Final Show: #CrouchHillBanbury

Despite the recent Periscope app update which now allows permanent archive of Broadcasts with chat, I made the decision to allow auto-delete after 24 hours.

The ephemerality and impermanence is an essential component of my work and process, highlighting the concept of dynamic socially created space.

Traces of previous broadcasts are now no longer visible as they were previously

Paradoxically, the events below are heavily documented through Screen-shots from the Broadcasts, created within the 24 hrs before they became unavailable……

it’s really hard to let things go…especially when you need evidence of your process….

 

John Ruskin – Work:

15th July

I read aloud from John Ruskin’s lecture ‘ Work ‘ delivered at the Working Men’s Institute Camberwell in 1865,( which is now the South London Gallery……..?)

to link my location on Crouch Hill in Oxfordshire with Camberwell. This also served as a point for further reflections on work, labour, art and relative positions in contemporary society.

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There were 130 in the Lifestream audience at one point and generally retention was better with people usually sticking it out for a while on each brief Scope.I’m finding the stats interesting to analyse despite not searching for ‘Likes’.

I decided to leave the tent up for the duration of the Show, over the weekend and for the rest of the week until Tuesday evening.

I wrote a note to explain and left it in the tent. I left contact details as well, out of courtesy.

Often, teens camp-out and sometimes just leave the tents.

I didn’t want it to be damaged, removed, offend someone unnecessarily or occupied by another person!

Martin Fiennes – Broughton Castle:

16th July:

Martin’s parents are Lord and Lady Saye and Sele.

William FIENNES (1st Viscount Saye and Sele).The only son of Richard Fiennes, 7th Lord Saye and Sele, he was educated at New College, Oxford, and succeeded to his father’s lordship (barony) in 1613. English politician and promoter of colonization in America. He was a Puritan in religious sympathy and a leader in the House of Lords of the opposition to James I and Charles I.

I invited Martin to Crouch Hill, where he spoke of his visions for the preservation of areas of countryside, whilst accommodating the need for housing into the future. He also talked of  his imaginings of the Puritan and Royalist troops, noisily riding up and down past the foot of the Hill along what is now a busy B road, prior to the siege of Banbury Castle, and the Battle of Edge Hill in 1642.

It brought the past alive for a moment or two, and changed my visions of the present.

He was surprised and amused by the 249 viewers.

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Dozing in my Tent:

17th July

I just started to broadcast  and lay down in a warm tent for a doze…showed the sky to  over a hundred people…Strange, this periscope business…

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33 comments! and a surprising number of viewers.

also found a note when I opened the tent…. it said ‘PLEASE DON’T ‘

I wasn’t sure what they wanted me not to do?
Stay….? Go…?

Some dog-walkers came past and had a chat

Paul Mobbs (@ramblinactivist) :

17th July

I’d invited Paul to talk as he has a deep knowledge of the Quaker Civil War history of the area and an involvement in peace activism in contemporary conflict.

He forms a link from this final work to my initial investigations in Croughton , the Reading Room and RAF Croughton.

In fact, when he arrived he didn’t want to talk about those topics at all but lead a popular walk around the Hill discussing local geology and its implications.

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Edith Eisler, 

18th July

This was the anniversary of Edith’s death in 2011. A  violinist, teacher, noted musician and critic.This is  a recording of her playing Hindemith 

I told the story of how my father became friends with Edith and her family during WWII, following their movement from Vienna to Britain.

Also their subsequent correspondence whilst my father found and located in Japanese POW camp in the Far East, and following his release.

This family correspondence continued, even following my father’s death.

Her kindness has enabled me to pursue this Post-Graduate study.

(Along with a Vice- Chancellors Scholarship from The University of the Arts London).

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iChing and Philip K. Dick

19th July

I am interested in the link between subjective evaluation involved in Divination practice and ritual with the binary code which underlies all things digital.

See this article here in The Guardian

and this J Proteome Sci Comput Biol. 2012; 2012(1): 3. Published online 2012. doi: 10.7243/2050-2273-1-3

I had hoped to use yarrow stalks from the Hill but the season was late and there were few available.

I’d also thought of using Glo-sticks but their popularity at the Public View put paid to that…everyone wore them home..

So I used the cards I’d used in previous broadcasts.

The whole event became ludicrous…more so than other Scopes, as Tia and Purdy, the dogs belonging to my ‘assistant’ were in playful mood.

In the end one of the dogs, Purdy, selected one of the cards…

I read from Philip K Dick, the visionary writer, who cites the iChing in The Man in The High Castle.

His alternative outcome from WWII, and the implications, are  worth re- considering now, I believe. The sun set, the moon was almost full.

In total with Louise’s simultaneous broadcast of the event, there were over 750 viewers..

???!!!!

These were the cards selected.

4 Meng: INEXPERIENCE

Humbleness and sincerity when comprehending will increase knowledge.

9 Hsiao Ch’u GENTLE RESTRAINT, HOLDING BACK

Dense clouds suggest postponing the action till after the rain.

