Categories
Happenstance Observation Poetry Psychogeography rag-pickings

As For the Sea

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As for the sea. The sea is impossible to believe. Only by imagining it can you manage to see its reality

Clarice Lispector

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With one step, a stream is crossed

an eye on the upland hill.

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Nomadic waters falling

gathering, descending,

dreaming of the open sea.

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Imagine:

The sea as a source of comfort

The sea as a site of desire

The sea as a skin of violence

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We can imagine into being

red diamonds. Criss-crossing

but never containing

the sea

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Imagine if the sea was all we had

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As if crawling on surface tension

a skeletal remnant, ghost

of the Great War.

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Now, a living sanctuary – seabirds

come, seabirds go.

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Imagine a sea-skating insect – hatched

from a Miyazaki film.

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Imagine the sea rising to bleed into the sky.

What about us?

Where will we stand

When the ink smudged clouds

Fall into the sea?

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Flotsam & jetsam

Plastic shards

and dead wood.

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Between high tide

and low tide

A little more

short of breath.

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Photographs taken from Carlingnose Point, North Queensferry, Limekilns and Crombie on the Fife Coast.

Now playing: Sandy Denny/Fotheringay – The Sea

Categories
Encounters Happenstance Observation Poetry Psychogeography rag-pickings

Above the City: Leaving / Returning

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a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time

Patrick Geddes

and the resourceful creatures see clearly

that we are not really at home

in the interpreted world

Rainer Maria Rilke – The Duino Elegies

≈≈≈

Above the city

as if the cloak

of air, on wings,

weighs too heavy.

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A need to

take flight,

defy gravity

soar, for

a moment,

and return.

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Photographs taken looking towards the roof of the City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 6th February 2016.

Watching the cycle of leaving and returning. Leaving and returning.

Now playing: Grasscut – Everyone Was a Bird.

Categories
Encounters Field Trip Folk-Lore Found Art Happenstance I Remember Observation Poetry Psychogeography Quote rag-pickings Signs and Signifiers Some Questions of the Drift Sounds of Spaces and Places Symbol Uncategorized

From Hill to Sea – Book Update

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From Hill to Sea: Dispatches from the Fife Psychogeographical Collective, 2010 – 2014 is published by Bread and Circuses Publishing.

After a successful launch at the Edinburgh Independent & Radical Book Fair, copies of the book are now available from Word Power bookshop in Edinburgh and by mail order. See the Publications page here.

Categories
Encounters Field Trip Happenstance Observation Poetry Psychogeography rag-pickings

In Still Winter Air

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Gothic lungs, breathe

still, winter air

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Arms outstretched

movement in stasis

a silent cry

sounded in ink

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Now Playing: Laura Cannell – ‘Banshee’ from Swooping Talons Remixes (Charles Hayward and Merlin Nova remix).

Aberdour, Fife, 16th January, 2016.

Categories
Found Art Happenstance Observation Poetry Psychogeography rag-pickings

Around about the Winter Solstice – 2015

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through the longest night

city lights                      nod

to the solstice moon

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with a turning of the sun, weak

but stronger,

the eternal return

of expanding light

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AbWalls

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New beginnings, or

slow endings?

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Sun warmed,     stories

in the stones,     record

new chapters,    of

weather human writing

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The Unbearable Loneliness of the Solitary Buckie Bottle

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  1. Nicholson Square, Edinburgh
  2. Dunfermline Abbey
  3. Dunfermline Abbey Church
  4. Steps, Monastery Street, Dunfermline.

Now playing: Ralph Towner – Solstice

Categories
Encounters Folk-Lore Happenstance Observation Poetry Psychogeography rag-pickings

Three November Skies

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Two divining rods

dowsing the sky

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A fragment falling

pooling at my feet

Looking from Leith Walk, Edinburgh, on 25th November towards the vestiges of the Shrubhill tramway workshops and power station. The power station opened in 1898 and housed the haulage engines for cable-tramway operations. By 1922 the power station had closed with the tramway workshops continuing in use until 1956.

The site was also once known as the Gallow Lee where a gibbet stood for public executions. There are numerous accounts of murderers, Covenanters, warlocks and witches being executed and buried on the site between 1570 and 1752. 

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Waves of molten lava

breaking  –  on

the blue shore

An early morning sky over Limekilns, Fife on 25th November 2015. The sky as apocalyptic beach.

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View from the train – take that #BlackFriday

On the East Coast mainline. Taken and posted on Twitter on 27th November 2015.

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Now playing: David Torn – Only Sky

Categories
Field Trip Quote rag-pickings Signs and Signifiers

William Gear (1915 – 1997) – City Art Centre, Edinburgh

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We have already written a fairly long piece on the painter William Gear (1915 – 1997). Gear was one of only two British members of the post-war, European, avant-garde movement CoBrA in the 1940s. He went on to produce some of the most radical and controversial paintings of the 1950s.

In the centenary year of his birth, a major retrospective of his work has recently arrived in Edinburgh. Previously shown at The Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, where Gear was curator from 1958-1964, it is a fabulous retrospective show and a privilege to see so many of his works collected together. From early dabblings with Surrealism through to the radical monochrome abstractions of the 1950s and the singing colours and sculptural forms of his mature style from the 1960s to his death in 1997.

The exhibition is showing at City Art Centre until 14th February 2016 and comes highly recommended.  Rather than write a full review, we would only suggest that you consider visiting the exhibition if you can.

