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Posts from the ‘Things’ Category

The Observatory

If this was my residency, I’d sleep on a mattress from The Gypsy Moth. Re-arrange stuff, I say. You wouldn’t be a allowed. It’s precious archive material from Sir Francis Chichester’s round-the world-voyage, says Helen. I’d ask.

Charred wood and glass. Revolving studio space. Don’t know what to expect. What would you like me to do? I’ve got some ideas, says Helen.
I hunker down for a warm night, with my dog Ghyllie, giant stacks of chairs and a couple of museum models from Shipwright school. I have dreadful nightmares. What black events can have happened here? Poor Ghyllie did you dream them too?

In the morning before people come to the slipway, I am to wade into the water. The black dress will float, my hair will float, the props will float.
Are you sure you want to do this? Helen will say.
She will place her props.
There’s a hairdryer in her room.

Thermal top, jeggings, wellie boots.
Wavy hair dropping back onto black back,arms salute the sun.
It looks yogic, says Helen. But it’s not yogic inside, it hurts.
Yes like that, hold it there. You are a good model, says Helen whle I rest.
The others say is this right? Is this how you want me? But you help.
Now you Helen, your turn to model.
Reeds, red, blue,rays of sunlight. Swish. Things coming together.

Red disc, white clouds, pale reeds.Looks like savannah.
Lie back, d’you mind?
Twin suns.
She shades her eyes
I prise the red lenses from her fingers,
Rest them on her palms.
Large hands, small white lipsticked face.
You look a mix of seductive and evil.
There is blood on my hands, she says.

Before I leave we flick through our photo shoot of the day.
We have made purple, says Helen.
Made purple?
Youve not heard the expression?
No, I never heard it. What’s it mean?
Something came together in that moment.
Magic happens.

I remember Dreaming Place with Claire.

http://www.lookinlookout.org/helen-snell

The Observatory is currently at Buckler’s Hard, Beaulieu in the New Forest National park, England, until June 2017

Artist Schedule
Ella Frears – 16th – 20th Nov and 6th – 20th Dec
Helen Snell – 2nd of January to 24th of February 2017
Christine Mackey – 12th of March to 28th of April 2017

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Anna Featured as “Wilderness Thinker in Residence” this week!

annakeleherfeature3 “As a wilderness thinker I’m turning my gaze upon the world of the very small and towards the possibility of a wilderness even inside my own insides! Is there a wilderness inside of you too?” asks Anna in her essay for the Thinking Wilderness project. Check out her featured work “The Wilderness Inside” at the Thinking Wilderness website HERE. It will set you thinking!

Anna was invited to participate as a “Wilderness Thinker in Residence” in the Thinking Wilderness project, a one-year series marking the 50th Anniversary of the USA Wilderness Act. Anna’s piece,”The Wilderness Inside” which she created specifically for “Thinking Wilderness” explores many themes that have cropped up in our own Dreaming Place project and even showcases one of the postcard drawings that Anna created on our “Irish journey” (see above!).

What are your thoughts on “The Wilderness Inside?” Please let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Pilgrim Tales: “Bin Laden” Paulino and Felisa

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We arrive at The Bodega de Irache on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim trail in Northern Spain hot and parched. The iron gates of the fabled “Fuente de Vino” are closed and a dishevelled pilgrim and his dog are occupying the space behind them.

“Come in and have a drink! I am Bin Laden and this is my dog  Cana”.

We accept the invitation and push open the gate to enter the domain of the Bodega webcam. The dog “Cana”  licks our hands  and “Bin Laden” whose real name is Pedro offers to take our photos. We pose, while first water then wine runs into our thirsty mouths and washes over  our hands.  What a crazy good tasting and generous tap!

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“Felisa has her own stamp” says the guide book. Like other Pilgrims on The Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail we are collecting Camino stamps at hostels, bars and churches as proof of our journey. When we arrive at Santiago our full passport will swapped for a certificate.

“You are famous” we say as we approach a wayside stall on the track that leads into Logroño.

We ask Felisa for her photo and she poses smiling behind her stall.As well as her own stamp La señora Felisa offers sugar depleted pilgrims fresh figs, if the season and the weather are right.

