Day Ten – Filling in


Work again intervened and this is the first chance I have had to post this entry in the blog.  This is me on the last day at Hill End, filling in.  It was perhaps the hardest day of work, because I had to finish by the end of the day.  It was my only 12 hour day.  It was also a little easier because there was no work with the crow bar, no climbing in and out, no pulling buckets of dirt up.  It was just me shovelling dirt into the hole.


I tried to put the dirt back in the order that it came out.  This was mostly because I want to be able to restore the lawn to its pre-hole condition and I thought ending up with a lot of clay on the top would make this difficult.  Again ignorance.  Of course my efforts to separate the various layers of dirt were relatively futile and in the end it was a pretty confused endeavour.  Still, it gave me something to structure the work on.  What did become evident very early on was that I would have a lot more dirt to put into the hole than what I took out of it.  This left me with a rather large mound of excess clay and topsoil that wouldn’t fit back into the hole that it came out of,  because it was no longer compacted after being broken up and removed.


This picture doesn’t show very well the height of the mound around the hole but it is a considerable excess.  While I don’t consider myself an “environmental” artist as such, my concern for the environment and those values I hold in relationship to it make it imperative that I restore it to a condition comparable to that in which I found it.  Unlike certain resources extraction companies, this phase of the work is not done as a generally resisted obligation to be met with the minimum conditions of responsibility.  It is done with all the creative motivation that I could bring to any work, and upon successful completion brings the sense of gratification that I pursue in the making of any object of beauty or verisimilitude.  I am going to have to wait for this soil to settle first, then I will fill it in with the preserved topsoil and after that I will reseed the lawn.  I can’t wait to see this site looking as though I had never been here.

Before I go, I discovered that my little project had been picked up by a gold mining forum and it generated quite a discussion.  It gives the project yet another dimension:


Day 9 Hits bottom


So the digging has stopped.  The hole will go no further down.  The work is done.  I know, Im as surprised as anyone.  As any artist will tell you, its not the making of a work that is difficult, but knowing when it is finished.  As is common with works that belong to the traditions that this hole belongs to, it is usual to seek some external index or parameter that will determine the length or breadth or depth of what you are doing.  This parameter usually involves maths or numbers or formulae, and originally I was thinking I would peg the depth of the hole to the 8 hour work day, the 5 day work week which would bind the work to considerations of labor and the regimentation of time.  But because paid work intervened and I spent nearly half of my residency in Sydney doing actual work for actual money, this index was impossible.  I was thinking of just finishing the work on the 30th when the residency finished, which was pretty desperate and arbitrary really.  On Sunday the 25th, I climbed into the hole thinking I would dig for my usual five hours morning shift before emerging to the luncheon we were having to celebrate the work.  The personal issues I have mentioned earlier, had on that morning condensed into a particularly painful mood that made the work far more difficult than the resistance of the earth.   The joy,  optimism, and good humor that had motivated this project was gone.  It was finished.   This then became the measure of my making, giving me the external parameter that could determine the limit of the work.

1471140_553542521387488_2118411246_n hole-for-hill-end-day-9I want to  thank all of my friends who travelled out from Sydney, Dubbo, Kandos and Hill End to see the work.  It was a great luncheon and I enjoyed it immensely.   I was happy that you were able to experience the hole in all of its being there.  Tomorrow I will fill the hole in and clean up Haeflinger’s cottage and go home.  I will probably make a post about that too.