56 Lu: THE WANDERER, THE TRAVELLER

The steadfast and persistent traveller will have good luck.

Make of that, what you will….

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UAL Summer Show: Camberwell College of Arts, Wilson Road, London SE5 8LU

20th July

I went to the Final Crit with my cohort at Camberwell. Saw many of my colleagues and enjoyed seeing the Show.

It was odd walking into an exhibition containing my own work but where I had delegated set-up to colleagues. They had displayed many of the bowls around the building but as these are now empty they had been removed.

The last remaining had been give a plinth, two bowls placed one inside the other with a top light in a dark space. It looked tremendous! Donald Takeshita-Guy had been mainly responsible and is keen on developing his curation skills.

It worked really well

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Later, Clara and I met with the collective of artists to talk about plans for our residency in Norway in 3 weeks time. Very exciting.

Little Venice Studio  with Clara Duran, Keir Williams,  Dave Meckin, Alice Helps, Joe Fairweather-Hole

and then…..NORWAY RESIDENCY and Neptune Developers Camp, Melbu, Nordland

Neptun Introduction

and as Manuel from MAFAD said

” So long and thanks for all the fish”

Its been amazing,  Thanks Jonathan K!

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#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

SIMULTANEITY:

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.

 

19.41

 

19.46

 

19.53

 

20.14

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!)

 

Final Show Preparations 4 and Public View

The chocolates arrived safely in Peckham yesterday, only to be eaten by all my colleagues, if Jonathan’s text is to be believed!

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The locations of the bowls and the distribution of the chocolates will be up to my colleagues so I have no real idea if they will be on plinths displayed as ‘artwork’ or scattered around more informally.

I’ve been distributing invitations to the Show and the Public View on Crouch Hill, around the various communities I work and socialise with, have posted some invitations and chocolates, and pushed some through friends’ letterboxes.

If people have been involved in some way with the project they will be invited as well as friends..so dog walkers, carers group, leisure artists,  ( you can see the enthusiasm!) geocache advisor, chocolatier, printer and courier……

I will also put some invitations in a map holder and fasten it to the Trig Point at the summit. Some of the people who have been interacting with the ‘building development‘ may be interested in coming….

I’ve also sent the usual email invitations to the Show in Camberwell and will circulate via Twitter and have a few chats on Periscope beforehand to invite regular followers.

I hope, on this occasion, to have a meeting of communities ; Crouch Hill- Camberwell- Periscope.

I also have a loose programme of events for viewers during the Show, ensuring that something is present on my Twitter feed and Periscope app ( where there will be interactive cuhatvia the Live Stream)  whilst the Show is Open.

The Public View is rather more ‘structured’ as the other events depend of people who have said they are interested in being involved being available on the day……..so below is ‘sort of a plan’.

Claire Winfield will be on an archaeological dig in Dorchester-THames but will be joining us by Periscope, and Martin Winfield will be watching on the desktop app and calling in on his mobile from ‘his’ mountain in Mid-Wales….or at least that’s the idea.All the events will be Live streamed via Periscope.

13th July

Prior to the event within 24 hrs of start of the Show. It is John Clare’s birthday (1793) and I will be reading  some of his poems about enclosure. The town of Banbury, here,  borders Northamptonshire where Clare lived and wrote.

I also plan to re-install Ordnance Survey  and read from the Wikipedia texts in the piece.

14th July  

The  Public View, at the summit of Crouch Hill, will take place simultaneously with the Private View at Camberwell.

I intend to perform a symbolic ritual of exchange of a Covenant of Salt. I will give visitors small hessian bags, hand made by an upholsterer in Poole, Dorset, from re-cycled hessian. The bags will contain salt. people will be asked to mix salt from their bag with salt in someone else’s. The grains can never be separated…..and so, a lasting bond is formed. This has some origins in Biblical Scriptures  but this is not why I have chosen it. It is also performed at weddings. The significance is the prescience of the old Salt Route, The Salt Way, which runs along side Crouch Hill and was used to transport salt from Droitwich to London. I feel it links up with many of the ancient salt routes which network across Europe and Asia in a similar way to networks and systems today.

There will also be Magic Slates which are a playful mimic Freud’s Mystic Writing Pads.

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I will take the wooden buildings previously used in this events here, as recently, the encroachment of housing development across the boundary to the area, formed by the Salt Way, has been of local concern.

There is also a link to Lefevbre’s thoughts on urbanism.IMG_3763 I will also take, as far as possible, all materials, props and remnants that I have used in previous actions and events, for re- mediation/ re- animation  through conversation during the Public View.

The Camberwell College invitations that I have adapted ask people to bring drink ,and their dog if they want. I cannot carry bottles there…but I will prove some refreshments ( and the chocolates)  as in a Potlatch ceremony of exchange or ‘gift’…

Most people ask “What it it rains”….well I will be in my tent… or under the nearby trees in my waterproof.

I may or may not leave my tent up for the duration of the Show as a longer- temporary occupation…….I haven’t made that decision yet.