“These days the weather has gone mad,¨ she says. It´s  too wet and the figs rot on the trees or it´s too hot and dry.¨

¨It never used to be like this in my mothers time¨she adds.

Her mother, who is the real Felisa¨… the celebrated Señora Felisa of the figs, water and love is reputed to have  spent her daylight hours attending to weary pilgrims, offering  them ¨Higos  Agua and  Amor” in the service of God and humanity.  Sadly her daughter tells us that La Señora Felisa  has passed away and the responsibility falls on her, Felisa’s daughter to offer hospitality to Pilgrims outside the family home in memory of her mother.

Paulinos shade shack

Paulino’s home-made wayside shade-shack has everything we need to make us happy. Our needs are few;  water, shade, a snack and a place to rest. We fill our bottles and sip pure coolness before picking up a stone to crack open walnuts of hospitality.

“Thankyou Paulino… your good health!” In our mind’s eye we see Paulino in his veg garden waving a hoe.

“Buen Camino” we think we hear him say.

Many thousands of pilgrims drink from Paulino’s Well on their way to Santiago de Compostella, so  if all of them leave him gratitude, the pool will overflow.

(This story is the second in a series of stories Anna is writing about pilgrims she and Mark met on The Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail in Northern Spain).

Notes from The Paseo: A Multivoiced Snapshot

Paseo - 02A curious Paseo visitor approaches. “Are you part of The Paseo?” he asks.

“Yes! ” says Claire. “We’re number 19, would you like to have a listen?” She hands him the headphones.

It’s Friday, Sept. 26th in Taos, New Mexico, just a few minutes after 4pm and there  is tangible excitement  in the air.Volunteers are rushing around or expectantly waiting at the info window to help with enquiries. Something is happening in Taos that has never happened before; the first ever “Paseo” is beginning and Claire and Anna’s If you’d like to….Taos Off-Grid is on the move!

The man puts on the headphones and inclines his head, listening, a finger poised ready to press a button when the inclination strikes. He smiles and settles in to listen for a while, enjoying the experience.

“If you’d like to let cactus fruit dribble down your chin, please press five. If you’d like to apagar las luces para siempre, please press six.  If you’d like to inhabit the wilderness of your dreams, please press seven.  If you’d like to….”  The man  presses 7 on the keypad to confirm his choice. 

“You’ve gotta hear this! And it’s SOLAR POWERED!” he calls to his wife, who is gathering info at The Paseo info booth. Part pet, part machine, the”If you’d like to….” Unit has a private message for Claire.

My new solar panels seem like they’re working well!”  it says.

“Anything else?” says Claire, eager to hear more.

“I love being centre stage, people listening to me pressing my buttons. I live for moments like this, I’m thriving on the buzz.! And I like the way the roads are laid out here in Taos, I can relate to that. But am I all terrain enough for these wonky sidewalks? And what will happen if we  take a dirt side-road?” 

Paseo - 03Another visitor approaches and  hesitantly puts on the headphones. “Is it working?” She asks. “Nothing is happening when I push the buttons!?”

Claire is glad that no one else can hear the unit’s next utterance.

“That part is up to you, silly! You DO HAVE an imagination DON’T YOU!? I can’t be expected to do everything, can I?” 

“Yeah, Its working!” Claire  reassures the woman, “You see, in this piece low tech meets high tech and the high tech part is your imagination! The wooden buttons are there for you to physically register your choice, they don’t do anything to the options soundtrack. Your imagination is the thing that makes it ‘work’ and the most important part of the piece!”

A light comes on in the woman’s head and she smiles. “Oh I see,” She says. “Cool. Interesting idea!”

At this location, people are a little wary and are slow to interact, so Claire approaches passers by with an upbeat “Would you like a listen?”

Some do stop, but some hurry on their way. “No thanks,” they say.

Anna across the pond is lying awake in her cozy bed in Devon.”What’s happening at the Paseo? I wonder if it’s busy?”

“Time for a new location,” says Claire to the Unit, as the two of them make their way to the opposite end of The Paseo. By the time they reach the festival’s North end, The Paseo is in full swing.

