#CrouchHill Banbury #Public View #Camberwellual

Louise messaged me this photo of the yarrow emerging on the morning on the Public View…

Better late than never…YARROW

Some of the people who had been involved in the events, gathered over the evening at the summit.

Several of us were broadcasting the event via Periscope and others who had been involved but couldn’t be there in person ‘hopped on’…

Some people managed both- to be there at a distance and then join in person…


Some of the sharing paraphernalia…

People brought Champagne and flowers



The Covenant of Salt, ‘Twitter’ chocolates, and Mystic Writing pads were enjoyed by many… even those who claimed no artistic talent!

Games had unexpected winners..or no winners at all depending on the play.

People were Periscoping people Periscoping people Periscoping ………etc


Clara Duran was taking photos of the Summer Show in Camberwell at the same time, and watching proceedings on Periscope on Jonathan’s phone ( see later)

I hadn’t realised that they had also announced Clara and my Residency Award in Norway  at the award ceremony.


Here are images of some of the group’s work : Clara, Tristan ( our work has some similarities..) Pete ( who I have still never met!), Pascale, Donald, Yvonne and Sharon


Some examples of the simultaneous images taken and simultaneous events ( if the clocks on our phones and cameras and image files are to be believed ) in Camberwell and on Crouch Hill.









Below are some screen shots which show the involvement of the Periscope audience when I went to find Clare Carswell, who also took many of the documentation photos – Thanks Clare)

She had been following proceedings on the phone but then drove to the Hill to try to find us.

I had thought of putting up signs but it would have changed the event and the Happenstance element for people who hadn’t had direct invitations

Also it was fun to see people randomly wandering around, getting lost, finding each other, talking to strangers, and eventually finding us at the summit!


‘ I’ve never seen so many Lost People!’ – Thanks JimStr

People made it to the top, physically and via our Live streams.


Drawing time is Catherine Lette,  who was documenting her visit to the Summer Show Private View in Wilson Road, Camberwell and simultaneous experience of Crouch Hill, Public View and some of my work in the process

The Screen shots below are from my Stream


These are from Catherine’s @drawingtime phone and stream


These are from Sharon Bertram’s


Here’s an example of chat during the stream…Anything from dog snacks to Brexit

Which at least gives it some time-reference.

Importantly, people  visiting the Show did seem to be accessing the Periscope Broadcasts at least via the Twitter feed from the Username on the Chocolates!

[EDIT 21st July:  There were large numbers in the LiveStream Audience by the end of the Show – over 700 for the last broadcast ]


Finishing with some amusing screen shot showing middle-ages people whth Glo=Stick necklaces.

I’ll never forget wending our way down the Hill carrying the tent etc, winding through the woodland in the dusk, Glo-necklaces bobbing up and down in the distance…Sadly not on the Broadcast


The event went well with some good interaction and a reasonable audience in both ‘locations’, from 30- 159 on the stream…not that I’m counting! ( Ha!)


May 1st 2016 #Crouch Hill #apreoccupation

Even before this MA I’d had an underlying desire to be at the top of Crouch Hill for May Morning! Many years ago, I’d heard Simon Pipe, a lover of ritual and founder of the local Hobby Horse festival, say that there had been a ritual horn blowing in(?) pagan times, and not forgotten it.

My research process seemed to have lead to this point and location, so I planned an event for May 1st 2016; conveniently, a Sunday. There are a multiplicity of rituals and attached meanings associated with 1st May described here in the Independent 2016 , Daily Mirror 2016  and The Guardian 2012 . Some traditional British folk-lore, similar customs in other nations, and political associations. The intention of the actions within this event are to make manifest some of the hidden ‘layers’ of embedded  but obscured or partially erased personal and locally collective meanings, whilst possibly uncovering cultural and social hegemonies and ideologies: building on previous research actions and events.

 Format for the Day

I continued to do this using a series of props and materials and ritual(istic) activities, starting the day with a solitary ritual at daybreak, followed by other events.

I had arranged for various contacts to, physically, come to the Hill throughout the day and participate. The people who were able to come on the day were a selection of those originally approached, coming at their convenience. Others approached could not come and may or may not participate at another time..

Several were to deliver and discuss topics relating to my research.

Others acted as observer/ participants/ witnesses   – asked to download the Periscope and Twitter  apps : broadcasting the same events from differing points of view.

All were sent short summaries of the ideas in my research paper ( as circulated to my on-line cohort for the research paper session) . I also talked to them briefly about Crouch Hill and practical plans for the day.- playings a loose directorial role.

Using TED Talks as a guide, I suggested that each of the contributors talked for 18 minutes (or less ) about Crouch Hill from their personal and professional perspective, without the content becoming an  academic discourse. Accessibility  and  audience was important.

I chose the TED Talk format because of their mission of ” Ideas Worth Spreading” which is key to the concept of “Broadcast” and the  metaphorical association with casting seed for germination.

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. http://www.ted.com

Those who were able to come were:

  • A photographer/ sound- artist  (in Wales via mobile phone)  with an interest in time-based work and the environment.
  • An amateur local archaeologist/artist , with an interest in heritage who is researching another nearby site.
  • An anthropologist/ archaeologist who has lived with and researched  nomadic tribes
  • a senior town-planner, now working in the private residential planning sector in the UK but whose origins are Leningrad, Soviet Russia 
  • a local poet, with a particular literary interest in Proust, Sebald and Benjamin and a professional background working as a Civil Servant on policy for the Department of Health 
  • a textile artist with a professional background in theatre. (National and Royal Shakespeare Theatre) 
  • a support ‘tech’ to help carry things! and join in with the broadcast chat was unable to participate fully due to having to take her dog to the vet.
  • another support ‘observer/ witness’ was sick and unable to come on the day.

