This is the title of paper for ISEA in Instanbul in 2011 and sums up many of the notions and concerns of the shinyshinycloud projects.
Extreme elements of
weather has provided an ongoing dialogue about the interactions with the
environment forming a narrative of the landscape that Dr Lisa Anderson has
explored through references to the past associations of place and it’s story
created by the cultural and weather interactions.
This project shinyshinyclouddocuments, questions and
plays with our relationship to the environment and has formed the basis for
several residencies and fellowship/visiting artist programs undertaken
The shifts explored detail past tales and magic, past weather events
and future possibilities in the stories of these events forming the new
architecture, identity, culture and landforms.
In 2007 Dr Anderson was the artist-in-residence on the Kapitan Khlebnicov
a working Russian Icebreaker on expedition through the Northwest Passage, and
further to Inuit communities, science/weather stations and the last point of
contact for the High Arctic. The film work, drawings, recordings, paintings and
a video installation work The Truth About
Snodomes which has been included in several international curatorial
programs pushes into our ideas about place, extreme environment shifts causing
and shifting identity.
Many Images have been developed for this work including IVU, a print shown in Ends of the Earth at Bicha Gallery. http://www.bicha.co.uk
Portrait of Istanbul This work was created while Dr Anderson was visiting Istanbul for ISEA and the Istanbul Biennale.
Dr Anderson spent and afternoon with a group of women sharing culture and the views of their mosque and hamman which was undergoing restoration.
Narrative of Landscape Is Nature in Me or am I in Nature
a construction of the mind within the contemporary world. The elements of
nature, ecology, urbanity, the sublime, and even the profane swill across the
surface in the scars, reflections and symmetry in a cacophony of colours put
forward in the elements we call landscape.
Landscape I am mainly concerned with touches on all of these elements however I
narrow my search to consider the changing stories being created, being heard or
being repeated that reference weather.
weather literally shapes the land, the architecture the colour of the sky the
density of the waters. The weather and it’s archive highlight the depth of
history through challenging and shiting story telling about place.
and animals and plants migrate across the world, often pushed by the extremes
of weather the stories of particular places also change. The story we over-whelmingly
hear now is one of disaster, of extinct species of the forced movement of
people. Often the result of human challenges and scientific overcoming of
weather and land.
the disaster elements like all good stories are told in many ways. And within this chapter is the
relatively new understanding of people as separate from nature, something
perhaps embodied in Thoreau’s influential understanding and books about
wilderness, as nature. The idea of frontierism where we became the conquerer
with a civilized attitude that was outside nature.
of nature as a separate part of the ecology, and this is discussed in detail with Tim Morton, Ecology without Nature, we become
aligned with the potential to divorce ourselves from any common good or shared
experience with the land. We are encouraged in frountierism to create log
cabins in inhospitable places, cut holes in the earth, shift tonnes of carbon
from one side of the globe to the other, to take up residence in Mars as a
future for the Planet. That is scrap nature and start again policy. Just expand
the frontier. Thus my
own aesthetic context and action includes to look closely at the stories of
place that are told often in indigenous communities as both a keening for a
past and a record of what happened. These stories feed an understanding that at
times keeps pace with the weather changes recorded. This is the science of proving
the winds and rain, the record of temperatures and earthshifts. The science of
geology is reflected in the stories of the peoples over time.
instance many years ago there was a plan to mine a certain hill/ridge in remote
Australia. The local peoples stories forbid access to the site as sacred. It
was the Dreamtime sleeping place of a monster native frog. The last time the
frog was awoken, the earth was separated and the frog vomited across the land
with the soft surface soils washing away to the sea and leaving behind a dry
desert and the people and animals and plants had to move or adjust. Thus to
disturb the frog would cause trouble across the land as again it would vomit.
