“we are the salt
seas who uphold these lands.”*
Landscape of my desire explores a liminal landscape and union that lies between lived experience and inner emotional journeying. It is as much about the emoting of desire as it is about creating place through accumulations of ephemera and salt.
The emotional landscape in the work relies on the metaphor of a tear as a physical manifestation of emotion. If the salinity of the body—and thereby the make-up of tears—is akin to that of an ocean, metaphorically the body is part emotional sea. Tears are fleeting phenomena and tears are the opportunity to witness emotions manifested as tiny, salty droplets. When the tears have fallen, they collect into a sea that dries up and the salt from the fallen tears crystallize, leaving evidence of the emotion that spilled forth in a process called efflorescence. The accumulated efflorescence then becomes both the map and the landscape.
The metaphor of the salt crystal as a physical manifestation of emotion was a potent subject in my work long before I had access to the Great Salt Lake. The longing to express emotion through metaphorical tears originated while living in the land-locked Midwest (where I had lived my entire life) and has travelled with me to Utah. Access to the Great Salt Lake has bestowed the opportunity to ponder the relationship of the physical land to the emotional landscape, the emotional sea to the physical one. A testament to my own ability to emote and transform my inner experiences of desire and longing to love and be loved, Landscape of my desire only begins to evoke the ties between the land, body, and Self.
Erin D. Coleman-Cruz
*Atwood, Margaret. The Circle Game. Toronto: Anansi, 1998, 81.