I asked all to download the Periscope and Twitter apps where possible : broadcasting the same events from differing points of view and acting as witnesses as well as  participants

Daybreak Horn and Bonfire 

I reached the summit at about 5.30am, having spoken to participant collaborator, Martin W in Mid-Wales  at 5.18 as I left. He often gets up for May Day Morning at his house in Mid-Wales and we’d agreed that we would see the sunrise ‘together’. On the summit there was thick frost and it felt more like January than May. I turned to look for the rising sun and it was visible  above the Trig Point as I looked east. Just visible between the unusually, still leafless trees. I sounded a battery bicycle horn,  (an autobiographical reference) three times at approx 05.36am BST, the official time of sunrise…..but maybe I was a few minutes late….. and then started to make a ‘Beltane’ bonfire.Frame-17-06-2016-12-14-37

Martin W was at the top of his local hill (Trembyd), with the “landed festival” in the Wye valley below (Midpoint of sunrise 05.45 BST ) and attempt at simultaneity but he has no smartphone and so no archived Periscope chat to prove it!…. Just his photo below.Beltane_2016_0

Bonfire and music

The bonfire was created from cassette tapes, recorded from the radio without even using an external mic, by my father many years ago. I  tracked down digital versions of the content on iTunes and mixed them in Garageband.

Selecting the clips to use and then overlaying the tracks was interesting.

I haven’t worked in Garageband that much before. I considered using Audacity but wanted to make a fairly quick piece and despite the sessions I’d had , didn’t really feel confident using it for mixing. (Ha !) Sound quality did not have to be that good. All I wanted to do was play the mix track from my old phone via a Bluetooth speaker as before. The music was intended to be, like the action, pretty raw and unfinished… not high production.

In the end the mix took 3 days or more …..Finding exactly the same music by the same orchestras and string quartets where possible, ( he’d recorded these pieces because they were hard to find on vinyl…. mostly not run of the mill stuff) downloading it, selecting the clips, overlaying with just enough space between tracks  so the segue’d in without being too contrived….making things appear chaotic can be so time consuming…… Quite the opposite of my supposed  methodology, the continual contrast and paradox between the obsessive archiving, editing and remediation of the material and the ephemerality of the event. This almost acts as a commentary on the contemporary obsessiveness with archive and memory which contrasts with the intransigence of life…. if this isn’t too much of a cliche!

I tried to upload the mix on to Soundcloud but it was rejected due to Copyright 

SoundCloud :Hi OldRh,Our automatic content protection system has detected that your track:“Mix Of Analogue Music For May Day 6 – 30 04 2016, 13.46” may contain the following copyrighted content: “String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13: Adagio non lento” by Alban Berg Quartett owned by Warner Classics. As a result, your track has been removed from your profile for the time being.

But here it is in Clyp in full


The aim was that as the cassettes burned the music sounded as if it was emanating from each clip that caught fire….as the fire spread…. so the music ebbed and flowed with the flames.


 Audience  and Analysis ( Daybreak and Bonfire) 

Was I doing this for a Periscope audience…at 5.30 in the morning…UK time…..?

I realised when I chose the tapes as material, that I was carrying this ritual for myself. My father died 16 years ago and I have kept the tapes to use in work. I wanted to hear the music on those tapes…. to bring it, briefly and temporarily, alive. The last track, playing as the embers smoke, is John Taverner’s Eternal Memory for Cello and String Orchestra played by the Royal Philharmonic

May Day Morning, with the association with passing of old life to new, seemed a good time to use them. A rather literal, symbolic personal ritual.

For the Broadcasts I used the #apreoccupation #Crouch Hill – a reference to a hesitant, playful activism in a public but privately owned space, the use of the tent and my own as an artist and individual.

[I discovered that it is not common land at the summit but still privately owned with public access/ rights of way)… though no designated Public Footpath.]

There were 3 live viewers and 3 Replay for the horn blowing and up to 17 for the last of 3 Live Broadcasts of the bonfire. I had to stream in 3 steps because of the different view points.. using the top of the Trig Point as a support for the 1st, longer distance, and use of a tripod for the second, close up. This part of the process felt rather contrived because of the use of the various bits of albeit low tech ‘stuff’.

I made the decision to go up the Hill alone, which meant that it broadcasting would have been practically very difficult without using tripods and holders.

I did try lighting the matches and holding the phone, but it wasn’t easy. Not holding the phone or being able to look at it meant that I couldn’t chat to the viewers but this action was most definitely a solitary ritual, with observers rather than participants. Despite some technical hitches with the rather intermittent Bluetoothing of the music, which is all part of my rather ad hoc approach to the action, and adds to the contingency  at the time of enactment ( in contrast to the preparation!),  the ritual was moving, significant  and affective to perform. Had also taken the plunge and upgraded to a new iPhone SE, as I really needed to improve the quality of the stream.

The video documentation on Youtube demonstrates this…


I made the decision again to  keep recordings of this event, purely for the purpose of refection and analysis ( or at least that’s what I tell myself!)….  a paradox of ephemerality and archiving.…It is now possible, with my iPhone SE to save a screen recording, complete with chat as text and hearts, direct from phone to Desktop, which is much quicker and simpler than via the Desktop App…. too easy……The compulsion to Save.


After the bonfire I walked home down the Hill, rested and had breakfast, saved the screen recordings and made further preparations  for a  trip up the Hill with anthropologist/archaeologist, Damon Dennis.