Eventually despite the sheer disbelief that fear of a vomiting frog would stop
big business mining, which is the all pervasive force in Australia, the rights
of the traditional owners was upheld by the High Court.
frog stays sleeping in the hill. It is worth pointing out that they wanted to
main uranium. Which recent disasters around the world, such as the Tsunami on
the Coast of Japan that has caused untold damage to the environment stemming
from the Uranium fuelled power stations could in legend be the result of a
vomiting frog. Or any similar legends that exist around the world.
stories abound, and we ask ourselves who tells the story of the Crisis in
Landscape now. Was it James Cameron in Avatar where good and bad was depicted
as government and big mining (very Australian that), and memories are stored in
the tree, which had a cloud-like quality really! Or is the story of Landscape
told by David Attenborough who whispers to us the details of shifting creatures
across the planet or is it in the new geology comparisons in the TV series The
Universe comparing our landscape with that of other planets as a goodbye wave
at the past and a jump to the future.
potential of the Tardis of the internet we have many stories of landscape, with
hierarchy of story shifting from the scientifically proven, to the story we, as
a people want or are willing to makeup and share.
video work The Gates of Bei Gao is
created in the small hutong or suburb in the North of Beijing. This area has
many children; a sign of unregistered people as due to the one-child policy in
an attempt to have sustainable population levels China. The next small hutong
has already been torn down to allow the government to modernise and the
sustainable farming carried out by these people, and the sifting and recycle of
rubbish another local task is also being closed down with the village. These
people have already swelled their numbers by moving from the country areas to
the edge of the city, due to drought and dust blowing in from the desert. The
film hints at Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ to scope this dilemma of a
shifting landscape in the hazy dust of evening light.
stories are research backgrounding my artworks to begin attempting to
understand landscape as a touchstone for story, as an important element in the
making up of an ecology, and in understanding the shifts in migration due to
weather, and the imperialism of taking the land and treasure once remote or
difficult to obtain.
photographic exhibition Clouds and Roses
exploits the similarity of story in locations around the world. Perhaps Like
Tolkien in Lord of the Rings where he speaks often of the Distant Mountains. In
this his characters explain throughout their journey across the landscape the
makeup and maping of the world always headed toward the distant mountains. This
tenant of creating a story with common touchstones gives a familiarity to
something that is also from somewhere else.
Edges, my digital phtogrpahs include a combination of the Elgin Marbles, with
the torn wallpapers of a long deserted traders’ hut in the High Arctic. Both
objects that tell, hint and are formed by our romantic idea of landscape. The
appropriated landscape in our mind is fuelled by the story, which I see as a
weather story of a forced migration and a landscape under contest. The Elgin
Marbles were stolen by an Englishman, he hacked them out of the wall, and payed
a bribe to the occupying force in Greece to steal them across the border. He
attempted to sell them almost everywhere he stopped. They eventually reside in
the British Museum. Every time I walk through the Museum one hears a high
pitched English voice explain that the Greeks just left them out in the weather
and would not look after them like we do. They have become British because of
this claim to protection from the weather.
Traders Huts images also tell tales of a people in the wrong place. The attempt
by the Hudson Bay Traders as an Imperialist merchant group to trade for furs and
gold allowing them to set up settlements. Often these were outposts only visited by the lost in search
of fortune. When I visited the hut, which is heritage and UNESCO protected I
had armed shooters in readiness against the polar bears as I quickly took
images in the very limited time available.
also long visited Lake Mungo in remote Australia. The local indigenous people
have allowed me access to site and story in a very generous and sharing way. They
have taken me, or drawn maps for me to follow across the dried Lakebed to
various places of significance. The series of lakes dried out some twenty
thousand years ago. Leaving behind the memories of muddy footprints that tell
the stories of dancers, hunters and tribal meetings. The footprints are
documented and hidden again as memory of the lost.
is of the oldest known ritually cremated human remains, dating some sixty-five
thousand years. They are known as Mungo Woman and Mungo Man. These have been
documented and re-buried away from prying eyes by the local groups. The site
has a long-term history from early, and clearly very fruitful nomadic peoples
as a major meeting place. Then as a rest and watering point for trade and
coaches moving across the shifting desert and lonely plains.
cattle there until the 1970’s when the local graziers handed the land back into
the care of the traditional owners. Much of the local aboriginal population had
died off from contact with white civilisation, mainly from syphilis and
influenza viruses. The site had Chinese immigrant stockmen, who built the
The local Chinese
workers would look across the dried lakebed to lunette being revealed by the
continuous weather shift as the long term drought progressed. They called the Lunette
the Walls of China in fond memory of the Great Wall. In the evening shimmering
light is does it indeed remind one of the Great Wall and all that it stood for
in a vain attempt to keep the people and stories of the nomads of the deserts
video installation that I had intended to show here sand:bone:clay invites us
into this world of change. Of looking and walking in a landscape that references
all landscape through story, through a sense of specialness, a wilderness, a
thin layer of earth that reveals the broken bones from burials, the remains in
middens, the clay balls for heat and what once would have been really good
of China forms a semicircle shape protecting the lakebed from the giant moving
sand dune behind. The dry lakebed serves to channel the drought breezes that
carry nothing but sand and dry heat that slowly strip back the layers in the
soft brittle remains of the Lunette and reveal the histories.
