A hopeful alternative

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.]

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A Fortunate Man

Cabinet fortunate sm“Landscapes can be deceptive. Sometimes a landscape seems to be less a setting for the life of its inhabitants than a curtain behind which their struggles, achievements and accidents take place. For those who, with the inhabitants, are behind the curtain, landmarks are no longer only geographic, but also biographical and personal.” The opening of John Berger‘s book A Fortunate Man (The Story of a Country Doctor). Set in the Forest in the 1960s, it tells of Dr John Sassal and gives a real glimpse into Forest life and what was changing at that time. Fascinating. The grainy black-and-white pictures by Jean Mohr are so atmospheric. In my mind this book connects with my earlier post  ‘Essence of Library’ as it talks about how universal ideals (in this case of social health care) play out locally. I am looking for a second-hand copy to include in the cabinet.