Article written by Sophie Rose (first published on jugglers.org.au)
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Essay by Gillian Marsden
Fragments of King sees artist Marisa Molin again traipsing the periphery. This time, the shores of the other leader of islands laid out in the Bass Strait like a game of solitaire: King.
Years prior to Marisa’s visit, the debris of a biological phenomena (interestingly, more commonly associated with Flinders Island of the last Fragment series), had swung wide and swept up on the shores of King Island, mirroring the many ships that had gone crooked and drowned against the island throughout the nautical-dependent years of the 19th and early 20th century. This echo of doomed passage continues through nomenclature and mythology for in fact, in both intact and shattered form, the biological phenomena was that of another kind of ship; the discarded shells of the Paper Nautilus or Argonaut nodosa*.
There is something wonderfully paradoxical about the Paper Nautilus. We are predominantly acquainted with their exterior remnants and by the time such remnants drift ashore (somewhat mysteriously every few years and in their thousands), their soft interiors are long rotted out. In our minds, we hold the name, ‘paper nautilus’, and in our hands, exquisite pressed-tin shells of la mer: no wonder we imagine ethereal creatures that glide through the water like elegant ships and yet, the Internet outs the Paper Nautilus as actually, a jaunty, dinghy kind of vessel and the animal itself, as having a vertically flattened face and a feature that can only be described as a proboscis or snout. I think this is a paradox that is emblematic of the dualism of imprinted surfaces: where one side is raised, the other is depressed. Where one side is intended for appearances, the other is utilitarian and circumspect.