Amanda Thackray is a current Scholar for Advanced Study in Book Arts here at the Center for Book Arts.
I have been invited to participate in the Arctic Circle Residency in June of 2013. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to join a small group of artists and scientists on this voyage sailing around the Arctic Circle on a Barkantine tallship. We will be in residence on the boat for just over two weeks, working on individual projects and collaborating on spontaneous project on board the ship and on land.
While in residence, I intend to continue and expand my work which represent a conversation with and within the body, played out through external structures and processes – such as rope fibers mimicking and striving to entertain the capacity of living bodily muscle. This work is about an internal symbiosis, and visually and conceptually references cellular structure and movement through ambiguous forms of growth and decay. On this trip I will translate my interest in the material of the body to studying the body of the tall ship on which the trip departs by focusing on studying the rigging of the ship and drawing the different juxtapositions of knots. This coarse, much stronger and thicker nautical rope, knotted in complex and beautiful ways, holding strong against the harshness and shifting landscape of the arctic and becomes a beautiful metaphor for me. It parallels my search for beauty in decorative knots, ones that I have always known and can’t remember having learned. Braiding and macrame and decorative knotting once used for friendship bracelets, weaver’s knots and square knots, and my own made-up knots all have this certain twisting and twining that feels like it belongs inside my body and is the kind of structure that makes me strong. This associative memory is the kind of connection that often prevails in my practice.
By focusing on the knots of the ship, I aim to portray in my muscle drawings a different kind of body. In preparation I have been making my own rope from japanese papers, a material that I have a personal connection with. I will learn to tie knots with traditional rope and my own paper rope, which will form the foundation of my still-lifes for drawing. Creating nautically knotted sculptures as reference and as installations within the boat, my knots will figuratively build off of the functional roped musculature already in place, and will exist as a secondary, fuller muscle body beneath the skin of the ship. In addition to the body, I would like to explore how it reacts to its space — the complexity of the body in relation to a harsh, complex and intense space such as the Arctic.
My fundraising goal will cover the cost of the trip and help pay for airfare to and from Longyearbyen, Norway. If my trip were overfunded, I would use the excess to assist my preparations for living in an Arctic climate for two weeks. In order to be comfortable at sea in an Arctic environment, I am required to purchase specialized cold-weather gear. Any extra funds raised could also be directly applied to other aspects of trip preparations, such as mailing supplies and artwork to and from Longyearbyen. Your thoughtful contributions to this project will help to further my research, and allow me explore the Arctic through the rare vantage-point of collaborative artistic experimentation. Funding this project will allow me to bring my experiences back to share through exhibitions and artists talks. Thank you!
Please see The Arctic Circle Residency website for more information:
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