Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Wolves and Cougars and Bears oh my! Again????

Sorrel here, I felt I just needed to tell you a tale from our Marsh walks as the plot just keeps getting thicker... (for pics of final work scroll down)

On October 17th, walk 16, i got to go on what was by then Laura's side (the side which skirts the river edge). I started out slow enjoying the new view, then at the first corner where the path turns almost a right angle to follow the river I scared a duck, who had been happily pottering on the sand, it flapped and splashed out to deeper water quacking as it went. I don't think I jumped on the outside, but this did set me off and a few meters down the path I found myself feeling very jumpy. In my mind I battled with it: "This is ridiculous, the big animals are so rare, this trail is too well traveled." Then my other voice would say "Ahh, but no one is here today, it's very quiet, it's next to the wildlife corridor... you have already seen a coyote and been told about how the wolves like it here out of season." Aaaggghh! I am not sure which of there voices is the rational one or which is romantic; after all, all the post cards here feature the animals, in fact I think close encounters are what draw a lot of visitors.

Anyway, I move on checking behind me periodically just in case there is something there. I also pick up two rocks as advised (by the Canada Park Rangers) and start to bang them together and sing. "I love you yeah yeah yeah I love you yeah yeah yeah..."
Then, I didn't want to sing. I kept looking at the bushes to my left, it felt like something was there; my imagination told me it was a cougar, my logic told me it was nothing.

At the next corner my eyes still scanning the under growth to my left, I saw a sandy round shape amongst the trees, it looked like the belly of a deer, a dead deer laying in the trees about twenty feet from the trail.

Then my heart was pumping and the pages of paranoia building advice chanting in my head.: "Keep walking...do not approach dead animals the killer may be near by...report all dead animal sightings...keep walking..."

I moved on at a quicker pace, hoping Laura (and Elinor who was taking her pictures that day) were close by, but they were not and as I kept going I decide it was probably my imagination, perhaps just a large rock catching the sun as it fell through the trees.

So then we met; they laugh, and we head back to the start; this time Elinor will travel with me.
We toss the coin again and I get heads, I am going right again. I try to perform my usual walk but my attention is on the bend ahead, I thought with Elinor there perhaps I could take a longer look and at least I would know if I was seeing things.

I was not, it was a dead deer; I could see its head and antlers too, which was simultaneously a relief and a horror.

Encouragingly, she suggested perhaps it had just wandered there, after being hit by a car.

After this we had two more walks to complete and with my luck the result of the toss meant I had to pass it twice more. I did, determined to face my fear. The last time round I could see magpies and crows feeding from the carcus, this said to me that what ever had killed it was not nearby; I could relax (but obviously not really because my camera was still shaking).

So, I guess I should explain why I am adding this story now. One of the other artists on this residency, Rebecca Birch, has been doing a work about Sulphur Mountain and interviewing lots of well informed locals and parks workers. On Tuesday, October 18th, she went down to the Marsh Loop and it was closed due to carnivores feeding. Then yesterday she discovered that it was a cougar that had killed the deer and had been feeding on it. I had not told anyone of my suspicions of it being a cougar because out of all the animals this seemed to have the most remote possibility, but as it turns out one lives on Sulphur Mountain (and was probably there watching me as I walked round banging my stones, guess it likes the Beatles).

Sunday, 28 October 2007

To Trail Is Not Always To Follow Behind - Open Studio

Our landscape of meeting fills the studio or as one of our visitors described it, "a topography of effort."
Alowing ourselves 19.5 hrs the combined amount of time it took for us to travel to Banff (the hours it took us to traverse the distance wrapped around the studio in rope) we walked the marsh loop, sharing this time to walk towards each other, 19.5 hrs alowed us to complete 19 walks, (oh we love it when our numbers repeat!!!!!)
Each walk, quantified through steps and time, is represented by a peak.
Thank you to everyone who visited or sent us their well wishes.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Our last day of walking to meet

Thank you to Elinor Whidden for joining us to document our journeys (taken during our 16th and 17th walks).

Sunday, 21 October 2007

A Peek At The Peaks

Friday, 19 October 2007

The First Cuts

As you can see, the first cuts were a little painful as we dismantled and began to transform our piece, but what a knife and a blowtorch can do-- but it became quite satisfying as the hot knife cut through our rope like it was butter. beginning to see our new landscape take shape was exciting too. Peaks/peeks to come...
P.S. Necessary tools for landscape building a la Sorrel and Laura:
-hammer, sticky dots, sharpie, limestone rocks, dollar store knife (with a wooden handle), blowtorch, tape measure, lots of black thread, trolley, Sorrel's keys, key rings, fishing wire, cup hooks, 'the maths', a calculator (or Sorrel's mobile), a long nail, tall ladder, Laura's jean pouch, pen or pencil, scissors, highlighter, office chair and lots of coffee (or chocolate for a treat).

As the walks acumulate the erosion begins...

here is the last shot before we begin to unwind (or erode) the distance which has framed our work and literally the space until now...

Can you see my apprehension? laura's still laughing at me...

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

It starts with the toss of a coin, The Marsh Loop as walked by Sorrel

Standing at the dividing point where our trail begins, Laura throws the penny to decide which way I will take, left or right?... Our journey begins ...We part and head towards each other around the marsh...
If you would like to know the stories behind these pics then let us know and we will be happy to share our tales.

The Marsh Loop: Laura's Side of the Story

Every second time Sorrel throws for me.
Heads is right, Tails is left. 19 walks around the loop and this was the outcome for me:
Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Right, Left, Right, Right, Right, Right, Right, Right, Left, Right, Left, Left, Left, Left... obviously Sorrel's was the opposite.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

The Maths

Examples from our notebooks/ sketchbooks of what we *lovingly* refer to as 'the maths'-- a must before we build.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


The second phase of our project involves us taking walks towards each other beginning at the same point on the Marsh Loop and walking in opposite directions, collecting the number of steps we each take and the time it takes to meet. After five walks we took this information back to the studio to transform the rope into a series of peaks, creating a new landscape built through our walks on the trail (the time denoting the height and the steps denoting the width). After 5 rotations, steps counted, times recorded, eager to build...
we trip and stumble and after a small bump on the head we come up with a fresh perspective and a new plan - we must start again!!!!!