A Block and Tackle is a simple mechanical system for amplifying the efficiency of a lift or pull. By using a set of pulleys and a rope or chain you can gain a mechanical advantage over a load.
I thought my father used a small, portable form of block and tackle when I was a kid to move stumps out of the water or to move boats. But the more I think about it the more I think it was an older neighbour at the cottage. My dad definitely used a come along which is a metal winch system based on the principles of the block and tackle.
I’ve imagined every detail of this piece but it would take a long time to discover the perfect natural setting so it might be easier to “create” the set of circumstances I need for the performance. Once again this work is about a series of actions that I would perform with nobody around. I could then photograph the end result as a document to the action.
For this piece I need two trees, two telephone poles, or any pair of objects that are very securely fastened and stable, and about twenty feet apart. I also envision there to be a grass or dirt area that separates the two object although it could be done on concrete . Directly in-between these two objects I would place a boulder. The boulder should be large enough that it can’t be moved simply by pushing or rolling, but small enough that with the aid of a three pulley block and tackle and a length of rope I can single handedly move it a distance. I’d set the block and tackle up and move the boulder towards one of the two extremes –the trees, poles or whatever. Once the boulder has been moved very close to the one extreme I’d reverse the action and pull the boulder towards the other tree, pole or whatever. Finally I’d reset the block and tackle and pull the boulder back into the middle of the area where it began. The I’d take a picture.
I can see taking pictures without the boulder, with the boulder, when the boulder is at both extremes, and again when the boulder is finally back in the middle. Hopefully either side of the now centrally located rock would be clearly marked where the boulder dragged over the earth though and people might be able to guess what happened. These drag marks would then become a narrative element in a very strange and implausible story.