Between a rock and a hard place


Between A Rock And A Hard Place is a project consisting of a cleaning performance, a film and an event on August 18, 2012. From the material recorded on this day, a film and a vinyl record is made.
In June 2011, Bik Van der Pol cleaned a sample of black rock located in the centre of Sudbury for the duration of four days, during a performative action. The black rocks are a crucial element to the city's environment. The history of Sudbury as a mining city has not only had an impact on the layout of the city and the everyday life of its citizens. It has also had and continues to have an impact on the environment, visible in the pitted, charred and eroded black surfaces throughout Sudbury. This is a place where the circle of earth and unearthing is very much present, and experiencing the embodiment of this process is intense; what comes out of the earths body directly affects this same body as well.
Well aware that cleaning this small area does not solve the dilemma of global usage of the earth, the act of cleaning this rock emphasizes a certain responsibility to exchange one labour for another, and its potential power lies in the meditative nature of repetitive labour. Citizens of Sudbury were invited to pass by and contribute to the process. A range of people was also invited to think aloud on the possible meanings of cleaning in the context of language,


Between a rock and a hard place

religion, tradition, feminism, and ecology. From this event, and based on this collective endeavour during these four days, the short film Between A Rock And A Hard Place was made.
Continuing the research on the black rock and their relation with the large and widespread community of Sudbury, this culminates in a series of rock concerts, in close collaboration with the extremely rich music scene of Sudbury. Eleven local bands and musicians of all musical styles each perform on eleven specific locations, which inevitably involves rocks as a backdrop. This takes place on August 18, 2012, and a bus takes the public on this one single day, travelling from location to location. The recorded material becomes a video-film. This day of action thus creates a string of connected locations throughout the wider area of Sudbury, as a way of mapping the area through its physical manifestation: rock.
Focusing on the rock as landmark for experience, this project is not just site-specific. Rather, it makes each chosen site specific through a process of mapping by way of note-taking and note-making that literally maps-out the area.

Though mapping usually refers to cartography as a way acquire data from a terrain, here the concept of mapping is loosely applied as a conceptual metaphor, creating an inference from one conceptual domain (the territory) to another (creative practice).
"Early in an introductory geology course, one begins to understand that rocks are not nouns but verbs— visible evidence of. processes: a volcanic eruption, the accretion of a coral reef, the growth of a mountain belt. Everywhere one looks, rocks bear witness to events that unfolded over long stretches of time". (Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World, by Marcia Bjornerud, pp. 8)
The project Between A Rock And A Hard Place is a collaboration with producer Mathieu Grainger, designers collective Bureau and evaluator Jamie Gamble, who are all part of the project and play a significant role in the film. Producer is Musagetes Foundation, an international organization that seeks to transform contemporary life by working with artists and other partners to develop new approaches to building community and culture. Musagetes has been working in Sudbury since 2010.

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Between a Rock and a hard Place (publication, pdf)

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2-track album, free download


Recording of concert released on vinyl


Between a Rock and a Hard Place


Between a rock and a hard place