Ritual and space  

Damon talked about May Day as a ritual in different cultures attracting questions regarding the practices he described. I was able to see the chat this time, as I was in the tent. We also discussed my thoughts of ritual within space, positioned as I was within my ‘green tent, at that time; in that place’. At least one dog walker passed by. I was unaware of any other. We talked for around 50 minutes… I was unaware of the time passing. I was trying hard to recall  Levis Strauss, Marcel Mauss, Victor Turner and  Eric Rothenbhuler’s key thoughts on ritual and ritual process- liminality, rites of passage, exchange, performativity  etc  and put it into some personal context for that moment, in that space,but found it very difficult …. I could not assimilate….or dissemninate…

Here’s a Wiki link… for summary and simplicity …any inaccuracies are fitting within the conceit of this project… and an edited clip

Archaeology, landscape and memory

Claire talked about the phenomenology of the landscape and the work of Christopher Tilley, personal recollections and coincidence...the book mark in the text she chose was a childhood birthday card, sent by an aunt who used to take Claire’s brother to Crouch Hill for picnic and some of the local history from her own research …Claire’s broadcast the sun- glare  made it  more or less impossible. Still a reasonable audience though.

Damon and her led a short Urban Dig, looking at recent archaeological ‘finds’ at the summit, again with great participation from the viewers.

I went back down the hill to greet Irina whilst Louise broadcast, explained and answered questions as Claire continued her dig.

Irina brought printouts of images and imagery as flags to serve as  prompts to her personal memories of May Day Parade in ‘70’s Soviet Leningrad with her mother. She showed images relating to the history and collective memories embedded within it. Then I sat in my tent, with her outside in the sunshine, so that we could chat with some of the viewers. By ‘coincidence’ one was a Russian who planned to play football in a nearby  (500km away) town. Ira chatted in Russian, discussing their support of local teams.

I took the viewers on a short tour around the landscape and discussed the site and context.Through the trees, walking the narrow path to the summit appeared more participants .


Three other participants joined us; Damon and Claire left. I set out the Monopoly and replenished the refreshments. I had brought a teapot with cups, saucers and ‘tray cloth’ along with biscuits and fruit… to ‘make an occasion of it.’ I laid out an old London Monopoly board and everyone set up a game. This was a fairly simple link to an underlying capitalism within British culture but also to the distress and discomfort felt by many people living close to the Hill, as large new residential estates are being built by property developers within a quarter of a mile. The boundary  which runs next to the Hill, an ancient trackway, has been broken, with the Hill ( and town)  becoming surrounded by new developments.Although playing the game uses strategy and tactics, there is also chance ( throwing of the dice, content of Chance cards) and community ( Community Chest cards, Jail, utilities and transport), plus the need for selection of a token of personal representation.

I was aware that Monopoly was possibly difficult to access in Ira’s USSR. Monopoly was apparently created in 1903, before the Great Depression, by American anti- capitalist Lizzie J. Magie Phillips. She created the game as an educational tool to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies although the myth is that it was invented by game-designer, Charles Darrow. Magie Phillips was feminist, writer and poet, on themes of justice and inequality. I have heard the view that Monopoly was indeed a feminist game, as it gave women a chance to ‘have  control over their own money’.

During the playing of the game and the chat between players, viewers and myself.. many of these political and cultural issues were illuminated,  through the conversation and behaviour of the group. I was aware of the perfomativity of the game-play and the ritual behaviour both within and without the game itself

A New Folklore

Originally, Frances had discussed the possibility of bringing some personal objects for autobiographical reflection, however, when she arrived she had some props to demonstrate a May Day ritual she had extrapolated from the internet. A humorous but critical  juxtaposition of old and new, with some adaptations and confusion as the May blossom was not in flower. All the trees were about 4 weeks behind the usual flowering times.

The manner in which she guided me and the viewers through the ritual process really engaged the audience in the participation, performance and creation of the ritual with some shared conversation about the creation of contemporary folklore and myth; and the role of the Internet ( and Wikipedia) in that creation.

Pagan Poem and Proust

I spent some time in early March discussing Benjamin’s The Arcades Project with Martin and its relevance to my Research Paper and process, as an example of  fragmentation and unfinished work and palimpsest  multi-layering. I’d also  listened to his thoughts on Proust and memory, as part of a Memorials Moving and Invisible   , a walk near Edgehill Battlefield site and MOD Kineton. I had heard his Poetry at Beatnik Boulevard .

I’d  expected  him to talk  about Proust, especially as Crouch Hill is covered with hawthorn ( May) and Proust often refers to  it, along with metaphors for  memory. However, when he spoke on the broadcast he read a poem and then talked more about the notion of voluntary and involuntary memory and it’s relationship to physicality, sensation of movement and placement of a part of the body, to the  feel  of an object.

We went back to the Monopoly game, only to find he had been sent to jail in his absence.

Together we packed up and walked through the trees and down the Hill.

 Analysis Summary

The summit of the hill, and the surroundings developed and became ‘other’ as the various activities and actions during the day unfolded and as it was linked and merged with other global spaces through the Broadcasting network. Local visitors also folded in and out of the space during the day as differing relations were produced. The proportion of my directorial control vs contingency worked well, for the collaborative pieces brought and broadcast by the participants and the dipping in and out of viewers’ chat in the Broadcasts.The planning time seemed to have been sufficient and the spontaneity ‘sufficient’ as participants often surprised me with their contributions. The main themes of my Research Paper were made manifest, even if there was level of complexity which led to partial obscuring. This is what I am keen to achieve as it references ‘ palimpsest-ness’ within becoming action  and over time, but it is getting the balance right that  is possibly tricky  from the point of view of an audience….even though different audiences interpret differently.

The experimentation with multiple broadcasters didn’t work so well as some contributors were unable to come or download the app. However, I already have so much film it is hard to analyse and I really feel it is not a priority at the moment. This may change and I have got screen recorded documentation to be able to do that.

Viewer interaction could be better and in future I may buy a screen hood to help with sun glare.

The contributors seems pleased to work in this way and the event flowed naturally. There are  questions about the role of performance, ritual and the separation of the performer(s)  from the audience, witnessing  and the reflexivity of those relationships in this work which  always crop up.Compared with the St George’s Day event, this was both intimate and connected and felt truly ‘shared’ across all networks.

Creative Dementia Arts Conference 2016


This years conference was at St Hugh’s College, Oxford 14th and 15th April 2016.

