Varieties of encounter in an immersive installation of nature
This exegesis explores how a visual arts accumulative installation process can open up questions about archiving and occupancy. It argues that such a practice signifies a desire for a kind of material fullness and immersion that can transform nature representation into an encounter of endless connectivity. This project derives from a specific 15 x 8 metre natural forest site inside the Department of Conservation-governed Ratapihipihi Scenic Reserve on the edge of New Plymouth. An area of 120 square metres can reveal significant unexpected encounters and easily occupy a year of note-taking. The challenge of this project is to trial ways for the drawing, painting, photographic and installation media to transpicture these encounters with the forest. This exegesis links an installation’s transcribing of the experience of being in a forest (the quantity, variety, composition and the perception of them) with Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s philosophy of conjunctions, multiplicity and experimentation. The impetus for this research into ‘encountering’ comes from the intention of me as ‘artist accumulator of nature’ to engage in an intimate connection with a local environment and to question how an installation practice, as a way of framing, can reposition a drawing-painting practice. I argue that unsystematic drawing and divergent installation arrangements challenge customary habits of experiencing landscape. The significance of my contribution rests on how I have employed two modes of engagement, notational drawing-painting and installation, to engage with a natural environment, and to translate this experience into a gallery environment that provokes viewers into becoming participants.