Thought I’d found a way to reconcile an impossible choice between a solitary life spent posing problems for art and power (antisocial) and a concrete intimacy full of hope and commitment (communal). I started with a word on the wall, moved on to sentences, then images. I was thinking about modes of public address and the kinds of audiences brought into being through speech. I was reading for the hundredth time, Michael Warner’s notion that “a public exists by virtue of being addressed.” I started falling down, then recorded myself rolling down the earth-ramp outside in one take. I composed a site-specific pamphlet and distributed it to my fellow residents.
Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson travelled from place to place, building site-specific earthworks. In 1973 Smithson was my age when he died in a plane crash while surveying the site for Amarillo Ramp. For a long time I’ve been in serious doubt about the public role of art, the politics of politics. Never considered myself a fan of land art (just a participant in a land-dominating nation-state); but on my way to Finland He’d asked me about Smithson and I surprised myself by defending the work: “Isn’t it extreme? The state of a person who puts themself in a room with salt and mirrors!? How to exist alongside all this material, and this perception...” Going public means building a structure through which others enter, either by force, or...going public means building a Partially Buried Woodshed.
– November 2019, Haukijärvi, Finland