For the 2011 Site Specific group show at Plettenburg bay, artists were invited to intervene in the landscape using found and natural materials. I brought laser-cut steel words with me, with the intention of attaching them to trees on site, possibly along the Milkwood Trail.
I had used these words previously in two sculptures: The one explored the parameters and laws of society, through the use of words and phrases that refer to, for example, the Human Rights charter, the UN standards of good governance and ancient Egyptian wisdom texts. The other explored the parameters of the individual, through the use of words that represent the Four Noble Truths and the Five Aggregates of Buddhist philosophy, as well as the spectrum of human emotions, which are structured into four categories.
For my solo exhibition Atlantis (Cape Town, 1998), I referred to the beach as a metaphorical synapse between land and water and now, on arriving in Plettenberg Bay, I felt that the beach was the right context and the available driftwood a suitable vehicle to carry the words for my site-specific intervention. I found two large pieces or logs of driftwood directly on the beach that I wanted to use. The one had a strong architectural quality, like a Corinthian column, which I used with the words that refer to “society”. The other was very organic and gnarled, which I paired with the words that refer to the “individual”.
In the context of the beach and shoreline, these works evoke ideas of arrival, imposition, loss and redundancy but they also evoke a sense of growth and transformation, like barnacles on a foreign object.