The Clearing About


In a darkened gallery room, a shaft of light, like an open door, projects around the walls. The light is a video of trees at the edge of a clearing. The projection slowly moves around the walls of the room. It is as if you are in the middle of the clearing but you are only able to view your surroundings through this one moving shaft of light, never able to see the whole clearing at once. In the installation, the viewer is symbolically relocated to a clearing in the forest. The complete scene of the environment is never fully exposed at once, but rather has to be realized and constructed in the memory of the viewer. This speaks directly to how we personally and culturally construct a sense of place in relation to the natural environment. The Clearing relies on the viewerÂ’s imagination to complete the panorama and, in doing so, engages them as an active participant in the mental construction of place. This explicit construction of place and the active participation of the viewer engenders a feeling of responsibility and concern for our natural environment. This sense of responsibility is, of course, magnified by the fact that when the viewerÂ’s body interrupts the projection, the video momentarily changes to a sequence of a clear cut.