A cairn is a pile of rocks made by a human. It is a marker - in history it was sometimes used as a landmark, or sometimes it was created to mark a burial site. In the context of this performance, we used it as a representation and symbol of the idea of the human marker. It marked our presence and intentions behind exploring what it meant to make our mark in nature by only using nature as the medium through which to get this point across.
For me, it became more than a marker - it became the process of life. I had to devise ways to find the rocks, transport them, store them, arrange and display them, upkeep them, then re-distribute them back to nature after the performance was finished. Not only did I become aware and go through this process, I also became aware of the mark of nature and its process - I made the cairn because I assembled the rocks, but I didn't make the rocks. While I can label and mark the cairn (a symbol of a mark) as my own creation, that's only recognized in our culture. The cairn itself represents this performance's mark by our cultural standards, and my creating it represents my own mark as a human being living and moving and using resources. Yet, it is no more a possession of mine than is my own body - the cairn went back to the earth as I will one day.
The cairn was also continuously changing. It was never the same from one performance to the next, as we rearranged the rocks before, during, and after each performance. Each rock's relation to one another changed the shape of the cairn overall, and became a mark of everyone who visited the space as each human helped shape the cairn and make their own mark by placing rocks they carried onto it each night.
In the end, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend. I had gone through this process and this journey with these rocks. I had carried them on my back as I biked with them, I had carried them by hand in backs and driven with them, I had carted them around and had to pick up and handle every single rock every time i had to store them or re-arrange them. Then I placed them in a different spot from where I got them and created another kind of cairn - one that represented our mark not only of a performance gone by, but also a mark of the students who were here at this moment in time. Remnants of the cairns from our performance now form a new cairn somewhere on campus to mark our place in this university. It's all natural, and it's not permanent.