My original proposal for this MA  ( as I remember it!) was  based on autobiographical and collective memory and I had some idea, I think, of linking my community -based work with my practice. I’ll explore how these links have developed and unravelled in another post but I’m including this resume of the conference to reference specific uses of digital technology and also a project I became aware of that I will follow up in the future, post-MA.

From a Networking Point of view the conference is always useful meeting with colleagues, Clare Carswell who is Lights Up Co-ordinator.

Lights up is a Monthly arts group for people with Dementia and their carers in West Oxfordshire. I have worked with the group on several occasions and work from the group was exhibited at an exhibition in January, curated and installed by Clare.

Hannah Cervenka ( who Co-ordinates Taking Part which helps to fund Community practice in the area) and Paula Bailey ( who I worked with on the Banbury Old Town Party community event for several years).  Both are Arts Development Officers for Cherwell District Council,  Karey Morley, who facilitates the ‘Times Gone By’ Reminiscence group at  Banbury Museum were also there and I had a great discussion about Community Practice with Pam Foley, sculptor amongst others.

Frames of Mind

The key elements of the Conference for me were the Workshop by Salmagundi Films , a not for profit arts organisation founded in 2004 by Zoe Flynn and Bo Chapman and based in Stratford, East London

Their workshop highlighted their use of iPads for people with dementia in care homes, framesofmind_300.png

“Frames Of Mind® (FOM) is our concept of using Stop Frame Animation as a therapeutic communication tool. With Animation anything can happen. It is a creative process which encourages the use of visual metaphors, to think outside the box, and this liberation from the ‘literal’ can enable participants to explore and communicate potentially difficult or sensitive issues.”

There is an article published in Dementia Care which gives further insight into their work.


I have tried to introduce Google Maps as a Reminiscence tool but have limited success. Working as a sole practitioner is  restrictive unless I work 1:1 or 1:2 which isn’t possible in the places where I work or with the groups that I facilitate, at the moment.

In the case of Frames of Mind there was funding to include Care staff in the project for training and supply of iPads to the homes for (in theory) a sustainable project. This goes back to the need discussed in a past post about working as an individual rather than a company…for funding and commissioning purposes.

For the future this may be the only way for me to go as a Community Artist……

We worked through the process of making a personal portrait and also saw how Stop Frame animation could used to make short autobiographical films for  people with dementia using personal objects or photos.

I don’t have an iPad but will invest in one, play around with the drawing apps and some stop-frame  and introduce the technology to some individuals and staff in the groups I work with. Too good an opportunity to miss. Again it will have to wait a little while.

The hand- held quality of the iPad really helps make the experience intimate and personal. Much more so than a lap-top which  can  seem too threatening to much older people.

UAL and Dementia Research

In one of the (many) leaflets I picked up There was a call for Papers for the Royal Society for Public Health Conference in 2017 on the Arts and Dementia. For the therapeutic nature of the arts to be recognised and researched is  a huge leap. The Research is both Qualitative and Quantitative which means it  can be used to attract funding and help reduce other costs! Dr. Hannah Zeilig from London College of Fashion, UAL is one of the Organising Committee for the Conference.

Again something to Research when the MA is  completed  to  consolidate my personal and community practice.

Sharing memories of Santillana del Mar

Connectivity: Problems and solutions

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to sort out the poor connectivity and pixelation problems with my Broadcasts.

Increasingly , people are hopping on and then dropping out. Although audience numbers as viewers on the scopes are not the reason for the work, it does mean that it is rendering the broadcasts ineffective, even if there are no viewers for other reasons… I appreciate that viewers are not enjoying the experience of the broadcasts and that the remediation is incomplete and inefficient.

I’ve investigated getting a new phone as mine is an iPhone 4S, reconditioned. I’ve  tried using a Vodafone SIM as this phone is unlocked, (Louise’s  Android works well on Vodaphone from this location) but with limited improvement

A new phone will have to wait a while until other avenues have been investigated, as I have a contract which is only due for renewal in July and the early upgrade fees are too high for me to afford.

After I’d broadcast as below I spent some more time in the tent playing around with my son’s Chromebook laptop which has 3G to see if I could get any sort of signal at all. I was hoping for a future event on May 1st to interview some people via Skype or replay some video material, show images and text from a laptop via Periscope for discussion. However no signal was available and as my phone signal ( 3 or vodaphone) is not so strong or reliable I could’t use either as hotspot.

I was playing around in the tent with two laptops, three phones and 2 SIMs when a couple came past walking their dog. I explained what I was doing in the tent with photographs, slides, laptops, miniature clogs etc  and why……They understood and were interested. Their  son is an art student at Kingston School of Art….

Sharing the memories

After having the conversation with Andrea from Asturias during the Yes and No game, about Santillana del Mar. I arranged a time when we could meet via Periscope to show here some of my ‘memorabilia’! Photographs, maps, slides, souvenirs and postcards …all shown via Periscope.

I contacted her via Twitter @andrepr3 along with some of the other people who’d been in the chat and were interested in coming along.  I ‘ve posted the link here  to the messages rather than a screen shot. When I realised that she wasn’t able to make the Broadcast as she was playing football somewhere else at the time I posted some of the images on Twitter as well, scanned for the original slides and photographs.

I spent a very long time trying to find replacement bulbs both in local shops and on-line, for the hand-held Boots 2000 35mm battery Slide viewer that you can just see in the clip  and is like this one here...if it still is on Ebay! but in the end, no success… I tried to hold the slides up to the phone camera and into the sun…. but of course it was useless… that was the point of the exercise really! A fascinating analogue/ digital juxtaposition though in what I hope was a humorously nostalgic action.

I had hoped to project some of the slides by saving the digital images to my phone and projecting from a battery powered Pico projector but sadly the tent isn’t dark enough ( I did try this earlier on when I first used the tent.

