Four Seasons

A videotape from 1982 by Arthur Wicks


A Videotape

(Originally shot on super 8 transferred to U-Matic video by Rank Cintel; 20 minutes; colour; PAL & NTSC)

This videotape is a diary of a block of land taken from one vantage point.

Movement is restricted mostly to zooming and pan­ning. The camera resembles a surveilling eye – focusing on specific objects and events, rolling from side to side picking up changes and movement in the peripheral vision.

The film was made using time-lapse with the time interval varying from one frame per second to one frame per hour. Small sections were shot at the “normal” speed of 24 frames/second. The video beg­ins at mid-summer; shadows and clouds roll by rel­entlessly. The passage of each day can take from One second to several minutes, with night as well as day being included in the imagery.

Editing was restricted to maintaining a general chronological flow of time.

There are several incidents and accidents that are incorporated into the tape. Early in the work for example, workmen can be seen repairing the road between the block of land and the apartments bey­ond. A little later it was necessary to use a replacement camera. In this camera, as the batt­eries lost power, instead of opening and closing at each pulse, the shutter opened at one pulse and closed at the next. ‘Street lights flare and hall-ate into the lens.

The audio track was carefully dubbed over the final video image using natural insect and bird sounds; cicadas and gaIahs for the warmer months end currawongs for the bleaker winter. Some of these sounds were transformed using a synthesiser. The natural and synthesised alternate without warning and are tightly woven into the electronic image.

The seasons proceed predictably but the final images of the following summer are barely a rem­inder of the previous one.

Arthur Wicks January 1982
P 60 from Berliner Notizen, published Kunsterhaus Bethanien, Berlin 1983

Earth Canvas Exhibition piece

Wagga Wagga based artist Arthur Wicks produced an art piece for the Earth Canvas Exhibition at the Museum of the Riverina during 2021. He collaborated with Big Springs Regenerative farmers Brad and Katie Collins at Ayrshire Park.

He says

The Process my response is to explore the cyclic nature of growth and its relationship to regeneration in particular. As a result I chose to produce an object with materials that Brad and Katie Collins would find familiar. It mirrored – became a simulacrum – for their farm but on a tiny scale. This scale would flicker between an aerial view of the landscape and a small garden plot. I sowed seeds that they used on their farm; allowed them to germinate and then to wither.

The Conditions and the weather; any farmer knows its effects! In this case unusual cold meant that the seeds sown on the surface of the object took much longer to germinate and to develop.

The seeds sown on the surface were targeted by birds; it was like a smorgasbord laid out for them! Farmers are familiar with the problems that hungry animals and birds can create.

The Project reinforced my understanding of the cyclic and regenerative nature of growth, maturation and harvesting. My gardening practice already reflects this.

I hope people take away and observe how cyclic events impinge on our everyday life and can in addition be influenced by the unexpected.