Occupation 2 2012

Emma Wise Occupation 2 (detail, float line 5) 2012 Emma Wise Occupation 2 (detail, float line 4) 2012

The Occupation series examines ideas of territory and ownership, barriers and borders. This work won two Highly Commendeds at Sculpture in the Vineyards. Despite (or because of) what they signify, I am drawn to the lines we make in water – dark circles of float-suspended nets, grids of wind turbines, spindly piles, driven to the seabed in lines, mapping the shallows. We fight over water. We fight over land. We claim our territory. We occupy.
Here at Wollombi the stream was quietly stitched up with five float lines tethered to the banks above and below a weir. As a visitor said when he came across the work, ‘that’d be illegal where I come from’, meaning setting a net right across a stream.
I made the lines using floats I found on a beach in Japan, and tied them into a line following methods found on the floats. Around Japan the sea fights back with typhoons and many floats and ropes and nets are washed up on the beaches. When I made this work a super trawler was on its way to Tasmania. It had the capacity to store the entire yearly quota of a local fishery.