tablelands

February 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

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This is me with 3am feelings and intense dreams about the life and desires of a 19 year old horse rider living in the 1940s Lithuanian tablelands.

I want to be there, on a spit between sea and tidelands. The dream also saw me pushing a chair and trying to thread a burnt out lightbulb. The cliffs of the tablelands were dark rock cascading to the sea. In one part I saw the men in a game of horse-riding, maybe polo, played on the smooth flat grass. I saw a map, an atlas opened with the long lines of cliffs skirting around the very tops of the earth. The 19 year old should not have been riding, she was a woman. You could tell though by the dirt on her leather boots… scuffed slightly. I was changing the light in the hallway of a university.

I have been feeling down lately and I am not sure why. My show opens 21 May and I am speaking to the two lovely artists who will write some words for a catalogue. Trying to tease out of myself a lot of answers. I will be in Iceland in November I know that. What else I know.

Books for lyrical journeys of pilgrimage in landscape, the sea and ice and the true north. A list in progress.

January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

ARCTIC CIRCLE / TRUE NORTH

Winter Count – Barry Lopez
The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World – Robert McGhee
The Island Within – Richard Nelson
The Norton Book of Nature Writing – ed. John Elder and Robert Finch
This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland – Gretel Ehrlich
A Woman in the Polar Night – Christiane Ritter
Sea Ice: An Introduction to its Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology – David N. Thomas
The Magnetic North: Notes From the Arctic Circle – Sara Wheeler
True North: Travels in Arctic Europe – Gavin Francis
Iceland Imagined: Nature, Culture, and Storytelling in the North Atlantic – Karen Oslund
The Arctic: An Anthology – Elizabeth Kolbert
The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule – Joanna Kavenna

OCEANS / SEAS / TIDELANDS / RIVERS / ISLANDS

Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories: The Biography of an Ocean – Simon Winchester
Hard Water – Jean Sprackland
Plainwater – Anne Carson
The Last Great Sea: A voyage through the human and natural history of the north pacific ocean – Terry Glavin
Passage To Juneau: A Sea and Its Meaning – Jonathan Raban
Islands: A trip through time and space – Peter Conrad

WANDERING / WALKING / PILGRIMAGE / LABYRINTH

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot – Robert Macfarlane
Sightlines – Kathleen Jamie
Nightwalk: A journey to the heart of nature – Chris Yates
To the River – Olivia Laing
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland – Sarah Moss
A Field Guide to Getting Lost – Rebecca Solnit
Mazes and Labyrinths – W.H. Starr Matthews
The Labyrinth: Symbol of Fear, Rebirth and Liberation – Helmut Jaskolski

LANGUAGE / MAPS / INDEXES / VIGNETTES

Shallow Water Dictionary – John Stilgoe
Hard Water – Jean Sprackland
The Poetics of Space – Gaston Bachelard
Atlas of Remote Islands – Judith Schalansky
On Being Blue: a Philosophical Inquiry (colour blue) – William H. Gass
You are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination – Katharine Harmon
From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association – Kris Harzinski
Everything Sings. Maps for a Narrative Atlas – Denis Wood
The Dictionary of Imaginary Places – A. Manguel
A Dictionary of Northern Mythology – Rudolf Simek

Suggestions welcome

What is the obstacle? What is the warning?

January 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

1. I don’t know if I can imagine three months alone in a strange land, carting sand from one end to the other. Shuffling a pathway (pilgrimage) through the snow, casting it, and then recreating it, that journey, that path, for others to follow. A map which can be laid on any floor. A portable hole.

2. Standing at the edge. I was at Bondi Beach in Sydney once and I walked out into the waves when I felt the sea floor below me give way and plunge into the beginning of the great deep. No more solid land to make you feel safe, land that can be walked back to shore, back across the sand, back across the road and then as far as you need to go before you reach home.

3. In a strange car at night on an unfamiliar road the kind where the bitumen rounds off on to grass, rocks and then trees. No houses about, headlights. A black cat crosses the highway and someone else in the car says ‘was that a cat’ and you say ‘yes’.

4. Hiding places. For physical things, for thoughts, for secrets.

5. A stream that is small enough to cross. A river that is too big.

6. The creek was cool and running fast. We laid our drinks and milk in the creek to cool them down. Further up the creek the water rushes over a crevice of rocks and you can shimmy up them, sit and wedge yourself in and the water flows over the rock to your lap.

7. A stranger who opens your window. Noises outside.

8. 25840 tonne icebreaker forging a path through sheer brute force. The sea flows where it shouldn’t. But we made it through.

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