However individualistic we may be, we all work with the notion of circles in our lives: family circle, group of colleagues, circle of friends, as well as the larger notions of intersecting societies and human constructs.
Within is a circle of coarse salt, unifying the gallery space, forming connections and making a pun on the notion of those inside ‘The Magic Circle,’ a cypher for those who have hidden knowledge of the mechanics of a game.
There is a play on the notion of art’s untouchable status, with viewers being challenged as to whether they dare enter the circle, touch the salt or engage with the piece in any way.
The state of impermanence was another challenge and I considered using rice or lentils, as I’d seen in religious ceremonies in India, but salt has a history of use in ritual purification and references the other uses for magic circles in Alchemy and Mystic Practices.
During the course of our time in the gallery, some of us were compelled to stay within the circle, at times just for a moment, at others with candles lit around the outside. Inside the circle we could sit and think. It provided safety and refuge in the large, often dark gallery. Ideas flowed more freely in our little round world.
Later, we devised performance pieces within the circle, dancing in its environs, masked and entranced by music. We used the circle as a stage for part of our LARP, telling each other stories and lies as we explored the depths of our characters. We set a makeshift nature shrine in the middle, of leaves and plants and wood.
Each day, someone changed the pattern of salt, creating salt paintings. Sometimes I changed it ,myself, sometimes a member of the public or the gallery swirled new shapes on the floor overnight.
A circle is a great place to be, to think and dream.