There is of course no power source for a mains projector.Using a generator would not be practical in this location and also makes the whole event too semi-permanent and controlled.

Above is a short edit of the broadcast saved to Katch with the Tweets on either side.

I made the video for the Final Symposium video but had to cut it because of time.

As I upload it it will be posted to Twitter via YouTube.

The edited version of this post will also be posted on Twitter… both  somewhat out of the timeframe…as I am finally posting from a draft in June!


An example of continuing re-mediation of archive and memory over time, temporality of space, networks of social space, linked to mapped space and simultaneity in action. Along with the ritual of sharing and rendition of analogue images via a digital live stream network and this again, this blog.

There is also a re-animation of embodied memory through the action of sharing of the images and my story-telling as I shared my memories and ‘re-lived’ the trip myself.



Questioning the i Ching- games without frontiers continued

Following the trials in the studio I took the games up the Hill.

I tried unsuccessfully to play Mancala  with my ‘scoping technician, dog walker and friend Louise but the signal was poor, so not much  chat, and the dogs kept jumping on me… so we abandoned after 6 minutes.

I Ching

Louise went home and I stayed to read the i Ching. That wasn’t ‘ successful’ from the point of  view of interaction  either… but as an event and series of actions ..it was done, it happened.

I used the i Ching because strange associations I found with digital ‘roots’, and my practice.

I’ll summarise as follows:

  • The links between the iChing and binary code described in this piece in the Guardian by Damien Walters and also this Wikipage which shows the list of 64 iChing Hexagrams and their Unicode character codes… so there is another link here between contemporary and ancient writing of text and the writing of code…somehow a link with contemporary linguistics………
  • Reading Philip K Dick’s novel  recently – The Man in the High Castle, which investigates a world where Germany and Japan won WW 2 and America is occupied by the Axis forces. In this, the ancient Chinese oracle is consulted to make moral decisions. I’m interested in the boundaries between rationalism, empiricism and mysticism and where they are positioned in different cultures…historically and in the present.
  • Although I used cards for the divination here, traditionally Yarrow stalks are used. As a practising herbalist, I use Yarrow as a tool and medium, and some of the plant grows on the Hill. I hope to do further work with it when the plant has regrown in the spring. There is a link between the set, my ‘other’ practise, distant cultures, ritual practice of investigation into the future and distortions of time and the alternative realities of science fiction.

More Yes and No : closed questions about Time and Space

At the beginning of April I managed to repeat the Yes and No game, but up the Hill.

I don’t usually like repletion and rehearsal of an event within my work ( the rituals and traditions have their own system of repetition and aside of that) However,  goes ( and the icing) are repeated ritual practices, so this felt comfortable within the conceit of the work.

The questions, this time, are about Time and Space, introducing some of the issues I had been considering in my Research Paper.

Again, the Yes and No had a large number of participants, with lots of chat,between viewers and myself.

One viewer was from a place I visited many years ago on a memorable cycling trip to Northern Spain.

I promised to search out my photos and memorabilia of the trip and show her them in a subsequent broadcast,which we arranged during the chat.

Also, and this wasn’t the first time, someone asked if I was from Blackpool ( as they were)… this is a reference to my Username…san(d)growun.one grown from the sand

Links with site, personal autobiographical memory, present experience really did lead to a very intimate exchange and ,for me at least, feeling son attachment to the viewersand followers… at least during and shortly after the Scope.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 12.45.14Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 12.37.44

Laura Lancaster: Working from personal photographs (and Matt Collishaw)

Last night I went to the preview of Laura Lancaster  and Jan Vanriet at the New Art Gallery Walsall.

Both these artists work from photographs, Lancaster’s from discarded and forgotten images and Super 8 film, in flea markets and on eBay so with no personal attachment, and Vanriet’s the opposite, from family photographs and those of people in Nazi concentration camps ( where his parents met).

Both artists work has a strong association with memory, which is where I came in on the MA….seems like a long way back…

Whilst I am not working with this imagery at the moment, I have at the start of the course..cling film scans0011 Resized




IMG_0214150with these drawings on cling film  ( above)

and ‘found’ slides which I used in some projection experimentsAustralian Slides0033 Resized 150
plus these prints on acetate for projection

My work has moved more from personal to collective memory but I’m still interested in artists who do use this imagery for eg Jonny Briggs  whose work is very different from this!

All these artist above use photographs as a source with association with memory and time but in different ways.

For me, Lancaster’s paintings had a real painterly materiality and her delicate drawings on the found paper  such a contrasting fragility ( all in differing drawing styles, as if by different people…)Vanriet’s work was much more controlled and uses repeated images.Both shows were tender and poignant despite the size of the exhibits.

There is of course a huge contrast with Jonny Briggs, whose work is mainly photographic images.There is a PDF of Questions for Jonny Briggs 13.01.16   that I hope to be able to ask him about is work, at some point.

There was also a work by Matt Collishaw  ‘All things fall’  see these images and video. It was astounding. Made apparently using a 3d printer and took a year…..As or much of his work, very beautiful until on closer inspection…… not so in content.

Community -based work

I’m planning some workshops and a gallery visit for people with dementia in association with the local Demetia cafes, in association with the  Education Dept at NAGW based on the Laura Lancaster and Jan Vanriet exhibitions and will also start a series with other groups in my community-based work. Many people in the groups enjoy working from family photographs and referencing these artists may help me take them in quite a different direction by being able to discuss the context and prices of these works.


Generic mid winter fest and contemporary Collective ritual

My practice has a strong association with ritual practice , whether that is a community and widely observed festival or more everyday performance and action.

As we move into winter the festivals involving some sort of ‘bringing light into darkness’  emerge.

I’m not going to use this post to analyse the various origins, pagan and otherwise, of all the festivals but just to highlight the associations with memory, personal and collective which these apparently ‘celebrate.

