Red Dada

Finally finished planting Nico Vassilakis‘ “Red Dada”, which, along with work by Paul Hawkins and Linda Russo, makes up a new round of rout/e pieces. Hawkins’ and Russo’s will be planted later this week, weather permitting.

“Red Dada” was planted in the section of Limerick Forest that is accessible via Craig Road – -across the bog, if you’d like, from Hiromi Suzuki’s “A Swimmer” and Bob Hogg’s “Circles”. It took me a while to figure out where to put Vassilakis’ work–and even as I slipped and crunched along one of the trails, I still hadn’t fully worked it out. It seemed fitting, this sliding kind of placement, a conceptual impermanence and siting occurring even before I’d planted the poem.

There was the lovely, rotting, maple tree covered in cascading fungal symmetry; their circling forms and spatial ephemerality seeming rather fitting. Nah. Farther along, a rather grand placement of really large boulders in threes–along a stone fence way marking previous property lines–seemed like a good place too, mainly because of the seeming intention of their placement, but I noticed the space between them, an obvious space twice the boulder’s width, did more to define the boulders than their shapes themselves. Thought about putting the poem right there, in between the series. Nah. How about the empty post right at bog, farther along and to the south? It would aim west-ish, in its way, cutting across chunks of boggy landmass and open (iced) water to what the eye can’t quite access. Nah. Of course, in another season, such observations might have led me to different options or decisions.

Limerick Forest is a managed forest made up of thirds–a third reforested coniferous plantations: managed swaths of red pine, scotch pine, jack pine, and spruce (1940’s reforestation program post abandoned farmland)–a third wetland, and a third mixed deciduous forest. As a result of the tree species, there’s a lot of squirrels.

Vassilakis’ “Red Dada” has been placed beside a rather immense squirrel midden. Slightly off trail, the midden is part stone–from stone castaways likely formed from foundations and stone fencing–infilled by squirrel chews and scrabbling bits of acorn, pine cone, needles, puffs of stuff. His is the first piece printed in colour in rout/e–in a glorious red with cuts and lines of a’s and d’s, perceptually in jumbled movement, given some depth; these accrued letters are a collection as much as a distraction of concept – and better to trace and leave behind a few than try to eye them all at once.

As it’s winter, the tree cover is minimal except for high up where pine branches host multiple cones for squirrels to drop and chew. There are a few tree species that will grow and leaf out in a few months around Red Dada, affecting how it looks (and one sees) in the space, as well as affecting the piece itself. Weather, too will have an effect on ink and form, as will random acts by walkers, should they see it off trail and venture there. Let’s see if the poem does anything.


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