Friday, 24 February 2012

Field Study's Man in E17 is on the trail of the flesh eating ghosts of Wood Street


I hadn't expected it to take me so long to recover from that tall tale spin although it would not be wholly unreasonable to say it was a truly dire plummet into the shallows of my psycho-terrain; so much so it was a near dearth experience. Boom boom bump bump.

Recently I have been grounded behind the Turnaround internet scenes slavishly applying my two typing fingers to the service of art and communality. A walk is a fine antidote to the sometimes stupor inducing effects of this seemingly unrelenting digital tap dance upon my laptop keyboard. It was consternation I felt (perhaps a contradiction in terms) when I realised the consequences of losing a dot and the letter l from an important email address; a mistake I had replicated far too many times. I overcame the paralysis and took my dismay for a walk along and around Wood Street in the hope my spirits would revive. Something was afoot and if it was not my spirits being revived then may be other spirits were.

At least this is what I think happened. I have just started reading John Wyndham, The Seeds of Time and so I may have been in a chronoclasmic state. Incidentally, I found 'The Seeds of Time' in one of the second hand book stalls in Wood Street Indoor Market; my purchase of the book being another personal contribution to the Wood St effort.

While various other websites and blogs (I am involved in) are for serious and sensible contributions to the community, Lost and Found in E17 errs more towards the spurious, fatuous and ridiculous. This is not to say LaFiE17 cannot accommodate some sensibleness e.g. the question, what has Wood St got to offer? A sensible question is unlikely to find an equally sensible answer in Lost and Found in E17.    



I found myself at the plaza on Wood Street. In my chronoclasmic state I wondered if this is, in fact and/or fiction, a burial ground. Are those seats sarcophagi, there in a weirdly blank, grey and vacant vista overlooked by trees paradoxically amputated by the partial adornment of lights? Who or what is buried in the sheer cut and polished dolmen? Digging up the roots of the word, 'sarcophagus', does not bring much in the way of reassurance and comfort; from the Greek, sarkophagus 'flesh consuming', sark- flesh, -phagos '-eating'. Cold comfort!

I broke into a cold sweat when I realised my brash artyological psycho-exhumations had stirred the consciousness of a dark chthonic entity; a chilling subterranean glow at my feet gave me cause to whimper pathetically. What is this place? Traces of other visitors were all around in the form of excretions and secretions of various bodily fluids. It was then I lost myself (I think) to a moment of sheer terror as it occurred to me what I had assumed to be paint splats defacing some of the surrounding shop fronts were, in my mind, the splats of liquefied flesh.

I have some reason and much more unreason to believe the image below represents all that is left of a visitor to Wood Street Plaza. You may rationalise and say this is all that a visitor left but that is just the splitting of a semantic hair.  




Below, is that all that is left of another visitor to one of Wood Street's sites of renewal? Were - are - flesh eating ghosts afoot in Wood Street?




As I hurriedly left the plaza I passed close to one of the illuminated trees. I could not believe it. If you think you are looking at a photograph of a tree partially dressed with light bulbs then you are mistaken. Those spots of light are genetically modified glow in the dark fungal spores devouring the tree. It may look pretty but it really isn't.

This place wants to eat me!


What a disaster. My walks are supposed to be reviving constitutionals and yet by the time I got home I was in a state of absolute raggedy nervousness - hardly one in which to return to the exactitude's of online curatorial responsibility. I resorted to another consolation, reading, in the hope of more success. I picked up my copy of Electric Eden (Rob Young) and dived straight into Chapter 15, Paradise Enclosed.

Strangely, the chapter begins with the analysis of the word, 'weird'. Mr Young writes, 'for all its current over-use as a signifier of oddity, the word 'weird' derives its power from ancient Germanic roots. 'Wurthis' meant 'to turn' or 'wind'; the words inherent sense of movement led to the modern German 'werden', 'to become' (literally, 'to turn into'). From 'werden', Old English derived the word 'wyrd', meaning 'destiny' or 'fate': in other words, the condition to which your becoming brings you'.

Was it my fate to be tree food and in turn to become a source of light? Is Wood Street plaza a new site for devotion to the myth of Yggdrasil ? Rob Young's enclosed Paradise recalls Utopia's various remakes in English fields, starting in the 'concentration of the latter day 'weird Albion' that is Glastonbury and more specifically, Worthy Farm's fields at Pilton - home to Glastonbury Festival.
Could Wood Street be a newly discovered site of Avalonian energies - a place, to quote Andrew Kerr ( a co founder of Glastonbury Festival), to 'stimulate the Earth's nervous system with joy, appreciation and happiness'?

It is a shame the tree of Wood Street plaza before is no longer with us - for it would have been the ideal tree around which to dance a merry dance of cosmic invigoration and celebration of the inevitable.

Lucas Cranach the Elder - The Golden Age, 1530






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