Moor Battery was one of several works Sturgeon executed as part of Symposium Moor 1992, an international festival of performance & site specific work on the Wittemoor. The Wittemoor, Germany is part of a larger complex of moors (bogs) that stretch across northern Germany and The Netherlands. This month long festival gathered European and American artists, to live on, investigate and then respond to environmental issues evoked by the delicate ecology and unusual geographical-archaeological sites on the Wittemoor.
Moor Battery was a performance collaboration between Sturgeon and German artist Jörge Haberland, using various sites in the Wittemoor – the bohlenweg (an ancient, wooden trestle path), the black bogs and the grassy marsh. Sturgeon & Haberland documented themselves probing the moor with long, 2 meter, stainless steel rods with copper tips driven deep into the moor and then attaching the upper tips to their foreheads with medical EKG sensors. Metaphorically, they analyzed the moor as a source of energy and as a reservoir of memory.
Moor Battery was a response to a seemingly subtle, but striking quality of the moor environment; the physiological and psychological effect that it has on visitors to these locations. At first, a profound energy drain was noted, in some cases even inducing sleep; however, after longer periods on site, this effect was followed by an inversion, an energizing of body and mind producing a prolonged period of mental and physical activity. From these draining/charging observations along with investigations of the unique acid and alkaline chemical base of the moor, it seemed that the composition of moor was something akin to a battery.
As noted from the famous excavations of the bogmen, the moor is composed of a chemical structure, that preserves certain carbon based elements such as skin and hair, while rapidly decomposes others – bone and flesh. It actually serves as a tomb for artifacts such as the bohlenwegs and for human or animal remains. Metaphorically, Moor Battery highlighted the dynamic of this energy system functioning as a storage environment with selective memory – the creating of a consciousness, while dissolving the remainder into unconsciousness.
Other Projects in this Series