So, first things first...
Just to be clear.
This is not the 'work'
This is the PREAMBLE
This is the bit
Before the making begins.
Where the rules get set
Where the rules are written
Rambles with Nature
That is the 'work'.
A body of work.
A body of walks.
A body of thoughts.
A body of talks...
And at the heart of them all the hedgerow.
Not the heart.
More the spine.
A place to set out from.
A place to disappear into.
Or a connecting line, simply to follow.
literally, metaphorically, ecologically.
On the edge.
In the middle.
At the border.
Rooted and breathing.
Changing with the seasons.
An outdoor place.
Full of species, plants, animals, roots.
Hybrids, lineages, power-struggles.
Fashioned by hand.
A woodland relic.
An ancient pathway grown wayward and wild.
Teaming with myths.
Teaming with histories
Of the Enclosure Acts.
Of an impossible to remember Common land.
A tangly mass of boundaries.
Not always pretty. Sometimes selfish.
Dusty with petrol,
Full of rubbish and stuff.
Cigarette butts, cans, condoms, wrappers.
Sometimes suburban. Fairly mundane.
A bit like Ba's privet hedge outside her council house.
I miss that hedge.
I used to surprise my brother by pushing him into it
And take clippings of it for stick insects to school in a bag...
Green, solid, constant and green
I miss that hedge.
The book that I will make about The Body of Work.
Inside it I imagine will be pictures like this -
Illustrators, Amateurs, Photographers, Artists.
Foragers, Scientists, ecologists and others...
All weaving together a thorny thicket of stuff.
Making the book.
Ramble #2 will be in Shoreham using stories and sound.
Ramble #3 will be in London a series of conversations about site
Ramble #4 will be hands on and all 'doing'.
Ramble#5 might involve dreams and sewing.
Ramble #6 might involve glass.
Ramble #7 might involve writing a really long, unwinding bit of text and performing it, in front of people looking.
And Ramble #8 who knows...
It's going to take some time to get through it all...
It's going to take some chance meetings.
But thats OK
That's right on track.
- To move about aimlessly.
- Walk about casually or for pleasure.
- Follow an irregularly winding course of motion or growth.
- Speak or write at length and with many digressions.
Which reminds me...
On Tuesday I lay down under a soft red blanket and thought about getting old. I remembered burning sticks and dried banana skins behind the estate, and an old white Datsun rolling softly down a driveway. And Matthew's face - the boy who always stuck rocks up his nose and looked at me blankly when I said hello. I wonder where he is now?
On Wednesday I used my legs and went on a hunt around Clapham. I wanted to buy some of those small model sized hedges that railway enthusiasts use and to take photos and cuttings of the surrounding greenery, but the shop had GONE. The books I wanted weren't there. And the hedges I saw well they were really quite something, but I didn't quite dare take cuttings because they all seemed so neat and the photos weren't right, too flat or something – so instead I trailed my hands along and inside them and came back to my room for a cup of tea.
On Thursday I read about Rousseau and Wordsworth and was reminded of the Situationists, of their ideas around drift and psychogeography and wondered - What am I up to? What are the specifics?
So I wrote some rules.
Here they are so far:
- A ramble must begin with / follow / explore the hedgerow. This can be quite tenuous a connection.
- A ramble doesn't have to involve walking.
- A ramble might not always be interesting. It has the right to refuse. It is after all a ramble.
- A ramble feels like it might be a scared thing, easily frightened away like a deer or water vole or bird. Give it space. Give it time.
- Some rambles can happen in darkened rooms.
- A ramble doesn't have to be undertaken alone. In fact preferably not.
- Some rambles can happen in bright sunlight or drizzle or fog.
- There is a difference between a ramble and a wander. Its hard to say what this is exactly, but it's something to do with robustness and vigour.
- A ramble is a resistance to getting and spending, but that doesn't mean getting and spending aren't allowed. We might need food, props, a dog or a car.
- At the end of each Ramble I / we will make something together. This might be the Ramble itself. This might be something different
- At the beginning of each Ramble I should make this clear – I am an artist. I do make art. Don't be surprised if our Ramble transforms, shapeshifts, becomes something solid, turns into a video, or a blanket or a song. Or does none of these things. Or perhaps this is it.
involved should be credited.
These rules need more work.
To give out.
As a start.
As a way to find conversations.
They might say:
Open for Rambles with Nature
starting with / exploring / The Hedgerow
I am an artist.
We don't have to walk.
Although walking is ok and can be a good place to start...
This text is part of the Preamble I wrote at BAC for their Scratch Festival in May. Preamble was my first chance to start thinking about Rambles with Nature.