The visual methodology has divided material into two distinct themes:
RESIDUES: these focused on the textures and sedimentary surfaces of the site, produced from centuries of copper and sulphur, mining and extraction processes. This prompted a methodology of working directly with the pigmented surfaces of the quarry as seen, for example, in the Transformations film and photographic works. The ‘painterly’ and ’patination’ process of digital compositing, in other words, layering multiple images and sonic textures, also made reference both to this chemical and painterly history of the quarry, and to the archaeological and geological principles informing it and the mining extraction process itself: processes of sedimentation, erosion and mapping of the terrain.
This process of transformation – of changing one element into another – evokes the ancient science of alchemy, namely the desire to turn base material into gold in a meeting of opposites – a coincidentia oppositorum (Eliade, 1963). The alchemical coincidentia is a method of searching for a state of ‘non-duality’ between elements as proposed by land artist Robert Smithson and also by current ecological thinking, where the human and non-human are part of one ecology. Alchemy foregrounds three phases - Nigredo, Albedo and Rubedo - which we noticed correspond uncannily to the primary chemical waste colours in the quarry itself: black, white and red. These three colours therefore became a methodology for categorizing and cataloguing our documentation of the site.
Alchemy is also understood as a methodology for transposing the documentary material from individual and isolated components into a rich conjunctio, creating something new.
REMAINS: (detritus and ruins from history, archaeology and civilization). Rotie: I use my body as a visual tool to act as both a repository for encoded histories and a means to rewrite history and archaeology. In embodied and visual ways I present the scarring and ruination of the earth in the past, in order to raise ecological consciousness for the future.
Significantly, I depart from the legacy of Butoh in my use of visual and
performance art languages, in order to create a choreographic dramaturgy.
Repetition, duration and simple ‘acts’ that play with the materials of the site, become meshed with my own physical interiority and embodiment. These are evidenced in video recordings.
I apply the philosophy and methodology of Butoh’s founder, Hijikata, to create my own visual documentation languages, subjecting visual images and the body to methodologies of fragmentation, archiving and layering, in order to create composite images. I name this process ‘Archaeo-Body’. The digital compositing and collage of the performed body and the material substance of the quarry evoke death and haunting. The body is presented as both captured by, and elusive of, the digital composite – hovering between presence and absence. Decay, entropy, fragments and remains are thus approached both physically through the performance and visually via the documentation: firstly, in my physical attempt as a performer to become ‘nothing’ in the quarry, merging and disappearing into the earth; and secondly, in the degradation of the film and photographic image: we have literally excavated the celluloid, distressing the surfaces to expose the workings of entropy on both the body and on the environment.
Finally, my search for an urgent return to ecological thinking is addressed by physically embedding and encasing the performing body horizontally within the materiality of the scarified site, appearing as it does as an open wound on the landscape and acting as a means to prompt larger reflections on our fractured relationship to the earth.