“This is more like it!” says Claire. At the new site  near #4 on the map, Axle Contemporary Gallery piece, “The Potato,”  Claire and the mobile unit are literally “mobbed” by eager participants who all want to listen.

The Unit thrives on attention. Just as more people really begin arriving en mass, it whispers to Claire between listeners, “I love community! I want to start conversations and set imaginations whirring!”

Claire and the Unit are fascinated that each individual has a different experience of and reaction to their piece. Lots of folks chuckle and stare off into the distance while listening.

Paseo - 09“I want to do all the options!” Exclaims a pregnant Mama who comes up to listen. “My favorite one is, “If you’d like to plant a forest garden!?” she beams as she repeats what she has heard.

Now its the turn of a young child; she is enthusiastic to try it, but then says “It’s too fast! I can’t hear the options! Mama I want you to listen too… erkkk… yau…” She dissolves into tears and leaves questioning her parents about the piece. Paseo - 10

Later a group of kids comes along and the supervising grown-up has to enforce a time limit for listening so that everyone gets a turn. “But I haven’t gotten to hear all the options yet!” protests one child when it’s the next kid’s turn.

Paseo - 06One man listens for a very long time, fully engaged with the piece, but he presses very few buttons. “Nice piece,” he says. I had to listen really carefully to find some options that I wanted to do.”

There are so many people on the streets and not everyone gets to listen. “Hmm I wonder what that is over there?” says a man as his eyebrows lift. “What do you think people are listening to?” says another.

There is much speculation. Paseo - 07 Some people want to experience the piece, but can’t locate it because it is “roving.”

“I’m so glad we happened to find you! I really wanted to see your piece but didn’t know where to look for you!” exclaims a friend of Claire’s.

Claire laughs, “It is all about being in the right place at the right time. People just have to happen upon us. That is part of the experience the piece!”

“If you’d like to be Off-grid all the way please press….” says the Unit and then adds under its breath, “I certainly am!”

Watch the “If you’d like to…” Mobile Unit SPEAKING Video here.

Pilgrim Tales: Paul Murphy MEP and dreaming place

“It’s 35 degrees Centigrade and the sky is black with thunder as we exit a bar in Villa Franca de Oca. We carry fresh “bocadillos” in our packs and hot mint tea and we’ll walk ’till dusk.

“I think we’re in for our first storm” I say.

” Maybe….” says Mark

Last night we had a wilderness experience off the beaten track; two sleepy  sillouettes on a starry hilltop  with a happy soundtrack of cowbells and frogs. And tonight we’ll sleep under a natural canopy in the Forest of “Oca” (Goose in Spanish).

” D’ya think we’re MAD? ” I say as we head off together, up a steep and stony path.

“Probably…” says Mark.

When we reach an interpretation panel by the wayside, we stop to have a look.

“Look” I say “There are Brown bears and ….. ”  my eyes open wide and my eyebrows shoot up.

“and… Wolves….!!!!”

“Mmmm… ”  says Mark

Back home in Devon my mum emailed me to say “Be careful of wolves on the forest tracks”

“What makes you think there are WOLVES? on the Camino? ” I tell her.

An almighty crack shatters the peace and tranquility of the Camino and the sky splinters into shards.

” A proper attack of aniseed balls” I say while the weather pummels our heads and necks as we run for the woods.

We cosy up under the tarp next to one massive deciduous oak.

“It’s almost fun” I say daring the storm.

We follow the trail upward and just as rain begins to fall, a perfect shelter pops up magically from the track. At the back of this welcome rain-shade is a lone pilgrim.

“I hope he doesn’t mind” says Mark as we head into dry-space.

“I’d do the Camino just for the VIEWS ?” says the sitting man bewitched by the panorama.

“I started out with my girlfriend” he tells us “but the Camino’s not for her”.

” Oh?” says Mark.

“Her pack was too heavy and she wasn’t enjoying it. She had to go back to work”

Our shelter companion for the duration of the rain is Paul Murphy.

” I’m an MEP” says Paul ,”for the Irish Socialist Party”.  ” I’ve just  lost my seat in Brussels so I’m out of a job in a week.”

