the strata project: nancy holt [up & under]

What do you call a road trip of artists visiting a public art site?

As we bundled out into the site of Nancy Holt’s Up & Under, I was glad we were there in the winter, as the blue sky edged over the snow and we padded up and under and around the site. The space had a certain awe about it, nestled in a small valley surrounded by trees and sky. The small group of us climbing the structure and wandering the catacombs of the tunnels beneath the ground.

The work spirals into the landscape and whilst resonated with a sacred heart, also invited a playful response from each of us. Sliding down the edges in the snow and climbing this to the peak aware of the the juncture of nature and the (woman) hand made.

6/3/19 noted performance 

For a duration of 90 minutes I postit noted discrete parts of the building using ‘inspirational’ words as prompts. Placing the words in books, cupboards, behind plants and paintings, high or low on walls. The action was a meditative process, walking quietly around the spaces within the residence and secretly posting the messages. 

I left postit notes and pens in the shared studio space and over the period of the residency other people added their own words to the conversation.

The notes served as gentle reminders for people to take note, to falter and to remember these small things.

you take the high road and i'll take the low road [sunday silence day]

everything ties to a memory. big ginger cat in the forest padding towards springtime. between snow banks, places for paws to gravel crunch safely to prey.

in new zealand a mosque massacre and here, silence. thick and dense and spacious. walking roadside and wave acknowledgement at passing cars. the passengers in their warmth, me in mine. people are blasting the internet into a body of pain. outside this window the small birds balance on the highest branch in the forest in knowledge of survival…away from the big ginger cat.

nature sends loving messages. vibrating trees to spray yes across the spaces made from tree to tree. snow melts during the morning into marshmallow blankets on the forest floor. each step. each word, each line, etching progression = CONSIDERED.

meditation as death/life. breaking the divisions. are people scared of spirituality because it is bigger than EGO? stages and I can hear Albert humming through the wall.

the difference is the atmosphere, what i see and what i feel in this environment. CRYSTAL VISION (from Mattie’s kitchen conversation this morning, snow as water = elemental). Crystal clear light, sky the colour of snow. the silence is dense, as if i could poke my finger into its reverb. sound bubble and when i work i am conscious of the shifting landscape, how to navigate this terrain. EXAMINATION.

giving things a rest. the internet is full and i’ve spent my life filling myself with words and thoughts. i am sodden like the earth & the snow into moss rock. the birds return to the big tree, diving into the nooks and crannies.


the trees shift from a whisper to a roar.


the red thread of fate : forest performance

the red thread of fate is a story with universal traces throughout many cultures including chinese, japanese, korean, jewish and others. the red thread links soulmates, they are forever connected by a red thread and upon meeting can recognise each other by the thread that binds.

i found a site in the forest near the residency, it was a few days after we’d had the last snow and following the spring equinox. there was a small clearing in the forest with mossy rocks which appeared perfect for the performance site. the rocks had naturally formed seats and ledges and held both the ball of thread and myself perfectly.

the performance was enacted privately and documented through photography on my huawei android device. it was a day of silence at the residency which added to the intensity of the site and my actions.

i started by binding myself by the wrist 7 times, seven having significance as a spiritual number and a number of creation. i then began to bind trees in the forest, again using 7 to bind and to create a sacred space within the ritual. after a meditative and deliberate binding ceremony i then sat on the largest mossy rock and finished binding myself. i bound my legs and my ankles.

to close the performance i removed the bindings and they remain in the forest.

this performance was a call out to my soul mate(s), a call out to the forest and to nature, to being grounded and supported.

(freshen up) the warmth of the sun deepens this moment into being.

around my room i place objects.

talismanic notions of grounding.

in the corner the tulips thirsty burst a delicate wilt as a reminder of transiting beauty.

‘being beautiful is not enough’ Molly Prentiss Tuesday Nights in 1980 .

perforated edges & the eyeroll. living across three time zones. i look sometimes with obsession at myself. appearances signalling = CELLULAR. [[SILENCE IS A LANGUAGE]].

If the brain is a receptor (Peter C. Whybrow MD) then during this experiment (the residency) as we continue to pare back, open to us are other inputs. Every moment is a moment of creativity in action. Stepping away from the manic white noise anxiety [ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS].

self-governance as a radical act. How to you know me? How many times a day do you touch your phone? Tracking memory. The body is a map. Let me read you. NEWSFEED.


HOME MAKER/HOME BUILDER = gendered references to cities and the domicile. hammers and nails. platforms and methodologies.

it doesn’t matter what time it is as there is only here. frosty envelop.

[PRIMITIVE] = impulse of primitive mark making. energy fields and being ‘fed’ by the landscape. from a meditative mind, let the thoughts pass by. (the rest of my life is in the preparation of death). the snow is coming back as sideways swirl outside my window.

the world reverbs the new zealand attack on the mosque and the people killed, the after effects. here we are blanketed in the Finnish winter, the silence absolute and resolute.

people will arrive home soon, bursting into the house bringing the needles of outside cold to bristle and rise.

in my room small piles of books. eloquently placed as reminders of future action.


archive: the poetics of practice

archive is a research and practice document beginning with a 1 month residency at Arteles in Finland. SCT member Melissa Delaney enters into the residency and a mode of poetic practice focussing on the archive.

With limited internet and days of silence, I open the residency interested in (research) the historical aspects of Finland and how I will structure my days and nights at the residency. The aspects of practice - in particular moving from a practice of observation into one of participation. 1. document thoughts and impressions daily on paper 2. self as instrument 3. nutrition = sustenance/energy 4. meditation, walking, yoga (movement) 5. research (reading and writing) counterposed with poetics.


[little houses] = transitions>>across borders. studio as community. studio as home.

art as language. silence is a language. is it enough to sit and look out the window at snow melting.

4x20 blackbirds circle above for their piece of the pie.

CONTAINED >> houses as containers. bodies as containers. [today we meditated blue].

making room. building a home. little houses made from cardboard. build a city in your cubicle. [i will fill my space for you if this is what pleases you].

Kitchen conversations weave gently into daytime. the morning sun has degree-ed its way to another fractional point in the sky. i’m taking photographs of my reflection in the window [PROCESS PHILOSOPHY]. photographic remnants of practice.

the quieted space, enters afternoon, neighbours labour with restlessness.


and now night fall.

i hear human sounds from somewhere else in the house. each nook and cranny occupied by an artist or by things by which to make art. music machines.

today i moved a pot plant to my studio and did a drawing of Natsuki the Japanese composer.

in the room next door Albert finishes his novel and drinks small cups of dark drip coffee from morning until night. today we’ve meditated twice already.

sometimes snow falls inside. i’ve seen it with my very own eyes. the snow fall is like a ‘ssshhhh’ on the edge of my window.

RESEARCH>>borders, archive.

things in the works. placing words. making words. the reading of an interior (and still it snows).

Even her name has a little wildness to it. (Virginia Woolf). The French call dusk the time “entre le chien et le loup,” between the dog and the wolf, [...] While there are many Woolfs, mine has been a Virgil guiding me through the uses of wandering, getting lost, anonymity, immersion, uncertainty, and the unknown.
— Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me. Haymarket Books, 2014.