We Weave and Heft by the River was an all-night, socially-engaged event facilitated by the Coastal Reading Group that explored ways to grieve for the tremendous loss of non-human species and their ecological habitats during this historic, geologic, cultural moment. We held this event at Landscape, Language and the Sublime symposium and creative gathering in Devon, England at the end of June 2016.
There is an established narrative in which the world shrinks, distances are overcome and rendered insignificant, and the near and the far lose their salience as means of orientation and understanding. Yet, within this narrative, new distances are equally felt and observed to have opened up. New distances between and amongst us, multiplying distances of indifference, incomprehension and antagonism. And felt distances also between ourselves and ‘land’ and ‘nature’ – a sense of separation, alienation and loss which it then becomes imperative, ethically and environmentally, to overcome.
This paper demonstrates a practical application of Bachelard’s assertions about the abstract relationship between the materiality, movement and liquidity of water as synonymous with language in his essay “Water’s Voice”. In this he claims “Liquidity is the very desire of language. Language needs to flow” and argues that there is a euphonic relationship between water and its human echo (language). Using “directives” from “Water’s Voice” this paper explores performative writing methods that reflect musical processes such as improvisation and composition to “converse” with the sea.
Much of my creative practice involves negotiating the periphery of thin places. In this context I mean thin in the Celtic sense of a thin veil between one mode of being-in-place and another. Passing through this veil can feel like slipping a gear or missing the final step when descending a staircase in the dark. Sometimes I experience this privately. My interior ‘thin place’ is encountered in my practice when a way of working slips into an iteration of an idea previously expressed and then forgotten – a personal haunting. Or an overheard conversation on a bus, or the discovery of a book in a secondhand bookshop, become serendipitous findings, speaking directly to an idea that had been half-formed, incubating or dormant until that moment.
A site-specific walk that traces the palings and earthworks of North Wood – Dartington Hall’s deer enclosure – reflecting on the imperfect overlay of the park’s several palings and enclosures and their relation to later land enclosures, its former gateways for entry and exit, and areas that have been disparked and given back to the ‘open’.
We live in a world in which it seems impossible to look upon landscape in the same way that we used to. These days, what we find is a landscape marked by hybridization, fragmentation and imprecision. The dispersed landscapes known as urban sprawl are the result of a number of factors: the rapid expansion in tertiary industries and tourism; the technological revolution; the boom in real estate and even the effects of a certain crisis in public space (Nogué 2009: 120). Our society is defined by movement, intermixing, globalism and speed. Thus, we have landscapes that are ever changing, discontinuous, artificial, cloned and repeated everywhere. It seems, therefore, that it no longer makes sense to speak of the purity of landscapes and that a certain amount of tact is now required when associating a landscape with a narrative of identity in which the individual and society are rooted.