Retezat/Armour is part of an ongoing investigation revolving around exchange and subjective personal mappings of environments.
Below is a brief selection of photographs taken on a trip to the Retezat National Park in Hunedoara county, Romania. The National Park is one of the last few pockets of nature and wildlife that hasn't been affected by unregulated deforestation and resort expansion, with the people living there working hard to protect and preserve the surrounding area.
The trip raised discussions about the permanence of memory and the sense of security offered by artificially constructed space, in spite of the fact that everything that is man-made requires maintenance and rarely has an organic morphology or evolution. On a personal level, it examined the emotional framework we set up around our birthplaces and our homes.
Ideas of home are often loaded concepts, referencing a place imbued with mysterious longings and familiar traditions, but usually seen as a stationary location. In our affective memory, especially when based somewhere else, home is characterised by consistency (unlike a house at sea, the locality of which is more relative). The nervousness one feels about their place of origin can be at once personal, social and political; defining individual identities and also impacting on ever-growing scales of shared identity. The doors that open to connect can also isolate. The difference between private and public has come to rely on the movement of said doors, and it is a growing concern that more and more of them are just half open - restricting access and creating the possibility of constant surveillance.
Armour is the result of a collaboration that has had a very long gestation period. The vocal performance is from a loose translation of Ezra Pound’s poem ‘Commission,’ which negotiates our relationship to family, place and history. It addresses the emotional and mental baggage that comes with geographic distance and the increasingly transient spheres in which we find ourselves operating. For Pound, ‘Commission’ functions as the title suggests, both as instruction and permission to the reader to follow the impulses which may seem counter intuitive or find resistance in the opinions of others.
The other side of this is the need to protect oneself from the inevitable difficulties which arise from being perpetually in motion; the necessity of honing some sort of defensive posture while still remaining open to the possibilities you encounter.