Rabbit Island

Commission / funded project (residency and exhibition). 2016-17
Rabbit Island Foundation | DeVos Art Museum

LUCE CHOULES In Land, An Island

In Land, An Island – a fieldwork

In Land, An Island was a fully funded, solitary one-month environmental arts residency on a remote island in Lake Superior, USA – a 91-acre ‘unsettled and undivided space’. The residency was used to develop new geographic methodologies and artistic taxonomies to explore ideas of displacement.

Walking and swimming residency staying alone on a remote island / group exhibition with publication / gallery and public programmes / environmental land-use programme / working with museum volunteers

Walter van Broekhuizen (July)
Luce Choules (August)
Jack Forinash (September)
Kelly Gregory (September)
Mary Rothlisberger (September)
Frank Daniel Rzicznek – poet (June)

Project partners:
Andrew Ranville, Director and co-founder of Rabbit Island Foundation, Lake Superior, Michigan, USA | Rob Gorski, Co-founder of Rabbit Island Foundation, Lake Superior, Michigan, USA | Melissa Matuscak Alan, Museum Director and Curator, DeVos Art Museum, Northern Michigan University, USA | Emily Lanctot, Curator of Collections and Outreach, DeVos Art Museum, Northern Michigan University, USA.

Environmental Art, Curated Landscapes, Cultural Tourism, Physical/Human Geography, Ecology, Survey, Fieldwork.

RI project partner logo     DAM project partner logo     AW NEFTA project partner logos

Link to Rabbit Island info
Link to Rabbit Island announcement: 2016 residency


Group show Rabbit Island 2016 Residency Exhibition | 25.09.17 – 12.11.17
Luce Choules, collective Jack Forinash, Kelly Gregory, and Mary Rothlisberger, F. Daniel Rzicznek, and Walter van Broekhuizen.
DeVos Art Museum, North Michigan University (NMU), Michigan, USA.

Group show A Sense of Place (Rabbit Island collection) | 02.09.18 – 19.10.18
Julieta Aguinaco, Beau Carey, Luce Choules, Sarah Demoen, Jack Forinash, Kelly Gregory, Helen Lovelee, Miles Mattison, Josefina Muñoz, Andrew Ranville, Isabella Rose Martin, Walter van Broekhuizen, and Mary Welcome.
Finlandia University Gallery, Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, Michigan, USA.


Installation (76 photographic objects, projected still-image film, blanket with found objects, Jacobsville Sandstone). 2017

Littoral States / Interior States / Superior States / Relative States is an exhibition produced following a residency on Rabbit Island, USA. The installation was made up of multifaceted dynamic parts – some fixed, others mobile. Elements included: groups of image objects changed daily by museum staff, a series of looped images structured as a musical score, a display of ephemeral natural debris held in a static archive, and a block of sandstone temporarily removed from the island. The installation acted as a guide to the changing structures and rhythms of a remote landform in a permanent state of flux.

Image shows exhibition at DeVos Art Museum, 2017

Image shows exhibition at Finlandia University Gallery, 2018

Natural Archive (moss, lichen, pine needles, leaves, buds, seeds, twigs, bark, insect skin, feather). 2016

The Collector has been developed as a method to gather material from the field. In making physical contact with the ground, the blanket selects natural debris. The loose debris that becomes attached to the underside of the blanket is carefully separated and catagorised to make an arbitrary archive. The work explores collecting as a material gesture.

Residency (large photographic survey, writing, ephemeral sculptures, short films, dedicated swims, collection of natural objects). 2016

In Land, An Island was a fully funded, solitary one-month environmental arts residency on a remote island in Lake Superior, USA – a 91-acre ‘unsettled and undivided space’. The residency was used to develop new geographic methodologies and artistic taxonomies to explore ideas of displacement.

Writing from the residency:

Traces that last only as long as the earth will hold them

It is not I, or others, who make the pathway – it is the composition of the earth and its matter responding to my journey, and those who went before and follow after. Leaves are crushed, moss squashed and twigs broken – all signs of passage – without the qualities of these materials that yield under my weight I would go unnoticed. I find the path of least resistance in the water, a body like mine, supporting my actions as I reach around the island with the swell, carried with the snakes and fish and circling eagle. I notice I have travelled by arriving somewhere else – to go back is to go forward again.

It is the environment that records my actions – both in a pathway and rise in water temperature – my impact causes materials already present to change. In a million years, we won’t be here to notice the natural order thrive in our absence. I am optimistic for another earth, an earth that recreates a balanced ecology – a life system with no name, no reference, and a process that does not recognise knowledge. It is the correspondence between things that will endure.

Swimming against the tide in Lake Superior, I’m thinking – as I cross by foot to the other side of the island – where is the wilderness I proposed to explore? I return to camp to watch the mainland four miles away. At the water’s edge I follow the rock underfoot, underwater, surfacing again to sandstone; and the water disappears to reveal the bedrock of the lake and leaves me standing on the flattened summit of a small peak. The real wilderness lies below the surface of the water, deep under the skin of the lake inside me – where my concern is shared with every breathing body.

Link to PDF of A4 printed version (shown above).

Performance / Live Event (projected photographic imagery, poetic script, books, natural objects). 2017

The Lake and the Island is part of a body of work made on Rabbit Island in Lake Superior, during a solitary month-long environmental arts residency in 2016. This live performance uses a format of projected imagery, spoken word and literary readings to take an audience on a poetic journey to the interior facets and littoral features of a remote island in America. Through a series of embodied fieldworks and immersive surveys of the forested rocky outcrop, this work explores microcosms, remoteness and the scales of wilderness.

Image shows event poster.

Luce Choules press release photograph
Image credit: Andrew Ranville