Hallowe’en or Samhain is one that I have always enjoyed.

Since childhood I’ve made a lantern out of a turnip ( I’m from Lancashire!) and have strong memories of carrying one on string to the bus-stop and then to my grandma’s where I stayed the night in a bitterly cold room ( no central heating in those days…) covered by several eiderdowns, one a memorable satin-finish paisley pattern. Later apple- bobbing ,hair combing in the dark and seeing your future husband (!)  in the mirror behind you’!

What’s especially odd is that I remember joining the local Methodist Sunday School because they had such good social events from an astounding Harvest festival where the church was decorated  with Real Produce, not tins of stuff, but sheaves of corn and specially shaped loaves of bread, fruit and flowers. The scent of chrysanthemums comes back as I write…They also had a fab Hallowe’en party.I won a competition, I recall, dressed as a black cat, but there were witches a plenty. I doubt that many churches celebrate this festival now… This was before it became a fully fledged ‘Trick or Treat’ import from America and an opportunity to sell pumpkins..

I was always told, by my parents, about its association with memory of the dead and spirit- visitations and so its associations with the Pagan, Samhain.

This link  is quite entertaining and fairly informative.

What I find interesting is that cultures world-wide celebrate this day as a ‘Day-of-the-Dead” in different ways but a similar theme. Some from a mix of Catholicism and Pagan then exported and tied with local belief such as the Mexican and Aztec goddess belief  Not only have the beliefs and rituals  syncretised  but they are becoming, as generally, ‘things’ are’ more mobile and fluid.An essential part of ritual practice, I seem to remember from Victor Turner et al, is that the sites and more importantly , the dates, or periods of the practice are fixed. So despite Hallowe’en and Bonfire night being so close together , ‘in my day’ there were no fireworks until the 5th November and no Dressing-up as witches on the 5th November!

Now it seems that the Generic winter festival seems to extend from Hallowe’en ( with Fireworks beginning often before!) to sometime after New Year  ( even possibly beyond 12th Night!!! my God!) when the fireworks finally run out…..The festivals and accompanying memorialisation have more than syncretised.

I won’t start to unpick the social reasons for this, though it may have to do generally with the tendency  for ‘merge’ and the way that time  is no longer  fixed, with iPlayer and multichannel, Listen again, podcasts etc. so that there is less of this fixed collective activity generally.

Rather than get embroiled in such Social Analysis, which I may do another time…This post is really about the fact that I visited Crouch Hill on Hallowe’en and made  a series of Periscope Broadcasts. They were my first use of Periscope apart from one short trial when I downloaded the app. I did 5 Live broadcasts all together, varying length  from 2 minutes to a couple of longer ones of around 30 minutes at the end. They were mostly shared via my Twitter account  as you can see from this Screen shot

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 16.37.04

The Third broadcast was deleted from my Twitter feed.This was because, unexpectedly, as twilight fell (the most potent time for the barrier between the past and the present to dissolve – already at its thinnest at Hallowe’en- hence the spirit access…) , a colleague of mine, coincidentally, arrived at the summit where I was ‘Scoping, with her dog.She was cautious about her voice and our conversation being Broadcast and so I deleted the stream  and the Replay facility and we ‘checked’ the topics of our conversation cautiously

Here are is the list of Broadcasts I did on that day.


Below are the Videos of the first two ‘Scopes which saved to my video roll.

I deleted the third, for the reasons given above, and I think the 4th didn’t save as my battery failed and this means it doesn’t get saved to the video roll….I didn’t realise this until some ‘scopes later..

Shame really as it was a long Scope of 30 mins or so with me falling over ( twice) and dropping my phone, as I made my way down the hill, in the mud in the dusk, holding my phone and my stick, and my camera… Possibly not that sensible really…

I’ve made the first Scope Private as I met a family on the hill and although I explained what I was doing,and they were fine with the ‘Scope, I  don’t feel comfortable with having  a video accessible on-line ( Child Protection and all that..)

Password is available for viewing at my discretion.. EDIT APRIL 2016- I changed my mind and the privacy Settings as you can see..)

and here are some stills from the first Scope

The second scope is on Vimeo  here

Whilst I was Scoping I was also filming with my camera. Here are some stills from the camera footage I shot too , in several different takes.

Some Analysis

As usual I have chosen, mostly to use a pre- existing structure on which to rest the camera, so that it ‘becomes’ part of the environment – in this case the top of the Trig Point- so it is as if the structure is watching its environment..I did this a lot in the Reading Room. Using the tables, window sills  and serving hatch as support.

I really like this as a way of filming as it adds an element of ‘watchfulness’ I feel and, although I have some control over the composition, it is limited by the position and the environment and structure itself and more part of it, yet still an observer.

I have kept in the movements I make of the camera when adjusting its position, as if it is ‘ settling itself in’ before it starts to watch….

I will use these to make another piece later as things develop, possibly for re-Scoping..

They are available on my YouTube Channel here, with one edit only, where I have deleted any identifying conversation with my colleague as mentioned above.

Below are some stills just to show the basic aesthetic Essentially I was just hanging around the hill at a potent time of collective ritual with specific reference to memory, and experiencing whatever   past and contemporary ritual happens in this place.( walking  to the top! where there is a Trig Point)

Dusk gradually falling( time of day) – North

Colour in the evening sun (? atmosphere/ aesthetic of the place) – East

Sun descending – West



Hawthorn, a plant with an important place in ritual, superstition and social action, see this article and

My final walk up to the summit at dusk.

Chantal Ackerman and Ryan Gander

I went to see two exhibitions, Fieldwork Ryan Gander at the Lisson Gallery and NOW Chantal Ackerman at Ambika 3.

Ryan Gander Fieldwork 

I always enjoy Ryan Gander’s work for the wit and humour alone, always refreshing and never dull. I love having a good laugh in a Gallery, especially the Lisson.

