Friday 20th October. Decided to return for a short visit today, as wont be able to come for 2 weeks after this. So, it was a short visit today or no more visits till November. Of course I never put a plan in place of how much work I would do/visits I would make/materials I would source. Other than a plan to visit once a week for at least a month. By arriving today I have fulfilled that- which is good as when you are self employed you must set your targets and meet them :)
But I feel unfinished. There is more to do. I was thrilled with the amount of work I managed to get done on my last visit, helped by Mark. I will add the short film I made here as soon as I get it uploaded to Youtube.
See below. We worked in a field Mark had mentioned which I had not yet been to. When we arrived I agreed that it was perfect. Making the action was interesting and somewhat meditative- I wanted to look up so as to be able to allow myself to be carried along by my feet and to take in the surroundings, but my eyes kept getting visually drawn back to the ground- the textures and patterns I saw were hard to look away from. I have been thinking a lot recently about the concept of 2 steps forward, one step back- as a metaphor for life as well as a mechanism for art making. YOu think you are making progress, but things always pull you back, so you still make progress, or continue to move forwards in some manner, but not at the speed you think you ought to be. Maybe thats a good thing. Physically its an interesting action, and allows further inspection of a space and surroundings. It becomes a sort of dance- moving forward forward, and back. I took as big steps as I could, I’d worn a black dress which was fitted but had some elasticity so each time I extended a leg I felt the resistance of the material of my dress. I wanted to experience the action, and record some footage of the action so as to put together a short film of the action.
Back to Friday 20th October. I went for a walk this morning upon arrival, and took some notes while out. Here is a translation of my scribble- note to self- work on atrocious handwriting. Ive always seen my abstract scrawl as an art form in itself- how self indulgent of me- but it does need to work on a functional basis- ie it needs to be readable.
‘Out walking as first job upon arrival. Lot of rainfall. puddled tractor tracks. soaked grass everywhere. the mist that had accompanied me hedegrow on the edge of the field I was walking through. the tree above them bare. looking down silently at her fallen fruit. picked up a handful..lump.. of soil. smelled mineral-ish. not like it had any contact with or animal heritage. As in I could not smell manure or the loamy smell of animals. it was like as if it only been made from plants. dead, rotten, composted layers of plants. Sitting now, behind the curated arrangement of fallen apples. curated by nature, not me or anyone else. How does the tree feel seeing its summer work there on the ground? These apples will rot and be eaten maybe, by insects or small beings. become soil again.
I tried to sit in the hedgegrow and be still. to look and listen. Theres a lot going on. little midges everywhere, small silent kamikaze pilots. I feel them biting. hawthorn pulls and embeds in my jeans and jacket. Sit here long enough and you’d get consumed.
stop again to write. everything here leaking and absorbing moisture. me; runny nose, sweating as I walk, breathing out out moisture laden air. skies release misty rain. puddles below receiving. plants laden down with rain droplets. Trees silently absorb under me and their leaves and branches drip.
If you lay down still for 2 days very quickly small determined creatures would inhabit and utilise you. You’d get utilised, from around above and from below, absorbing and holding moisture, and used up.
When you stay still, or still-ish, you realise nothing around you is still. its all moving, alive, but at its own pace, not yours. layers, movements, symphonies of sounds. trees rustling, birds chirping tweeting singing, insects humming, wind blowing. you would be tolerated, absorbed, if you stayed there. On a sensory level its overwhelming. to me, both comforting and isolating. it doesn’t care about you or what you do or what happens to you, which is a relief. No responsibilities, apart from environmentally on a general level. ‘
I’ve really struggled, like so many, to connect with my work this week, and last week, with the news and social media and podcasts of whats happening in Gaza and the middle east. The horror and relentless misery and carnage. The complicated history. The traumatised, orphaned, wounded and or dead babies and children. So watching this, not being there, Having access to everything they don’t, is such an audacious, unfair privilege that its hard to make sense of and to continue to operate in your own safe little bubble. It feels wrong. I feel like, at the moment as my feelings change, the best thing is to keep going. Send the money I can to unicef, and otherwise try and take advantage of these privileges I have, here in Ireland- the freedom to work, move around, buy things, access to healthcare, water, fuel, ability to mind my kids properly and make sure they have enough to eat and are warm and comfortable. The freedom to create. So to stop thinking about how good or bad something I make is as right now that doesn’t matter. whats important is that I get the opportunity to make, to create, to research, to think.