Topography is derived from the Greek language as writing of place. This site-specific exploration and installation writes Flatrocks, a grand expanse of granite boulders at the edge of the ocean through drawing, walking, manipulation of natural materials and human interaction. 

Flatrocks is an area of coast in Cape Ann, MA that is defined by its flat, level granite rocks creating a stage between the Ipswich Bay and the wooded border of Lanesville. Settlers from Finland were drawn to Lanesville because of the granite that defined the coastline and reaped profits for back-breaking work deep below the soils surface. The call of mill work in Lowell left abandoned pits hundreds of feet deep to fill over the years with rain and run-off. The area is now scattered with bottomless, freshwater public and private quarries, exploitation of material replaced with people's enjoyment. 

Walking the coast of flatrocks with a sketchbook, I mapped out the line I wrote through each step, I noted the angles of the boulders, the low and high tide lines, I accentuated the eerily human scars and separations in the rough granite with wood I burned into charcoal on those same rocks the night before. 




The cracks, breaks and blemishes in the rocks are the language that informs the geological history of place and speaks to the context of the future of these rocks with deepening divides and crevices to come. Inclusion of myself and the human form invites the exploration of the structural relationships between geological and human topography and the intimate intersections they form.

Written on the lawn at Flatrocks Gallery, Topography of Flatrocks is the looping line derived from the drawn map navigating the coast, hand-clipped into the grass; the angles and layers of locally-excavated granite pieces, reminiscent of the jutting yet level rocks along the coast; and the shimmering burnt black lines stressing the edges and intersections of the granite accentuating the remaining evidence of human interference.  Read the place, through your mindful footsteps.

Please view the series of photographs, Topography of Flatrock and Human Intersections from this residency in the environmental art and assemblage portfolio 

Special thanks to -

Flatrocks Gallery

Collaborator & Filmmaker Seth C Brown Productions