groups had died or been forced from the land and they cling to these stories
and allow archeological and anthropological intrusion in an attempt to regain
their lost past.
imaginary landscape of our mind is as real as the landscape presented within
the images as they rely on storytelling, on the comprehension of a greater
narrative being told. The work sound tracks the fear and the loss of the people
and land to the intrusions of occupation and later to archaeology.
work Kayilanta, the night snow is a lament for a dying way of life and a
people. The imagery was developed while I was doing an artist-in-residence on a
Russian Icebreaker. This group of
people told their stories in song and drumming and the ancient keen of throat
singing. They gathered along the beachfront, placed themselves at the meeting point,
which is in the sun and out of the chill wind on one side of the washed up freighter-shipping
the songs of their past, stories of bravery and hunting. Of recognising the guardian
with animals and their sacrifice within their ecology. The stories are also of
the government resettlement into small communities to assist in keeping the
north peopled, yet able to be supplied with food, shelter, education and
medicine. All the things that remote communities cut of f by the weather
wore a mix of traditional and modern clothing, taking up the singing and
dancing across generations. Their small community has been ravaged by change.
The mining companies send in workers and equipment for the gas seams that are
now accessible due to the climate warming. Drugs and alcohol come with these
men. The best attempts cannot stop this. Further the warming seasons now mean that polar bears come into
town more frequently seeking an easy meal. People are such slow moving
defenceless creatures under certain circumstances.
of artwork that I made from this experience and continued internet contact with
the Inuit artists I worked with there is a lament to the dying culture and the
shifting weather and the change it brings. The Truth About SnoDomes is an
installation work that explores the sense of loss, and details a place. It tells
the story of being there. The story of the location, of the landscape as
something connected. Not something that deconstruction would put a line around
and segment away.
current work looking at the Crisis Narrative of Landscape does reach to the
stars. The stories of this new intention to build other worlds not just in Vast
Park and Secondlife but also on other planets. My current project also explores
the touch with landscape and the interaction we have with the skin of the
planet. I have begun collaborating with Professor Dias in Tianjin University to
work with a new form of robotic hand designed essentially to clean solar panels
the beginning stories that will tell of a different relationship to landscape.
Perhaps Tolkien’s distant Mountains of the Middle Earth are replaced with the
distant mountains of the Moon told in our new stories of the planet and will
speak the science of geology over biology.
questions and attempts to bring together the various elements to suggest the
narratives of landscape attempts not to simply concentrate on the romantic
vista, or the nomadic periphery but to combine our research within the flux of
our current weather crises. This exploration will source the new narratives as
enclaves within science, film, architecture and sociology. The layers of memory
adopted within the imagery touches on shared belief systems, spatial planning
and geopolitical reconstructions.
meeting place of the earth’s surface is cradled within these images and the often-intimate
exploration of the story. The basic concern is that within past and present
actions can be found a future that revels within the sense of belonging. The
future could be based within a continuing paradigm or shift into greater
understandings of technologies, new and ancient technologies to shift our
potential for creating and investing in a future and visible world.
projected images and context expand the basis that within the narrative of
place, however that can be tapped into, could lay an understanding of the
future plan. This element begins to question and push the science of weather,
land and the movement of peoples as a fission wherein may lie a new approach.
Thus by using art within this space could create through spectatorship a more
contemplative approach to the narrative of landscape and the crisis unfolding
Landscape Journey: Chinese Landscape Painting from the Xubaizhai Collection.
Catalogue notes. (2010/2011). Hong Kong Museum of Art.
Buell, Lawrence. (1995). The
Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of
American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Timothy. (2007.) Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics. Harvard:
James. (2009). Avatar. Los Angelos, 20th Century Fox.Tolkien,
J.R.R. (1969). The Lord of the Rings. London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd. Attenborough,
David. Life Series of DVD (2008). London,
BBC Books is an imprint of Ebury
Publishing, a Random
House Group Company .
Universe. [Internet]. 2011. The History Channel website. Available from:
8 Sep 2011].