Ephemeral Experiments


En(compass) was an ephemeral site-specific installation created at Thomas Cove, on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia 19 July 2014.

The work consisted of 13 small sculptures, each roughly 18 – 24 inches in diameter, crafted by hand out of willow twigs tied with jute twine. Each sculpture functioned as a compass rose which showed the cardinal points and their intermediate directions.

The compasses were placed in tidal pools on the wave-cut sandstone platform on the shore at Thomas Cove, and allowed to float in those containers until the incoming tide lifted them out of the pools and swept them away.

A short time lapse sequence of the tide’s work on the installation:

This little experiment – although nothing much in and of itself – proved to be extremely fruitful in the long run: it cemented my fascination with the tidal range in the Bay of Fundy. This in turn led to two more residencies and a body of collaborative work, entitled MACROMAREAL: a rising tide lifts all boats.


Fault/Line consists of 204 rocks, each weighing between 5 kg – 36 kg, moved and positioned by hand. I used no tools other than my own body, and had no assistance in moving or placing the rocks. The work was 57.4 metres in length when completed.

This work was created over a single six-hour period on August 31, 2013, on the shore of the Bay of Fundy at Cheverie NS.

Fault/Line is a site-specific ephemeral installation and performance work that explores physical limits and boundaries. This piece is essentially a large-scale drawing that traces a fault that can be followed at low tide from the cliff face onto the beach, and thence out onto the wave-cut platform into the bay. The movement along this fault created a break in the strata when they were buried within the Earth. Erosion has exposed them at the surface and the offset of the strata on either side of the fault can be seen.

Fault/Line thus marks a breaking point, a limit at which various stressors produced dramatic change … it is the inscription of a boundary, crossed. In the creating this work, I was faced with a similar set of limits, stressors, and boundaries:

  1. Time – the tide cycle & available light determined the length of time I was able to work; additionally, the work as it was initially performed would only exist until the tide inundated the shore and exerted its force on the rocks & the beach gravel supporting them
  2. Materials – only rocks in the immediate vicinity  of the site were practical to move and use, as I had no equipment other than my own body and work gloves
  3. Physicality – The rocks needed to be large enough to have physical and visual presence, but not so large that I couldn’t move them by myself

The slideshow below catalogues the work, as it looked when completed on August 31 2013, and again the following afternoon, after the night’s high tide had interacted with it.

UPDATE –  September 28, 2013

I had an opportunity to return to the site of Fault/Line to see what remained:

… you can read my thoughts about what I found here.