Molluscs Hunt Wizards is a body of work that looks for markers and boundaries of experience and potential within desert and plains landscapes, and which began,
‘Through sources that it would be unfair of me to expose here, I have discovered that wizards head to deserts to charge their power and test their affect. My aim is to find the edges of their testing grounds, and the markers of their moments of power. To harness these to navigate my way through the desert, collecting moments of experience and charting the stages and platforms that promote dynamic transformative action.’
During the beginning research stages of the work (2014) I travelled via Beijing to the Mongolian Gobi, where guides helped me to learn more of nomadic herder relationships with, and reading of, the epic and often harsh terrain of the desert. I returned by rail to Beijing to fly to Australia, where using both Melbourne and Sydney as bases, I made excursions into the central red deserts and the world heritage Willandra Lakes region. I met with artists and rangers who helped me find access to the desert, and understand something of its landscape and the significant points within it.
Through this first research stage I collected stories and knowledge of boundaries and markers from the people who helped me and through my own experience. The boundaries and markers I sought took the form of natural structures found in the landscape that might be used as practical navigation aids, but also those less visible, yet potentially palpable, traces of moments of experience. The research makes a correlation between landscape and personal narratives and aims to develop my understanding of boundaries and markers, and the role of storytelling in their formation and identification.
Molluscs Hunt Wizards pays attention to pace changes, and how these moments and their edges, become form, objects to be handled and reviewed again and again. Within the overall narrative of Molluscs Hunt Wizards, molluscs and wizards act as metaphors for gradual and dynamic modes of action or experience, molluscs being gradual, wizards being dynamic.
The 2014 work and travel was funded through the sales of artworks and through a crowdfunding campaign, all those who sponsored and supported me are acknowledged HERE. As rewards I offered badges, drawings and postcards sent during the journey, these accompanied a project blog, which documented experiences and findings. The drawings made whilst travelling can be seen above, and the postcards below; to read the journey’s blog please click HERE.
‘An artist-led adventure: memories, markers and a walk in the desert’, an article for a-n about Molluscs Hunt Wizards by Stephen Palmer, can be read HERE.
All work copyright the artist