We find we know nothing about members of the European parliament so Paul fills us in. “MEPs earn 90.000 Euro a year. ” he says.  Now that’s a big incentive .

“As MEP’s we get 300 Euros per day every day we attend Parliament. Just for turning up”

” hmmm” says Mark.”Seems a lot”.

” But…..” says Paul “As a member of the Irish Socialist Party we pay ourselves the average national youth wage for Ireland.”

“The youth wage?  I ask ” The YOUTH wage says Mark.

It’s still raining so Paul chats on. He’s signed in at a hostel for the night and has come out without his rain jacket . Luckily he has a lot of stories and is happy to share them with us. He is a persona non-grata in a couple of states. He was part of the flotilla taking supplies into Gaza, he was captured at gun point and ended up an Israeli jail, so he’s not very popular there.

“What was it liiiiike in Prison?” I ask my eyes popping.

“Oh” he says ” It was muuch better  than the yacht.” ” I was so seasick, it was really horrible.”

We couldn’t have dreamed up a more humble and engaging pilgrim to be holed up with in the rain. And he has more stories.

“I helped broker a deal for striking miners in Kazakstahn” he tells us.

“You’re an activist” then?”

“Yes” says Paul “My party brokered an agreement between the government and the striking miners”

We smile expectant.

“But as soon as we left the country the miners were shot!”

We digest the news as rain drums on the roof above.

And before the rain ceases there is time to tell Paul about Claire and me about DREAMING PLACE and how we took Radio Dreaming back to play to Mary-Jane and other participants in Ireland in our Place-dreamer Pod and what a lot of effort went into the Kickstarter campaign.

” And did Mary-Jane get to hear Radio Dreaming at her homestead” says Paul.

” Yes she did!” in his mind’s eye an old lady is a-listening in the Pod, her eyes alight with dreams.

Our rainy meeting in the pop-up shelter on The Camino has conjoured up diverse visons. And now it’s time for Paul to head back down to his hostel for the night.

“What time are you up in the morning” he asks us as he gets up to go.

“Oh about 7.30 or  8.00 a.m”

Though the storm has moved away we decide to stay the night in the shelter. Its just too good to miss. So we eat our bocadillos, drink the lovely hot tea and lay our bags out for the night in this Camino dreaming place.

“D’you think the bins’ll lure in hungry wolves “I say.

“Yup says Mark.

Now he puts on his wooly hat.

“Buenas Noches” he says and he’s asleep.

In the morning we set off along a steaming trail into the big woods.

“Red riding hood would have been safe here ” I say, for the mystery of the wood is lost on the grit causeway the Camino has become.We gravitate to a pilgrim friendly ditch by the side of the Super-Camino where we walk in single file.

“I passed by for you  at seven thirty ” says a voice from trail “but you’d already gone!”

“We had the Mother of  all Storms in the night.” calls up Mark cheerily from inside the ditch.

This blogstory is one of several by Anna is writing about her journey with Mark on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail in Northern Spain.

Paul Murphy is AAA (Anti- Austerity – Alliance) Member of Parliament for Dublin South West.  Paul’s website.

Find out about Paul’s popular AAA campaign to scrap water charges in Ireland .

Shampoo, a shrine and a pop-up shelter

P6090036 What to pack in your rucksack and what to leave out  is the all time Big  Camino Question. I wanted to enjoy walking  but not to suffer too much discomfort and I knew that getting it right might make or break our trip so it was essential to pack well. Choices re pack size and content should depend on accommodation not strength. This might be in hostels, pensions or Paradors, the luxury Spanish hotels. We chose to sleep by the wayside under the stars oblivious to the large wolf packs that still roam Northern Spain.  The guide book suggests a medium size rucksack, if you use a large pack it warns, you’ll be tempted to fill it up!Most of those carrying big rucksacks on this trail are men and this observation made me feel a bit smug at times as  I had ditched  my ipad, phone, camera reading glasses, shampoo, conditioner and face cream during the packing process at home.

