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Imagining the narrative of place

The human activity of imagining… is more than a metaphor; it is a particular form of practice.  Imagining is not just the grasping or the conceptualization of that which is ‘out there’; it also implies an attempt to render an idea real by making it the model for future action.  In other words, imagining entails a model of as well as a model for reality.
(“The critique of culture and the plurality of nature” by Andreas Roepstorff & Nils Bubandt)

One possible description of the societal role of the artist would echo the sentence above – to provide models “of” and “for” ways of imagining, finding meaning within the world we live.  This capacity, of course, is resident in all, but is most often honed and proclaimed by artists, writers, philosophers, scientists, etc. – creators in all media.  There is then the potential through acts of imagining to render new ways of relationship with that which we call nature.

"Watt Diptych" Schillig, Germany - ©Hung/Sturgeon 2009

"Watt Diptych" Schillig, Germany - ©Hung/Sturgeon 2009

Our intent in “at low tide” is to provide a few additional connections for new patterns of affinity with the environment of the Wattenmer (Wadden Sea).  By simultaneously attempting new strategies of imaging while critiquing and exposing the inherent deficiencies of the technologies we employ, there is an effort to promote synergy between them.  Throwing these balls in the air at the same time facilitates active attention that tends to promote a multiplicity of understandings, models of observing – of the landscape of the Watt.  “at low tide” also seeks to investigate landscape in ways that  elude conclusion, promoting a spiral of reconsideration and questioning.

Sky, Schillig Watt - March 4, 2009 - 4:09 PM   Hung/Sturgeon - D.Bailey stitch

Sky, Schillig Watt - March 4, 2009 - ©Hung/Sturgeon - D. Bailey stitch

As a critical term ‘observation’ has distinct advantages compared with terms like realism or naturalism.  The latter only describe the after-effects of certain narrative or dramatic techniques, but when we think of observation we’re bound to consider the prior and practical matter of how cameras record what they see.
(Observation and Identity, by Roger Sandall; Sight and Sound, Autumn 1972)


Schillig Watt - March 4, 2009 - ©Hung/Sturgeon - D. Bailey stitch

So, what could an envisioned narrative of the space of the Watt be?  This gigantic mud-flat landscape is in constant ebb and flow with the sweeping tidal transformation cycle that repeats twice each day from kilometers out a sea to mud-flat and back.  This rapid inundation with slithering priels (channels, small streams cut through mud-flat), is both a visually subtle and awesomely dynamic environment of haunting desolation, shimmering with silver beauty as well as a tourist destination or adventure land for wind-kites or intrepid wattwanderung (watt wandering).


"Shellfield Diptych", Schillig Watt - ©Hung/Sturgeon 2009

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