The Red Desert Project installed 2.5 billion grains of red desert sand on the floor of an urban gallery for city-dwellers to walk barefoot and be ‘out there’ in the emptiness. This immersive exhibition was integral to my studio-based Master of Fine Arts degree at COFA, UNSW. The images are video stills from HD video projections. Left: Moonlight Sonata (Simpson Desert, SA); Centre: Gibson’s Compass (Simpson Desert, SA); Right: Alchemy of the Sun (Lake Disappointment, Little Sandy Desert, WA) > See MFA14
Posted on 2014-06-02 in Abandon, Absurd, Firenze, Invisible, Landscape, mapism, moonstruck, Music, Perspective, Place, Sand, Scale, Science, Shadows, Surreal, Video Stills
Tagged 'out there', 'The Red Desert Project, billion grains of sand, emptiness, Lake disappointment, Little Sandy Desert, materiality, moonlight, moonlight sonata, red, red sand, Simpson Desert, urban dwellers
The video explores internal compass, beliefs, mis-beliefs and the desires for new horizons. Inspired by the Gibson Desert and Alfred Gibson who, in 1874, lusted after Ernest Giles’s compass, even though he did not know how to use it. The video opens with a red compass resting on a slatted wooden table. A figure enters, picks up the two objects, and walks across the claypan, shrinking towards the vanishing point on the horizon line. https://vimeo.com/45287392
Alasdair Macfarlane and I took 11 days to winch and pull ourselves through the muddy claypans of the Simpson Desert to Birdsville. Gibson disappeared in 1874 when he went searching for water with Giles’s compass. His body was never found, despite days of searching and the Gibson Desert is named in his memory.
Exhibitions: Blake Prize 2012 Director’s Cut Exhibition http://www.blakeprize.com/galleries/directors-cut?yr=2012&page=3; Desert Equinox Festival, Night-Sun-Days screening, Broken Hill, 1-23 September, 2012; Half a Desk exhibition, Kudos Gallery, Paddington, 15-18 August, 2012.
I set the tripod on the sand to enhance and exaggerate the ground beneath the horizon line and included a slither of blue sky to orientate the viewer.