AboutLooking at something, without knowing what, allows us to ponder the limits of our own perception. Like the beguiling Rorschach blot such an experience can tell us much about the ways in which we make sense.
Thus the sensation of watching an awkward, yet mysterious creature make its hesitant way across rocky terrain is oddly pleasurable. Its ungainly movements amuse but primarily it is our limbo status as viewers that excites.
We become aware of the brain's mechanisms as we attempt to decipher what we are seeing. Such mental activity not only promises enlightenment about our personal preoccupations and desires but also the delightful novelty of being temporarily lost in our vision.
When the penny drops the world slides into recognisable, if slightly bizarre, order. But, it seems to me, the important thing about Trish Scott's Stone Shoes is that subsequent viewings only serve to strengthen our interest. Although the piece initially appears to hinge on revelation, the work does not diminish with repeated viewings.
It is true that, as we continue to view, the memory of our ambivalent reading and curious struggle for interpretation remain actively present. But by watching again we also become aware of a shift in the work's power for it allows us to turn our attention to other things that are perhaps less obvious.
For example there is the insistent bird song, whose harsh, intermittent throb heightens the frustrations of the task. Or we may choose to focus on the inequalities of the selected stones that appear to wilfully demonstrate the randomness of the operation. Or there is an opportunity for a more sensual projection to take place as we imagine the feel and fit of foot and stone, or the heat emanating from such strong sun light.
And, at last, we confront the utter absurdity of the undertaking and the vast, unravelling implications of what it means to be able or unable to walk.
Rebecca Fortnum 2010