Thursday, 11 August 2011

a field student of warm ups

As Field Study’s Man in E17, I have been in conference with the various others of my inner self within the relative safety of Julian Beere’s head quarters; a gathering akin to a comical meeting of The Beano’s, Numskulls - Brainy, Blinky, Radar, Snitch and Cruncher. One of my little people is called, ‘Thicky’; another is called, ‘Silly’. Notwithstanding, our meetings have tried to consider local security issues given the flame lit and window smashed darkness of recent social disorder.
I, or we, intend (along with others) to try and creatively reclaim some local public space from the grim aftermath and memory of a night of wanton and opportunistic thuggery.
The E17 Art Trail will play a part in reaffirming a more benevolent community spirit. I will be contributing to the E17 Art Trail Warm Up with a small artist book making workshop that, if there is the weather and interest, will involve people in various innocent little book making challenges. The Bash Street Kids are welcome (gulp) only if accompanied by their parents. I sat up most of last night fretting about the possibility of them turning up and turning the workshop into a betting scam about the race between the trail’s dog, tortoise and hare. Thicky and his crew had little in the way of reassuring advice to give.
I notice the warm up poster features the book making activity pasted within a paint splat redolent of a map of Iceland; well of course I am duty bound to stick a William Morris reference in by any silly and tenuous means necessary. Via another art trail channel of communication the activity has been referred to as journal making and indeed that might be an appropriate idea for a field student to consider - making art trail log books.
Recently I have been reading, Bruce Chatwin, WHAT AM I DOING HERE. I particularly enjoyed his account of meeting Maria Reiche, ‘who has spent about half her seventy two years in the Peruvian desert surveying the archaeological monument known as the ‘Nazca lines’. The account includes a dip into the overarching theories of Kornelius Wittfogel - principally that of the ‘hydraulic civilisations’ - as well as some analysis of the influence of Reiche’s work on Earth Art (or Land Art) - influence of which she, according to Chatwin, was dismissive and sceptical.  Field Study’s Man in E17 has been studying some of the ways and means of the land artist, Hamish Fulton; a walking artist who did/does not practice the sorts of land art Reiche was sceptical about.
Bruce Chatwin is well known for his use of notebooks for recording his thoughts and experiences. I found this video on Youtube which looks briefly at some of Chatwin’s notebooks and the manner of their use. There is some dispute in the comments about Chatwin’s use of Moleskines. As Field Study’s Man in E17, I will be exploring the use of notebooks in relation to my attempts at a survey of Walthamstow’s public footpaths. These paths may be sung in the guise and manner of a tortoise.  

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