Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Thoughts after the get together of Triparks 20th / 21st May: Hadrians Wall and ACA Allenheads.

A meeting of all three organisations and all six artists.

There was so much said over the two days that I will not attempt to give an account of the whole meeting. I just wanted to offer some of the notes I made afterwards.

The phrase that stuck in my mind was one that Hugh mentioned: speculative reconstruction. It prompted Alan to raise a discussion about the nature of reconstruction in relation to history and re-presentation or manufacture of 'evidence'.

I felt this was so relevant to how I want to respond to the Simonside site, I want to make something that could become absorbed in the history of the site. I am imagining a scenario whereby, on one level, my work could be considered together with the existing cup and ring marks and more modern graffiti as equal in importance as an expression of "I was here". On another level there is what I perceive to be the real scenario, whereby a whole gamut of hierarchies and means of judging an object or statement may become a barrier to the work existing (lack of permission). These are interesting questions. Who decides what is and isn't important / historical / art?

Helen talked about the role of the artist in relation to the many and various agencies at work in the park and asked the question where did the role of the artist lie. I found this very interesting and felt that my reaction to this question reinforced the desire for my work to be discovered and remain ambiguous rather than to be announced as 'art'.

Hugh and I were the only ones to try out the video conversation. He approached me with "What does the word landscape mean to you?" or words to that effect. I was really interesting to be put on the spot like that and once again it brought up the theme of contradiction for me within this project. My answer centred round the origin of the word, which some think come from the Dutch "landschaft".

“It entered the English language, along with the herring and bleached linen, as a Dutch import at the end of the sixteenth century. And landschap, like its Germanic root, landschaft , signified a unit of human occupation, indeed a jurisdiction, as much as anything that might be a pleasing object of depiction. So it was surely not accidental that in the Netherlandish flood-fields, itself a site of formidable human engineering, a community developed the idea of a landschap, which in the colloquial English of the time became a landskip. “
Simon Schama: “Landscape and Memory”, Vintage Books USA, 1996, p10
However, on reflection I think my definition of landscape in the context I had been using it that day was more to do with the lack of human presence. Perhaps I should have been using the word place, view or vista? I think I use the word landscape in relation to something that humans are not the main focus of attention but at the same time evidence of them being there is inherent in its meaning.

View is a word that is important to raise here, as I did not mention the significance of how something is viewed to the work I am making. A viewpoint is a place to take a photograph for many visitors; the re interpretation of this imagery via digital technology is where my work exists.

I am going to stop here; I'll get some images of recent work together then all this rambling might make sense!

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