The playfulness with which he presented ‘Found objects'(which weren’t ) on a conveyor belt reminiscent of ‘ The Generation Game’  and the ‘evidence’ of his Field work. As  the press release states ” the forms convened in Fieldwork are elliptic and opaque, starting stories for the viewer to invent or complete.” This is, of course, what I find most alluring about his work

One thing distressed me this time though. The artist’s second phone, which was a giant billboard installed outside the gallery displaying Gander’s phone number  was also a ‘fake’….either that or he just didn’t reply to my text…..  This reminded me of the work I made for the Interim Show last year – my work included a flyer with my mobile number on it……. Nobody called!


The artist’s second phone Ryan Gander   Image  from wertical.com

Chantal Ackerman NOW 


This show was altogether different. Apart from the difference in the exhibition space, which for Ambika is huge, underground and  grey concrete and the fact that Ackerman’s work is video not object, Ackerman had died, by suicide, some months before this exhibition opened.That changes how it is viewed.

I looked at the work but also at the way the pieces were displayed. Often with multiple linked but separate projections making the almost but not quite identical images, almost painfully slow-moving films became fragments of a remembered whole for me. Sometimes there were  multiple screens to be wandered through so that their material presence became more like the physical presence of people to be moved around in a crowd or of a landscape to be navigated.

This review in Art Forum January 2016 gives insight into her work which has resonance for me.

 “The slow-moving, almost amatory pace of Ackerman’s films suggests she was prepared to use her camera to patiently probe…..” Kathy Halbreich

“Ackerman’s films often place us in the position of observer. They do not offer any definite interpretation that tells us what to think or how to look. We are left guessing.” Babette Mangolte



Barbara’s ( Babs ) Funeral

Practical work isn’t going well. Actually its not going at all….I needed time to recover after the Liverpool trip.. that was last weekend.

Then on Tuesday afternoon, after work, I headed up to Salford for my mother’s cousin’s funeral the following day. This was ‘quite a do’, as they say. I haven’t been to Manchester since 1983…. or there about, apart from to change trains once when I went to Huddersfield to see David Blackburn  at his studio.

I’ve been through on the train, of course, but latterly this was to go and clear out my parents house….almost 15 years ago now. So, not only a funeral but more than the usual associated ‘box of memories’ was opened.

I’ll have to regard this journey and the funeral etc as ‘ practice’ as although affected, I was doing that ‘observing thing’ that I think we all do….

So this was a day or more of taking part in a ritual process of autobiographical and collective memory with reference s to ‘place’ and ‘space’ if place and space are  defined by and created by  social relations .

The location was important as I haven’t been to Barbara’s house and Salford for over 30 years. Salford is NOT the same as Manchester..as the community will tell you. There are still lots of people  ‘Salford born and bred’. I think there’s a Facebook page too… but there is for everything isn’t there.

Key points of my visit from a memory/ performance/ritual  pov.

  • Being met at the station by Wayne. He used to visit my house when young so remembers my family and family home (very few people I know now can do this )
  • Talking about individual memories of our chldhoods. Lots of not quite shared recollections…fragments which almost fitted together and some ‘plasticity’.. A Piano in my bedroom! No. My grandma’s dark glasses…Yes… but I had forgotten.
  • Talking about my parents made them ‘present’ again… rather than just memories of my past they were also such a large part of Wayne’s but his recollections ‘ brought them back to life’!
  • Going to his house. Would I recognise anywhere… Did he still live in the tower block?
  • Tower blocks demolished. They were built in the 60’s/ early 70’s?
  • Scenes of Salford, see below. I bought my chips from this Takeaway. I had a tour round Salford to find a chippy open on a Tuesday night.
  • Going to Barbara’s house which has just been refurbished by the council. It has already had a new street name....why do they do that…?
  • Meeting Lorraine after many years and her daughters and discussing common memories
  • Sharing memories with Barbara’s neighbours even though we had never met before…to my recollection.
  • Ritual of flowers and hearse.Following to crematorium and service,
  • Agecroft Crematorium- certainly a Site of Memory ( Pierre Nora) – kept (just about) for restoration
  •  Individual touches of a common ritual...A solo acapella version of “I will always Love you”, “Simply the Best”, Balloons outside for Babs and her brother Peter.
  • Food, Prosecco and karaoake at the Wellington
  • ‘That’s life‘ and Andy Williams- ‘Can’t get used to losing you’
  • Bus to our Wayne’s in the rain.
  • Walk across the Red Rec to pick up the car
  • Back to Mancs and walking through Victoria Station ( memories of trips home to B’pool and visit by Angie..) the Arndale centre ( memories of the IRA Bomb ), Piccadilly Circus ( nights out and queuing for taxis in the early hours).

I was deeply aware of the strong  sense of community, which sounds patronising, but  was palpable.

It was comforting to all those present including me but associated with this there can be problems, as there are in Salford with family ties leading in some cases to problems which have been demonstrated over recent years.

The effects of repeated ‘re-generation’ of poor housing have really affected the people living here as can be seen in this report

in the Salford Star .

What I couldn’t understand was how some of the old terraces ( like the one Barbara managed to buy as a single parent in the 60’s) had been compulsorily purchase and the owners rehoused in council houses ( ditto) but some of them are still standing and in reasonable nick whereas the tower blocks which replaced them have now been demolished too….

I was distressed by what has happened to this ‘place’ and so also to the community, and the violence which now defines the area.

Rant over but travelling round in the car, by foot , on the bus and following the hearse… Doreen Massey and Lefevbre were echoing in my head.The website below was interesting too and has an interesting article about

http://www.placemakingresource.com and this article about Archaeology and Place-Making

Worth another look.

Here are some photos and a couple of really crappy  phone videos… Well, I was in the pub at 3 o’clock in the afternoon… You’d expect it to be a bit wobbly.

I’m putting them here to remind myself of the event and the space created by Babs sudden absence.

