Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Don't Miss Today

Waving Leaves,
Weaving Lives,
Wavering, Leaves.

In the past week i have been likened to Jesus and Moses, simply an aesthetic connection I assume, I aim to keep my miracles to myself. It is strange how a beard can make one appear messianic.

I was hoping to get a song finished this week but none have come forward. It would appear I can't sing this evening. I bet Jesus could nail it...

Bone Snow Knives and Tin Oil Lamps

I have been busy this week, but amongst other healthy demands on my time I have had some time to really get stuck into some reading and have made some really good finds. The kind of words that somehow seem to solidify a lot intangible thoughts and seemingly unrelated ideas. They do not necessarily make the ideas immediately obvious but certainly seem to be a rung on the ladder.

From a book a friend sent my recently, I have been fascinated with a certain diagrammatic representation of a history of the Sioux . The chart plots a kind of time line of the these people that is simply marked by event. Clearly they were aware of the change of the seasons and of the passing of days, probably far more than we are now, more closely in tune, but the need for calendaring this information appears to be in their eyes unnecessary. Far more important is the, in this case, pictorial representation of, documenting important events. This seems to relate to a way of viewing time in many Native American Indians, and also many strong indigenous cultures, such as the Mayans and Eskimos.

Some Eskimo groups mythology see time differently from western 'civilised' selves. Historical and mythical reality are not the 'past', they are forever present, participating in all current being, giving meaning to all their activities and to all their existence. The past is present.Wherever they go, their surroundings have meaning for them, every rock, ruin and element of their landscape have mythical significance.

For many of these peoples, time has a far less tangible quality, this may indeed be a truer way of viewing time. How do we know tie is constant, we do not even know the origins of time, yet our Western world revolves around some invented measure of this incorporeal concept. Creation stories tell of a time before time, before the creation of the world, where beings looked upon the birth of the creator, of the fashioning of this time.

It is easy to forget how culturally restrained major concepts and even senses are. The Aivilik (an Eskimo group) have no word for history. To distinguish between different kinds of occasions they will say, for example, eetchuk, that is "time before time". not a previous phase of this time, but a different kind of time. MAterial objects, songs, prayers and stories can psess the pastas an attribute. I read about an ethnographer who when attempting to record an Elder's autobiography had to chronolgise events in a way he could understand as when speaking Ohnainewk would work backwards and forwards with ommissions and repetitions, seemingly uninterested in a 'typical' narrative structure.

This even carries through to their art which Martijn describes as an 'acoustic art', relying more on auditory than on ocular powers in aprehending reality. Traditional carvers would not preoccupy themselves with the task of placing a carving ina deliberate setting, mood or time, each carving 'lives in a spatial independence. Size and shape, proportions and slection, these are set by the object itself, not forced from without. Like sound, each carving creates its own space, its own identity and imposes its own assumptions'. (Eskimo Carvings in Historical Perspective.)
They do not represent static moments in time. They are small and easily handled, they lack a single, favoured side for viewing, achieving multpile perspectives. The soapstone carvings we see today from Eskimo cultures are largely inspired by the wishes of white men travelling through in search of trinkets and keepsakes, the proliferation of which came about when the Eskimos realised they could make money from the tourist trade, and began to represent domestic or outdoor scenes.

Everything is in mythology, and everything in mythology is and is together.

Some drawings
(apologies for use of photo booth, I forgot my camera)

A story:

Hi, High, Hill!

The weather forecast says heavy rain, storm, snow. The cottage, the site, Low Wray, the rain. Tom, the man, the national trust, his eyes, calm, gentle, honest, slight. The Outgate Inn, creepy, the couple signs above the bar, she reads them out, he ignores her, looks at the cricket painting, sighs, indifference. You say you are drunk, I hold the torch in the dark. The rain falls through the night, tapping on the tent, the sleep is cold, pushed to one side, against the canvas wall.

We wake, rain, indecision, we buy a map, waterproof paper, we walk. Green and luscious, moss covers everything, so much is green, so much green, around the lake and up. Long walk. I fall, embarrassed. Coffee and Kendal Mint Cake, they talk of hair, on backs, chests and women. Five Hellos. Up from the lake, towards the tarn. Tarn, torn, taw. The sun comes out, we go swimming in the tarn, we rest our feet. Cold in the instance, instantly freezing, clean and bright, slight of breath and blood to the head. I sink my chest, in up to my beard, you stand bottom dipped, arms held safe, we hold each other, sun on the side of our faces.

We remove our pants and walk on free, it feels American. The trees, tall slim, consistent in width, regular in branch, they creak in the wind as if they are regretful of growing so high. You stop to take photos, again and again as if you have never seen trees before. The map comes out, i find it endearing, a constant need to know, you are defensive of my glances, you snare them. Old Joy. We walk, long walk, misjudge our position, miss roads, ignore signs, Hole House, High-Tock-How. Tired legs, feigning tantrums, we trudge on, collective persistence, empty of stomach but wanton of little, a seat, soup, bread, ale. We reach the outpost, walk back slowly, sit by the lake, watch the ducks, they sit like the couple from the Inn the previous night, early to bed, calm to sleep. Jack Mountain and Luigi Milano, home, welcome.

We awake, wash, collapse the tent, you daydream. Taxi to the station, coffee, worry heart, train, we doze, between stops and changes and more coffee and delays. Houses near, with all its worries, concerns and distractions, this feels like goodbye. We get the bus, it is cheaper here, we delay with tea and I leave, bathe and sleep. A distant memory but a resounding feeling, re-sounding still now, in my ears, eyes and feet, still emanating through me. Such an ease of company and a light beauty, at once so temporary in experience but existent in its permanence. An eternal and internal peace and happiness. Trust a feeling before a forecast.

Work is progressing for our input in the next Project Space Leeds show and our forthcoming show in Newcastle in 5 weeks.

Bad Leg

Something less pretentious
poet/musician Edward Barton
Square Bears

A Recipe

Peanut Butter Banana
one banana, slit along inside curve (but not halved)
spread peanut butter (crunchy) into the crevice
grill, 5 minutes both sides, until the skin is crispy

grants me solace in a dairy free world

Speak to you soon

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