Thursday, October 23, 2014

the longest walk

Whilst researching horses for the In Dreams installation I got to indulge in something I don’t usually have time to do: I spent hours on YouTube. I allowed myself to look into people-horse culture on the web, and catch up with some important stories, like a 2012 documentary (1) on the release back into the wild of endangered Przewalski’s Horse (2).


The Longest Walk, a constant search for food and water. Chased aluminium panel in alder frame. 2014.

The small herd has a huge battle ahead, not least as they meet up with the domesticated horses of nomadic herdsmen, competing for the same grazing territory, and are forced away from the support of food and water at the release station. The Longest Walk is about migration: the constant search for resources, and space for life in the herd.

As some commenters noted, watching this documentary was like looking at real-life cave paintings… Images of Przewalski-type horses are part of the 17,000+ year old cave paintings at Lascaux (3), and oldest yet discovered images—the 32,000 year old paintings in Chauvet Cave (4)—in mainland Europe, in France. In modern times, the Przewalski’s horse is considered indigenous only to the Asian Steppe; intriguingly, fossil remains in France show that animals depicted in the caves also lived in the region at around the same time.

I designed and grouped the initial pieces that make up the In Dreams installation based on four key themes: Move (equine paces); Challenge (their fight and flight responses); Flight (jumping); and Family - their relationships within the herd. More to come on all of these.

(1) Pure Nature Specials: Wild Horses Return To China, http://youtu.be/Cg2tVKvKp1A
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Przewalski%27s_horse
(3) Stunning web-site, a visit to the Lascaux Caves, in French: http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/?lng=en#/fr/00.xml, English:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaux
(4) “Cave Of Forgotten Dreams”, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1664894/ or http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/cave_of_forgotten_dreams/

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