A Portable Landscape, Cadiz is an attempt to capture the precious everyday that makes up a particular land. A rucksack to take on a journey. A piece of home and a small collection of memories.
And inevitable, delicate question, what is home? What makes up a land? The world is getting smaller and we are increasingly nomadic. Borders and boundaries mark our routes as we journey for pleasure or fear across the world.
I recently spent five months with my partner in his homeland Cadiz. My practice is in constant reaction to the environment around me and I began to walk as a way to understand where I was.
Walking turned into collecting. Each collection became significant in some minor way and acted as a key to some previously overlooked facet of the landscape. I learned the different meanings and stories behind each collection. Calendula and it’s skin healing abilities. The slow slide of time in the decay of old snail shells lining tracks. Which soils contain which properties.
I collected huge bags of shells, coloured soils and dried plants. I would mark walks through collections and understood that through collection I was negotiating the landscape in new ways, taking obscure routes, moving through the finally-noticed-terrain of the minutiae, the ephemeral, the silent, strong and slow.
My body was fully engaged in the movements I was making and I mapped out the land with my body. This body-map of land, mirrored thought, teasing out hidden paths, leaping and winding to the flux of the mind. And I became fixated with the idea of learning the land’s language, with the growing sense that some kind of meaning could be teased from under its rocks.
I wondered whether it could be caught. Whether a slither, a scent, could be taken with us when we left. Whether the essence of a place can be infused in an oil. Places change, people move, people are displaced. Land is changeable, our relation with it is absolute in this. Home, a silver thread connecting us to ideas, people and places along the way.