Walking around for the first time a few phrases caught the ear and eye:

I was born and brought up on the Fife Coast. Harbours, boats, the sea. It is in the blood.

I was a Parisian now. 

(Gear moved to Paris in the late 1940s where he held his first solo shows and joined CoBrA after meeting Appel, Constant, Corneille and Jorn. Reading this line particularly struck a chord after the brutal terrorist attacks on Paris on Friday 13th 2015. An attack on a city that has always drawn artists to it and excels in celebrating both the highest pleasures and everyday joys of life).

I cannot say in truth that my painting is entirely non-representational, though at no point am I ever obsessed with the rendering of objects in front of me or remembered as such. I continually find that my pictures, when finished, are evocative of something within my visual experience. It may be the corner of my studio, or the view from the window of trees and the Seine and the buildings of the Île de la Cité opposite, or a generalised landscape, interior or assembly of forms.

Trees and boulders take on the menacing form of hidden terror. Imagination plays tricks with the eyes.

In conjunction with a fine exhibition catalogue, a magisterial new book has been written by Andrew Lambirth which is particularly strong on placing Gear within an international context.

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We were also delighted and gobsmacked to stumble across a mention of our essay in the Afterword:

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William Gear (1915 – 1997): The painter that Britain forgot – City Art Centre Edinburgh, until 14th February 2016. (Free).

Now playing: Philip Corner – Satie Slowly.

Categories
Field Trip Observation Poetry Psychogeography rag-pickings Signs and Signifiers

The Eternal Return of Autumn

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The eternal return

of the    ephemeral

autumn         ballet

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At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost

Rainer Maria Rilke

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all                  around

a shedding of leaves

my          green cloak

growing        heavier

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I notice that Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature

Friedrich Nietzsche

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Even decay is a form of transformation into other living things, part of the great rampage of becoming that is also unbecoming

Rebecca Solnit

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almost                        dark

listen                      –  in(g)

to the huddled whispers

of the forest              flock

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autumnal         portal

a suggestion of russet

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Above the roof of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s ‘Temple of Apollo’ at Jupiter Artland

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Flooding the fissures

of     the stone house

Liquid                 light

rippling            the air

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(Redux) When natural cycles turn, brutalist windows can dream of (autumn) trees…

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Now playing: Laura Cannell – ‘Born from the Soil’ from Beneath Swooping Talons.

Categories
Encounters Field Trip Found Art Observation Psychogeography rag-pickings Signs and Signifiers Symbol

Underneath the M90

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Up above, the sound is like a collision of thunder arriving from north and south. Traffic heading to unknown destinations, running up and down the asphalt spine of the M90 motorway. Here, underneath the flyover, the concrete walls have become vast, abstract-expressionist assemblages. Layer upon layer of weather effects, pollution spray, pigment and human mark-making.  It is only the walker who will notice these. Why, would you dwell, to look, if travelling in a car?

Has any disorientated walker followed the arrow east TO DIVIT, or west TO THE RO?

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Unusual names – DIVIT, THE RO.

Consulting any official map will be of little help. There will be no record of these places. Perhaps we are standing on a territorial boundary line. DIVIT being a local name for Inverkeithing to the east. THE RO is Rosyth to the west. That human compulsion to establish borders and territories. Points of entry or exit. Lines pronouncing otherness, even when invisible and local.

Not far away, a universally recognised symbol. How many times has a heart shape been inscribed on a surface across time and space? From Cro-Magnon cave walls, via the ancient Greeks – a symbol of life and morality and possibly an association with Dionysus and love – to the more familiar symbol of romantic love emerging in the 1200s. Anyone using social media will recognise ❤ ❤ <3.

Under this motorway flyover, a black heart in brush stroke, partly over-painted in white. The shape immediately recognisable, a symbol we can all ‘understand’. But does the nuance of its meaning remain with the mark maker? We connect through common language but subtleties of difference always escape, to be either celebrated or repressed.

Is that a human figure we see enclosed within the heart? Possibly kneeling? Who can say?This small detail, on the patina of concrete canvas, remains a daub of mystery. A symbol as elusive and remote from the casual observer as the Pictish symbols, found further up the Fife coast, carved in the Wemyss Caves around 600 – 700 AD.

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The difference between the who and the what at the heart of love, separates the heart. It is often said that love is the movement of the heart. Does my heart move because I love someone who is an absolute singularity, or because I love the way that someone is?

Jacques Derrida

Now playing: Julian Priester Pepo Mtoto – Love, Love

Categories
Observation Psychogeography rag-pickings Signs and Signifiers

The Brutalist Butterfly

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Walking up Lady Lawson Street in Edinburgh, I stopped for a closer look at Argyle House, an office block dating from 1968, designed by the architectural practice of Michael Laird & Partners.  The building has many critics and is often described as an ‘eyesore’ and one of Edinburgh’s ‘ugliest buildings’. It appears to exist under a constant threat of erasure from property developers, and the City of Edinburgh Council, proposing new (re)development schemes.

The façade which borders the north side of West Port and the junction of Lady Lawson Street is very much of the brutalist box style. All right angles, rectangular windows and the material heft of concrete and harling.

Today, walking in behind the building, I see it from a different angle. The hidden curves, the windows as light reflecting scales. It takes on the appearance of some brutalist insect, flexing its wings, as if about to fly.

Now playing: Asva – Futurists Against the Ocean.