Exploring Land Art: A Walk from Natures Valley to Keurbooms Beach, August 2013

This guided ecological and creative land art experience over two days along the coastline from Natures Valley to Keurbooms in the Garden Route South Africa, was envisioned and guided by conservationist Galeo Saintz and land artist Simon Max Bannister.

As part of the Site_Specific Land Art Bienalle, this walking experience aimed to inspire, motivate and cultivate a direct interaction with land art on the move. A few days ago 13 of us walked onto Natures Valley beach with dark swirling clouds over Formosa peak and mist rising from the Tsitsikamma forest.

Low tide had revealed a multitude of rock pools and the waves were moving gently through a variety of grays and blues. We began the experience by moving as group along the shoreline to the Salt River mouth. Through demonstration and interaction we invited participants to create with found materials, various themes on the "lifeblood of nature" as points of departure for their works. Some creations were individually realized and other larger pieces we worked together. Throughout the variety of coves, beaches and cliff tops we found stones and driftwood to work with, while in the coastal forest, branches leaves and bark became our paints and and the forest floor our canvas. We treaded gently, tracking the patterns and connections in nature, listening to the sounds of growth and decay. The experience was an immersion into the landscape, enhancing the senses, taking us deeper into the ecological diversity of the surrounds and brilliant forms of creation.

Poetry as a language of nature, was shared to bring awareness to topics explored while walking:

Everything is Walking
by Galeo Saintz
Everything is walking. The glaciers leave tracks in their wake with great valleys, the trees
walk over generations across the land, their spoor a forest of deep diversity. The mussels on
the sea rocks walk between tides and circle the moon. The sand on the dunes walks with the
wind collecting at a crest then rolling into the air and flying into the ocean to wander on
beneath the sea. To wash up one day again on another continent. And how did you get here?
Like I said everything is walking.

Using only our hands as tools and what we sensitively gathered from the ground, we practiced a very pure form of land art that really applies limitation and lateral thinking. It leaves a delicate trace of our human understanding in the wilderness, where it can decay, grow, move and transform.

Lifeblood of Nature
compilation by Simon Max Bannister and Galeo Saintz through a collection of quotes by Andy
Goldsworthy edited to form a poem.

Movement, light, change, growth, decay: this is the lifeblood of nature.
Here is where you can learn
here, each moment and material holds something to be discovered,
use the path of least resistance,
remember, perception is limitation,
fixed ideas prevent clarity
and form is void.
The work is the place, rooted.
get under the surface
work with love, knowledge and urge.

As a team we will continue to envision these walks into different wilderness areas of South Africa.  If you would like to walk with us as we explore the interactive capacity land art has to increase our understanding of nature, ecology and the creative spirit, then please get in contact with us.

Simon and Galeo