JULIE GEMUEND, 2015
The Hudson River begins its journey at Newcomb, New York and flows south from there, following a primordial path between Bad Luck and Kettle mountains, deepening its course seaward between the high folded hills. The valley is very linear in geography, tracing the shape of its maker, the 507 kilometer river.
Belonging to the temperate deciduous forest biome, this region is characterized by four well-defined seasons with temperatures varying from -30° C to 30° C. The soil is rich and the canopy moderately dense, allowing enough light to penetrate for diversified flora and fauna. Such species as oak, maple, elm, and willow tree provide an infrastructure for habitats belonging to rabbits, birds, and deer, mountain lion, timber wolf, fox, and black bear. This is an emerald land characterized by hard peaks, deep valleys, woodlands, and farms.
Imprint: Hudson Valley represents one installment in a series of eight videos, each of which investigate the earth’s unique biomes—tundra, coniferous forest, temperate deciduous forest, tropical forest, grassland, thornscrub, chaparral, and desert. Through performance-based video, this work addresses the relationship between two landscapes—one outside the self, the other within. Using the body as a conduit and a canvas, the project considers the intrinsic nature of this dynamic by imprinting the landscape upon human flesh.
This project transpired over the month of May, a mercurial and ephemeral season prone to unpredictable weather. This impassioned springtime month signifies a celebration of life and the frenetic energy from which it is formed. Rapid bursts of color coupled with tempestuous winds express a state in process of constant change. This continual flowing begets a visceral and physical awareness of the body and its relationship to the natural world. As a result, the Hudson Valley is a fertile environment for the body to probe and press with limbs and trunk—visually articulating such themes as place, origin and our innermost human connection with wild spaces. It is with feeling, intuition and energy that this union is formed.