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
Psychogeography Uncategorized

Reading at DCA in April + Book Review

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photograph by Peter Goldsmith

Murdo Eason of the Fife Psychogeographical Collective will be reading from the recently published From Hill to Sea, Dispatches from the Fife Psychogeographical Collective. at Dundee Contemporary Arts  on Thursday 14th April at 19.00. The event is free but please book in advance.

Copies of From Hill to Sea are now available in the DCA bookshop.

The new exhibition at DCA is Grey Gardens. Featuring contemporary and archive photography, scale models and sculptures, Grey Gardens explores how architects and artists have tried to harmonise their use of concrete with natural landscapes from the 1950s to the present day.

The exhibition traces a line from Scottish modernist buildings by Morris and Steedman and Peter Womersley to the work of Italian architect Carlo Scarpa and the fantastical Mexican concrete garden Las Pozas, created by Edward James.

Scottish town art also features, from Brian Miller’s work in Cumbernauld to David Harding’s creations for Glenrothes. These unique environments will be revealed through photography and video from Guido Guidi, Colin McLean, Amanda Holmes and Avery Danziger.

Set alongside these will be works by artists Neville Rae, Smith/Stewart and Martin Boyce, who won the Turner prize in 2011 and whose work DCA curated for the Venice Biennale in 2009.

Full details here

Book Review

A review of From Hill to Sea has appeared on Metal and Dust.

We have only just become aware of this excellent site which explores hidden geographies, unexplored landscapes and unusual spaces.

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

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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 Happenstance Observation Poetry Psychogeography

The Foreshore Shaman

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Enter through yellow eye

into bird mind of

the foreshore shaman.

Come inhabit the spaces

between water

earth and sky.

 

How long have you got?

I’m just biding my time

sitting still, tuning in.

 

Listen to the wind;

wave pulse, lapping

on stone. Feel, sun

and moon movements.

 

Observe worlds formed

in rock pools, constellations

of barnacles, breathe in

sea salt air.

 

I see through reflection

beyond the mirror.

 

Sense the movement

that precedes

the moment, to

 

step forward

stop time, poised

with calm intent

to pierce the void.

 

In one movement:

from the depths

a fish –

……………….Ensō !

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Heron Shaman encountered at Black Sands, Aberdour, Fife, Saturday, 16th January 2016.

Now playing: David Behrman – On the Other Ocean

Categories
Uncategorized

The 19th Edinburgh Independent and Radical Book Fair 2015

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We are delighted to be part of this years Edinburgh Independent & Radical Book Fair, organised by the wonderful Word Power Books. The festival runs from Wednesday 28th October through to Sunday 1st November. The full programme is available here. All of the events take place at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny Street, just off Leith Walk.

On Friday 30th October at 5.45pm, Murdo Eason introduces From Hill to Sea: Dispatches from the Fife Psychogeographical Collective 2010-2014.

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Also, for the duration of the book festival, there will be an exhibition of images and texts by the Fife Psychogeographical Collective: Walls / Objects / Structures.

If you do attend, and get the chance, please say hello.

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Now playing: Trembling Bells – The Sovereign Self

Categories
Uncategorized

Cut Grass Radio Show, Music and Landscape

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We were recently asked to select a few tracks and talk about them for Cut Grass, the music show on totallyradio, hosted by Grasscut.

For anyone not familiar, Grasscut are the landscape-focused, musical duo of composer/producer/vocalist/musician Andrew Phillips and manager/musician Marcus O’Dair. As Grasscut, they have released two albums on Ninja Tune, with their third album Everyone Was a Bird – ‘an album born of footfall’ – recently released on Lo Recordings. Sleeve notes are by none other than Robert Macfarlane.

Grasscut have performed across Europe and worked with musicians including Robert Wyatt, John Surman and the Kronos Quartet. Marcus has also written a highly acclaimed, authorised biography of Robert Wyatt, Different Every Time, published in 2014.

The tracks we selected for the show were by: John Cage, Wire, Vashti Bunyan, Black Box Recorder, Barry Guy and Laura Cannell. There is a host of other great music featured and also extracts of readings by the poet Charles Olson.

