S.L.A.P. AiR
A Martha’s Vineyard residency program for site-specific art.

Photo Credit: Snezana Petrovic

If, it
Johannes Michler
stone, 45m + 15m section of land

"My basic idea," Michler explains, "developed over several days of walking the grounds. "A system of pathways - obviously conceived for aesthetic aims - overlays the whole area to create winding paths, leading from a garden zone to a park-like setting along the ponds and through the forest. The paths surround and cross jungle-like areas of dead and fallen trees and dense undergrowth. Partly hidden in the forest or just visible as a difference in vegetation are remains and traces of former uses and structures that reveal numerous layers of organization for different needs in different times. "My piece is based on the idea to add a new layer, or path - one that would offer a different approach to some of the area's aspects and qualities. In general the piece is about organizing space; but it is also about how physical experiences can open up poetic possibilities. "The project was to cut an opening through the undergrowth of one of the area's less cultivated spaces - a path that would be different from those in use up to now. It is absolutely straight, positioned exactly in a north/south direction. It is a closed system crossing one of the existing paths. At the crossing, the new path appears more or less usual. When walking on it, though, its closed character becomes obvious at once. At each point in the new path, a flat almost rectangular stone offers a place, close to a small piece of architecture (in the form of a step-like stone). To stay just to take a break, or to sit down and listen, look, sense. Over time, the plants at the sides of the path will receive more light and become denser. Then the appearance of the path as a very long stretched room will affect the visitor even more than today. "Though the concept is very simple and the materials and methods are of the site, the piece offers a wide range of experiences and contains numerous possibilities for more intellectual interpretations. In reference to the crossing-point, for example, the length of the path can be divided into different interval systems connected to different ideas. Similarly, the sun at noon relates the piece to ancient practices; and a precise line in a landscape resonates in countless ways, depending on one's perspective, from the field of art, craft, history and/or philosophy. Nevertheless these things are not the most important for me. To walk on the path, to be in the piece, to feel attracted or in distress and all kinds of small personal sensations add to the so-called atmosphere or, maybe, something like a sound you keep in mind."