2016 Zhen Zhang - ISLE OF ISLAY - NATURE OBSERVATORY
ISLE OF ISLAY - NATURE OBSERVATORY
Remembrance of a Forgotten Treaty between Man and Nature

PROTAGONIST
The protagonist HOMO NOVUS is a future metropolitan, with all symptoms of “blasé” (Simmel, 1903). With the convenience of high-tech, his senses become rusty. Full automation gives him abundant time to “play”, as the Situationists favor. However, to be a ludic Dadaist in the banal urban environment is no longer possible. In order to play at all, he needs to reconnect to his biological roots. He goes on exile for a surrealistic psycho-geographical therapy.

PLACE
Isle of Islay, an oceanic island in Scotland, is dominated by sublime nature. In an age when human life is increasingly artificial, the Scottish island with its long tradition of clans, pagan rituals, and nature worship, can help reestablish broken ties. Travel logs, tales and folklores collected in 18-19th century; along with built structures like Stonehenge manifest an earlier relationship between man and nature.

CONCEPT: DRIFT + STOP
On a one-week voyage to the oceanic island, the protagonist drifts, and stops at designed structures. Like the archetype of Stonehenge and menhir, the structures are primitive and bodily; they give a body for rituals; they highlight the unique astronomical geographical condition of each place: darkness, sun, loch, variety of lives, atmosphere, wave, wind, moon and stars. From ancient sundial, hydraulic organ, wind harp, step well, to contemporary land art, nature observation instruments and structures are explored as references. The structures trace nature’s move and make its presence tangible. Nature is thus apprehensible for man, not in the way of science but as lived experience through bodily work and sharpened sensual interaction.

NARRATIVE
The core of a voyage is being on the move. In the form of writing inscribed in space, the documentation is not a representation, but the voyage itself.

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