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Geoscience Communication An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2020-2
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gc-2020-2
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 05 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Boundary|Time|Surface: Art and geology meet in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

Sydney A. Lancaster1 and John W. F. Waldron2 Sydney A. Lancaster and John W. F. Waldron
  • 1Edmonton, Alberta, T6E1G6, Canada
  • 2Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, T6G2E3, Canada

Abstract. Boundary|Time|Surface was an ephemeral sculptural work created to interrogate the human practice of dividing the Earth for social, political, scientific and aesthetic reasons. The 150-metre-long work comprised a fence of 52 vertical driftwood poles, 2–3 metres tall, positioned along an international boundary stratotype at Green Point, Newfoundland, Canada, separating Ordovician from Cambrian strata.

Geology has as its basis the establishment of limits and boundaries within the Earth. Pioneers of geology defined the periods of the geologic timescale with the intent of representing natural chapters in Earth history; from their colonialist perspective, it was anticipated that these would have global application. Since the mid-20th century, stratigraphers have attempted to resolve the resulting gaps and overlaps by establishing international stratotypes.

Artists creating work in dialogue with the land and environment have taken a wide range of approaches, from major, permanent interventions to extremely ephemeral activities, some of which echo practices in geological fieldwork. Because it was constructed in a national park, Boundary|Time|Surface was designed to have minimal impact on the environment; the installation was constructed by hand from materials found on site in one day, on the falling tide. During the remainder of that tidal cycle, and those following, the fence was dismantled by wave and tidal action. This cycle of construction and destruction was documented in video and with time-lapse still photography.

Exhibitions derived from the documentation of ephemeral works function as translations of the original experience, offering an extended opportunity for members of the public to experience aspects of the original work and its context. Two exhibitions of artwork derived from Boundary|Time|Surface have provided opportunities for several thousand members of the public to interact with a range of visual media directly, both as aesthetic objects, and as sources of information regarding the geological and socio-political history of the site. A limited-edition book published in September 2019, to accompany an exhibition of the work, has extended the reach of the project further.

Sydney A. Lancaster and John W. F. Waldron

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Status: open (until 30 Apr 2020)
Status: open (until 30 Apr 2020)
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Sydney A. Lancaster and John W. F. Waldron

Sydney A. Lancaster and John W. F. Waldron

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Short summary
Boundary|Time|Surface was an ephemeral art installation providing an opportunity to contemplate the human experience relative to the enormity of time, and the fragile and arbitrary nature of human-defined boundaries. Exhibitions derived from the documentation of the original installation provided opportunities for over 25 000 members of the public to interact with the work, both aesthetically, and as a source of information on the geological and socio-political history of the site.
Boundary|Time|Surface was an ephemeral art installation providing an opportunity to contemplate...
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