Jessica Juno Transforming Terrains

  • Tauira / Student
    Jessica Juno
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Nooroa Tapuni, Susan Hedges

Transforming Terrains aims to share new ways people can understand the sites they encounter by connecting them with the terrain. This project investigates a methodology as a means to translate the narrative of a site’s transformation, through giving presence to the marks embedded within the terrain. The purpose of the developed methodology is to understand how a terrain has been shaped over time due to the influence of the external forces occupying its surfaces. Throughout this research the methodology has been trialed on three sites in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland: Takapuna Beach (coastal), pavers outside my house (domestic), and St Paul Street (urban). The most significant and present forces identified throughout this research have been caused by human intervention and by erosion.

Drawing and casting processes are used predominantly to articulate a narrative of the external forces occupying a site. They have become two methods that work alongside each other, each revealing a different way of reading the site. The process of reading is important because it speaks to the geological process of creating compressed recordings (layers) of time; unpacking these layers we can begin to more deeply understand a site’s compressed transformation.

The provided imagery documents the accumulation of recorded marks through drawings and casting. The drawings are from the site case study of St Paul Street. The castings are a collection that respond to all three case studies. As their processes vary from cast moulds of terrain to sand blasting in order to respond to the unique external force each site is occupied by.

Drawing became a more significant and continuous method to record each moment of transformation which I began to identify as layers that made up the terrain, suggesting a visualization of its timeline. Through drawing, my understanding of site and terrain constantly evolved. The more I drew, the more I could understand what the impacts of occupancy looked like and how this became a part of the terrain’s narrative of transformation which arose as cracks, markings, worn concrete, and re-applications of fresh concrete.

Throughout the project the drawings began to encapsulate spatial experience and the impact external forces have on the shaping of a terrain over time. Understanding the decision-making regarding methodology to retain the sense of time in my drawings is significant and emphasizes the importance and purpose of the project. Each drawing is printed separately onto the same piece of paper, the layers of lines sitting upon each other become apparent. Retaining individual layers but compressing them, conveys a sense of the convergence of time and terrain.

My methodology was significant in the unfolding of my own understanding of occupancy and how I could document traces of external force. My drawings and castings became a performative experience of occupancy in themselves. This inquiry has also further clarified my own development as an occupier and practitioner, causing me to question the ways in which I occupy space in order to speak through line and surface.