directions or clues so far, except that he is being very dramatic and theatrical.

Mark: Well, according to our listeners who make our phone line hot since the performance started, you are quite alone in your opinion.

Q: Let’s say I am not so easy to amuse Mark, that’s not my job.

Mark: Ok. Do you think that this snow could have any meaning at all?

Q: Possibly. It could represent accidental random shapes in nature, with a certain semantic potential. Or we can search for a meaning in the snow matter itself – it is cold, freezing, long preserving in certain conditions. It’s interesting how this snow prevails in the sun and hot temperatures during the summer. It could also be that the snow remains because of the lack of the sun on this side of the mountain, which opens even more interpretations. The artist’s message could be about hidden values, off scene quality. The message could be that only true art will prevail when the lights come down. Art that is not exposing itself too much.

  Mark: That is terrific! I am glad we have you with us in the studio Q, I couldn't of come up with that on my own, you are super!

Q: I am glad I can help, Mark.

Mark: But do you think that’s the message?

: No,

Mark: Right.

Q: and I don’t believe in the quality from the margins, and...good things find their way. It would be helpful if we could summarize what we have seen so far. The artist showed us a mountain, and we can remember that it was possible to see those snow patches in the introductory scene as white dots in the image or to be more precise – in the landscape.

Mark: Hmm, go on…

Q: Then the artist starts his journey from the valley to the white dots, landscape details, with dramatic music and crescendo when he reaches them, right?

Mark: True…

Q: And now he is obviously manipulating with this snow, or color, or a landscape detail.

Mark: Is there now a point on the horizon of understanding?

Q: Not yet, but now I would like to ask a question –

Mark: Sure.

Q: what are we looking at exactly? A landscape painting in real space and time? Land art? Any guess from your side Mark?

Mark: Well, I think all I can say at this junction Q is that I miss music…

Q: Don’t ask to be amused by art, this silence is actually opening the space for us to project ourselves, without being fully directed by the artist’s intentions. Most of our projections came in this part without music, right?

Mark: Oh, God, there’s music again! Good! I didn’t want to be left alone in this piece.

Q: Well I hope this music means we are close to the end of this piece and close to its point.

Mark: Here he is, coming back. He is walking through the valley again! Wow, I am quite excited, the music really helps it! Look, this is the same scene from the beginning. It is nearly dark, this is actually took almost an entire day, the performance took entire day.

Q: I am not sure we can look at this as a performance. He left something up there and is now observing it. I am sure it’s about the result of this activity, not about the process. Oh Gosh, look at his face…

Mark: He is touched, I mean he really thinks he did it! Wait, the camera is zooming on the mountain again! I love this part! Pam pa pammm, paaaa….

Q: Mark, that third white shape on the left, was it there in the beginning? There were two of them, right?

Mark: He is changed the mountain! Does he changed the mountain?! He is changed the view of the mountain! What do we call this Q, land art, minimalism, site-specific intervention?

Q: I am afraid I have to pass again Mark….

Mark: Really, this is quite something...