‘Plan’

15th July :

Reading aloud from John Ruskin’s lecture  Work  delivered at the Working Men’s Institute Camberwell  in 1865,( which I think is now the South London Gallery……..?) to link my location with Camberwell.

16th and 17th July :

Any one, none  or more of these things……depending who is available and when. All are interchangeable.

Paul Mobbs, local Quaker historian and activist telling his history of Crouch Hill and the area.

A Skype chat with Juliet Henderson, the linguist  from Oxford Brookes University, I met on the 205 bus, discussing Derrida  and ‘differance’.

A resident of nearby Broughton Castle and relative of William Fiennes, (1st Viscount Saye and Sele (28 June 1582 – 14 April 1662) , English nobleman and politician during the English Civil War) talking about his knowledge of Crouch Hill.

Me reading aloud from various history books and novels about the area, possibly reading from Benjamin’s Arcades Projects,  or W G Sebold.

A visit from Jane and Richard, caretakers of the Reading Room, Croughton linking this project with my Research Paper.

Snakes and Ladders or Scrabble with a  local theme via Periscope

18th July:

A tribute to Edith  Eisler, who died on this day in 2011. A refugee from Vienna in 1940, musician and friend of my father’s, whose legacy has provided me with the funds to follow this course. Looking at her letters to my father during WWII and listening her play the violin.

Thank You.

19th July Reading the iChing and reading from Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

That’s All Folks.

On the 20th July I will visit Camberwell for a Final Crit with the group and then go with Clara Duran to meet other artists for discussion about the wonderful Residency Opportunity in Sortland , Norway……!!!

An inadvertent but significant simultaneity

I have been trying to decide on an image for the paper strip around my chocolate for the Final Show. Struggling with the idea of of branding... see next post.… I decided to go up the Hill with Louise and  take some photographs.

This felt really false. A deceit.

So, after looking through my box of materials containing ‘As yet unmade actions’ I decided  to take some candles, matches and the inside of a roll of parcel tape.

My intention was to melt wax on the surface of the Hill, inside a ‘frame’, to make a kind of ‘Wax Tablet’, an impermanent print – an ironic nod to Empiricism, as it seems to me to serve as the opposite of a Tabula Rasa, containing  previous action within and on the surface of it and so, an ‘a priori’ residual presence.

Also  a commentary on the concept of palimpsest with a fluid reflexive relationship, between layers of  what is ‘written’ and erasure.

It started to rain as I  pitched my tent and talked to a passing dog ( Alfie) and his owner. We heard some shots, which I took to be a bird-scarer on the nearby Pick-Your-Own farm, but Alfie’s owner was not so sure, and was rather concerned thinking it was gun-fire. Not unknown in this rural area, but a bit close for comfort.

Louise arrived and I started work and broadcasting Trace #Crouch Hill.

Several people ‘hopped on’ including this viewer who had joined me before. It was a ridiculous Scope in many ways with Louise acting as ‘straight guy’ , chatting to viewers whilst I tried to light candles in the rain. I found a small wooden toy man figure, which had ended up in the earth

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 and placed the frame over ‘ him’ / that, to incorporate him in the wax.

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This gives an indication of the conversation during the process.

Towards the end, with the dogs getting restless, the wax leaking from the frame and me burning my fingers on the candle’s flame, I decide to just rest the candles on the soil and let the wax flow down on to the soil. Louise left and I just sat quietly chatting to the remaining viewer watching the flames via the Scope and my phone screen.

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When the candles had burnt away, I waited for the wax to cool, tool down my tent, packed up and returned home. As I left the Hill, I felt a sense of loss, as I often do when broadcasting alone from the site… a sense of detachment.

Later that night as I went through the Broadcast to save these screen shots I, unusually, had the TV on in the background.

Then I realised that I had been coincidentally privileged to be taking part in a simultaneous global community ritual of mourning and solidarity without being aware of it, and I understood the  meaning behind some of the comments a little more ( see link).

Orlando

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 18.40.16

 

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

https://clyp.it/m2eqpkjm/widget

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…

Documentation

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 .

 Monopoly

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.

Anthropology – ritual and space on Vine

After the actions and events on May 1st, I created this Vine from Damon Dennis’ talk and discussion on anthropology, ritual and space.

Damon’s UCL PhD Thesis is available as download here  Migration & Metamorphosis -On the Power of the Insignificant in a Moroccan city

 Here are two interesting quotes from the abstract

…….a close analysis of everyday life has afforded new insights into the creation of relational stability and migrant well-being through little understood, seemingly insignificant, phenomena.

and

In all cases well-being in this new environment is found not in the extraordinary or the idiosyncrasy, but rather through normality. By amplifying and introspecting the connectivities that emerge from acts of calculation in the everyday, this thesis contributes at once to a burgeoning study of ethno-mathematics and to the study of well-being in anthropology, drawing attention to the relational nature of actions and their foregrounding in fragile social worlds.

https://vine.co/v/ixLHOKmvYlz/embed/simple<script

 EDIT: June

I’ ve made a couple more following my broadcast on 13th June… this could become some new work..

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.

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