That’s life: – tiny clip bad edit

Can’t get used to Losing You:


Control vs Contingency ?

FACT Liverpool  is a friendly and helpful art-space we visited on the Liverpool Trip Day 2 They combine art and creative technology : a cinema, exhibition space and cafe, with a hackspace with stuff like a 3 D printer, other art materials and resident artists. They hold children’s workshops, events and academic seminars.

On their events programme is a workshop by a sound artist I had forgotten ( appropriate!) abouImogen Stidworthy, Her work is about language a prompt to look at it again…

and this, about language after a stroke.

The main exhibition here was Lesions in the Landscape  by Shona Illingworth whose work I have interested in before.

It has background of detailed research in to memory studies is a collaborative project with a neuropsychologist, Martin A Conway who I think she worked with in her project Balnkiel which I wrote about here 

University of Kent- Lesions in the Landscape

There were 3 large screens and immersive sound from a large number of speakers which apparently were placed with great precision to give the effect of sound which moved all the time around the space. There were also maps, GPS print outs and 3D- printed lesions from inside the brain of the person, Claire, whose amnesia is at the centre of the project.

The link above  shows  the points of reference  from the projects point of view.

See also the video

I just found the strangest of coincidences!... her father The Blind Watchmaker (in her work of the same name) was born in the same place as me! Thornton-Cleveleys in Lancashire…

Lesions in the Landscape is described as the examination of amnesia from an individual and social point of view. It is based on the experience of a woman living with amnesia and interlinks this with with an exploration of the island of St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides which was compulsorily evacuated ? to make way for an MOD station.

There was also an Amnesia Museum with archive maps,  photographs and sound work from EEG and Senscam images  with  neurological diagrams.

You could also wear a Senscam and navigate around a space.

The brochure states

 How do our individual and collective memories influence our understanding of society?

 Shona Illingworth’s new multi-screen installation reveals the devastating effects of amnesia on one woman and the parallels with the evacuation of St Kilda in 1930.

The culmination of a three-year research project in collaboration with neuropsychologists Martin A Conway and Catherine Loveday, the exhibition examines the implications of memory loss on identity, space and the capacity to imagine the future.


There is something I find difficult about her work and I don’t know what it is.

It was very powerful and moving; very affective.

Filmed in black and white, from a boat I think sometimes and sometimes from the air tracking people moving across the landscape of St Kilda with torches.I really enjoyed watching it and it is very well made, carefully crafted. There are cinematographers, sound recorders and others involved.

So what is it I don’t like that makes me feel uncomfortable about her work?

I felt it with Balnakiel too……..

The only thing I can think is that there is  too much production.

Clare, the patient,  was taken to St Kilda… I somehow feel  uncomfortable with that… the   ethics…a patient being used in the art work… I guess she was happy to do it and I have ‘used’ people for my work so why do I object?

Illingworth’s work  has many resonances with  to the issues covered in my Research Paper…. even down to the alluded to MOD links she has in this work and which are obviously part of the work in Balknakiel….

BUT I can just imagine a whole team of people and Clare going to St Kilda…
Is it because the work moves me but in a detached and impersonal way because of the ‘production’?

True enough there is a beauty in the work and the images are raw but it doesn’t feel raw…

 UPDATE: 25th October: I was in the shower yesterday when I thought! Contingency and Control!

I like to work with contingent situations and see what happens whereas Shona Illingworth’s work is very well controlled from the POV of the filming and introduction of the subject, Claire.

This review from Disability Arts Online does describe her as an active collaborator.

I think that’s it…..I prefer to be in a place and then do something, film something , from what arises. I like the ‘subjects’ to have as much control as possible…

I will ponder some more but for now just put in some links to some of the neurology drawings by the neuropsych which I really do love! There were plenty more on another page which I now can’t find… lesson learnt in keeping a Bilbiography.


Whilst looking for these links which may be useful to me, (and to Sarah Robinson, Fellow student, whose blog is here)

 I Found THIS below about the visual matrix method  of researching shared experience.

It was described to me by Susie Mellor, a hugely helpful and knowledgeable volunteer at FACT.

This, The Visual Matrix Method, was something ( or at least it sounds like what she described) that the staff and volunteers took part in after having watched Shona Illingworth’s work….

Susie was also interested in my Research Paper so I emailed her a copy…..

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research

Volume 16, No. 3, Art. 6 – September 2015

The Visual Matrix Method: Imagery and Affect in a Group-Based Research Setting

Lynn Froggett, Julian Manley & Alastair Roy


The visual matrix is a method for researching shared experience, stimulated by sensory material relevant to a research question. It is led by imagery, visualization and affect, which in the matrix take precedence over discourse. The method enables the symbolization of imaginative and emotional material, which might not otherwise be articulated and allows “unthought” dimensions of experience to emerge into consciousness in a participatory setting.

We describe the process of the matrix with reference to the study “Public Art and Civic Engagement” (FROGGETT, MANLEY, ROY, PRIOR & DOHERTY, 2014) in which it was developed and tested. Subsequently, examples of its use in other contexts are provided. Both the matrix and post-matrix discussions are described, as is the interpretive process that follows.

Theoretical sources are highlighted: its origins in social dreaming; the atemporal, associative nature of the thinking during and after the matrix which we describe through the Deleuzian idea of the rhizome; and the hermeneutic analysis which draws from object relations theory and the Lorenzerian tradition of scenic understanding.

The matrix has been conceptualized as a “scenic rhizome” to account for its distinctive quality and hybrid origins in research practice. The scenic rhizome operates as a “third” between participants and the “objects” of contemplation. We suggest that some of the drawbacks of other group-based methods are avoided in the visual matrix—namely the tendency for inter-personal dynamics to dominate the event.

Key words: visual matrix; association; scenic; rhizome; methodology; affect; images; psychosocial; social dreaming