You can listen to the radio programme here

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We also wrote a piece for the Grasscut blog, loosely based around several themes connecting music and landscape:

In a Landscape

Secular Pilgrimage

Specific Places

Sound in Spaces

Arterial Connectivity

Apocalyptic Landscapes

 

The piece outlines in more detail the reasons for our track selections and pulls in a whole range of other music including: Patti Smith, Sandy Denny, Áine O’Dwyer, Brötzmann & Bennink, La Monte Young and Corrupted. You can read the piece here and/or read a couple of extracts below.

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In a Landscape

Silence is not acoustic. It is a change of mind, a turning around.

John Cage

In a Landscape, a composition by John Cage is, arguably, one of the more ‘tuneful’ of his works. Written for solo piano or harp, it throws a nod towards Satie and borders on Impressionism. The title as an existential statement could hardly be bettered. Not walking through a landscape, but the conscious realisation of (being) in a landscape. It is also worth noting that Cage’s (in)famous silent piece 4’33” was first performed in a landscape. The Maverick Concert Hall is an open-air theatre, on the outskirts of Woodstock, New York, which was built in 1916 to present ‘Music in the Woods’. Kyle Gann notes that there about as many seats outside of the hall, as in, and that oak, maple hemlock and shagbark-hickory trees intrude gently upon the listening space. On the evening of Friday, 29th August 1952, the pianist David Tudor opened and closed the piano list as instructed by the score. The merits or otherwise of the ‘silent piece’, 4’33”, have and will continue to be debated, but if nothing else, our view is that it is an invitation to really listen and become aware of your surroundings. Cage himself notes that the sounds he heard during the performance included the wind stirring, raindrops patterning the roof and the noise of people as they walked out …

Kay Larson says: “before anything else, (4’33”) is an experience.” It is a proposition that says, in notational shorthand: stop for a moment and look around you and listen; stop and look; stop and listen. “Something” and “Nothing” can never be divided.

Perhaps a useful thought for any landscape wanderer to ponder …

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Secular Pilgrimage

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We have always been attracted to the idea of the motivated journey, or secular pilgrimage such as Werner Herzog’s walk from Munich to Paris recounted in Of Walking in Ice. The other dimension is the juxtaposition of an idea or image of a place, constructed before arriving, and the lived reality of actually experiencing it. In early 1970s New York, a young Patti Smith, obsessed with the poet Arthur Rimbaud, hatched a plan to travel to Harar in Ethiopia to find Rimbaud’s (imagined) lost valise:

I would return with the contents of the mysterious case, preserved in Abyssinian dust, and present it to the world.

Attempts to raise funding for the trip from “publishers, patrons and literary foundations” were met with bemused nods and Smith concluded that “the imagined secret papers of Rimbaud were not a fashionable cause.” However, Smith did manage to scrape up enough funds to head to Charleville in France, the place where the poet was born and buried. Smith recounts her experiences in a short text Charleville:

“I carried my raincoat and ventured into the Charleville night. It was quite dark and I walked the wide and empty quai Rimbaud. I felt a little afraid but then suddenly in the distance I saw a tiny light, a small neon sign — Rimbaud Bar. I stopped and took a breath, unable to believe my good fortune. I advanced slowly afraid it would disappear like a mirage in a desert…”

A bar where she would feed the jukebox with a: “crazy mix of Charles Aznavour, Hank Williams and Cat Stevens”.

This short book is a combination of the idealised image of a place, carried by Smith and the reality of her lived experiences such as finding the Rimbaud museum closed and bringing some blue glass beads from Harar to Rimbaud’s grave. “I felt that, since he was unable to return to Harar, I should bring a bit of Harar to him.”

Of course Smith’s pilgrimage experience seeps into much of her subsequent writing. The power of place imagined, experienced and carried within:

I gotta move from my mind to the area

(go Rimbaud go Rimbaud go Rimbaud)

‘Land’ from Horses.

The full blog piece can be read here:

All of the Cut Grass radio shows can be listened to here:

References:

Kyle Gann, No Such Thing as Silence, John Cage’s 4’33” (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010).

Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism and the Inner Life of Artists (New York: The Penguin Press, 2012).

Patti Smith, Charleville (Paris/Arles: FondationCartier pour l’art contemprain/Actes Sud, 2008).