Double Footed Salt Lake Elk of the Southern Hemisphere from the series Future Unremembered species

Artist:

Cynthia Schwertsik

Year:

Medium:

Single channel video (loop), 01:09 minutes, images Jennifer Hofmann

This video was filmed on Kangaroo Island in what was once a thriving and buzzing wetland. I walked in the eery silence of the dead paperbark woods and imagined the post extinct period unfolding.

In Fulvia Mantelli’s words:
In this arguably paradoxical world, Schwertsik’s approach is abstract and subtle as she deals in the science of absurdity…. Schwertsik perceives that “as a consequence of diminishing diversity, our imagination is depleted”. She visualises an irrational future where humans must mimic the vanished flora and fauna to fill the void left in our ecosystem. In her videowork Double Footed Salt Lake Elk of the Southern Hemisphere the artist performs the role of an imaginary extinct species, stealthily moving through a paperbark forest that is dying from over-salination due to excessive land clearing. Camouflaged in white, with makeshift antlers using the legs of an upturned plastic garden chair over her head, her figure is barely distinguishable as it gently animates the ghost-like woodland. Positioning herself as the landscape, she asks: “when will it be too late to walk a mile in its shoes”?