This laser scan of the sea surface off the Isle of Portland came to mind as Neil, the river keeper, was pointing out how the ripples and swellings on the surface of the Test can reveal what’s happening beneath. Variations in flow and depth are exploited by the fish; slow eddies as resting places, fast flows to bring food downstream. Just as the fish play these currents to their advantage, so the angler reads the surface signs to reveal the fish’s likely location. Well, my next task is to understand this fluid lexicon for myself. [This laser scan of The Race off Portland was part of A Natural History of Pseudomorphs.]
That’s the title of a recent article in ‘The Field’ magazine about my plans for Surface Tension. I never imagined that I could be described as a ‘sporting artist’! It does show, however, that I am reaching beyond my usual audience. I also didn’t expect the grilling I got from the journalist: straight to the point, no messing around, what the hell did I think I was up to? Well, you decide. You can read the article on line here. Much rather ‘The Field’ than any art magazine. [Yes, I know, I haven’t been posting much of late, but am planning on that changing in the New Year. Here’s looking ahead to 2018!]
It was in The White Bird that John Berger wrote “art does not imitate nature, it imitates a creation, sometimes to propose an alternative world, sometimes simply to amplify, to confirm, to make social the brief hope offered by nature”. With this in mind, it was interesting to see different approaches emerging from the architecture workshop at AUB, one of which was to separate the art from the landscape, placing them back to back. The model shown here proposes that you would enter from one bank of the river to experience the artwork (soundscape) inside the small room; from the other bank you could sit looking at nature whilst suspended above the water. I am not sure that this separation is appropriate, as the landscape at Mottisfont, and in particular the river itself, is just as much an art-ificial construction as the artwork I propose making. For ‘nature’ I need, perhaps, to look further afield, to the melting icecaps, the Barrier Reef bleachings or how migrating birds are arriving back at new times each year. In this endeavour I will take Berger as my guide, and search for a hopeful alternative. [Thanks the ‘reeds’ team at AUB who produced this model.]
Just spent the day at Arts University Bournemouth in architecture reviewing the concept designs for Surface Tension. Both exciting and challenging to see the different interpretations of the brief I gave at the beginning of the week. There were some beautiful drawings, plenty of Sketchup images, but what really got me were the models. Their immediacy, tactility and improvised nature all just add to their power as tools with which to imagine. Space and materiality in miniature. I will blog about them in detail next week. Wonderful. Thanks Simon for making the whole thing possible.