Camping gas turned out to be a burdensome luxury, so after a few days Mark gifted it, unopened, to the owner of a hostel whose “Camino ” stamp was a red beating heart. Though we survived without hot food, we still had to carry the small aluminium pan and stove top as they were expensive and we’d be needing them back home. Mark made a shrine to the Camino from a pair of boots he decided he didn’t need. He continued along the way in sandals!

boots Sleeping well  is important, so the majority of space inside my pack was dedicated to the art of sleep. My luxury bedding choice consisted of a very tiny, very posh, very orange super – lightweight, self inflating sleeping mat and my beloved down sleeping bag, which folds down to almost nothing. Next a khaki coloured bivvy bag to protect from rain and dew and a cheap and cheerful rolly mat for insulation, geat also for yoga, siestas and a picnic. My first aid kit is disproportionally large, complete with essential oils to heal wounds and keep bugs and bigger things at bay, arnica gel for aches and pains, homeopathic remedies for toothache, the shits, injuries and rescue remedy for and just about anything else. I packed my black rain jacket that has a dodgy zip, but left my rain trousers at home. I’d wear my skirt in the rain and dry it once the sun came out.

Actually we were lucky and only got wet once.  Pumelled by giant hailstones Mark and I cosied under the good old DREAMING PLACE mat,  beneath the mightiest oak in the forest. Though lightning streaked down on all sides the oak didn’t get hit. Later a man made shelter popped  up magically out of the forest by the trail side, as the thunder rolled and the rain re-commenced.  It had a bench, a waste bin and a sitting man called Paul Murphy; an activitst and MEP for the Irish socialist party  We couldn’t have packed a more interesting and entertaining companion for a rainy afternoon in the wilds.

This blogstory is one of several by Anna is writing about her journey with Mark on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail in Northern Spain.

What is dreaming?

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DREAMING has led us through our DREAMING PLACE residency and it’s also the thread that ties together our 6-part series, “Radio Dreaming.”

But what in the world is DREAMING?

If you’ve met us out in the field, on the road , at an event or you know us through our blogs you’ll have heard us tell about “dreams of place” and our own dream of discovering how lands speak through dreamers and how that has lead us to an unexpected range of places, rather like a cave of unknown depth with many different passages.

Eager to discover more about dreaming, we threw ourselves right into the thick with DREAMING PLACE.  We swam, sang recorded and listened to stories and sounds, but even now after all these explorations we are still unsure of what dreaming really is.

We’ve published  lots of posts that reveal our journeys and imaginings, but we are no closer to knowing the definitive habits and customs of DREAMING. This reveals as much about the nature of  dreaming as it does about us and our collaborative practice. Just as a butterfly cannot be understood and appreciated by pinning it onto a collectors tray, DREAMING will not be understood by trying to bring it into sharp  focus in the harsh light of day. It also shows a bit about  how we ourselves have come to feel about DREAMING. Sometimes we feel that DREAMING is our primar protagonist and sometimes we feel its the other way around and that our project is actually DREAMING us, its hard to tell. We respect the wild nature of DREAMING and its wish to remain mysterious.

We hope the outcomes of our project such as this blog, our poetry, drawings and most of all our radio broadcasts continue to refresh, comfort and entertain. But most of all our wish is that they will also inspire you in your own journey and imaginings. We invite you to jump right in and join the flow.

Where will DREAMING carry us next?

A kettle full of generosity

“It’s my dream to own a kettle like that!” says Mary-Jane, her tiny frame tilted back to take in the beauty of our family-size kettle which hangs from the pod’s rear hatch. Its brown enamel surface is hand-painted with bright bargee swirls and flowers and it’s slightly scuffed.

Teapot
We are bursting to say “here you are, Mary –Jane please take it as a gift from us; for hasn’t she just given us an envelope with money in it, to repay our visit just as if we are her own children or grandchildren? But we don’t and the kettle stays in our care, ‘cos without it who knows how can we boil water for our visitors’ tea?

Back on the road we decide we will  gift the kettle, but later on when we don’t need it so badly. So when we get back to England it is carefully wrapped and sent over to its new owner, Mary-Jane of Tawny McKelly. So that if you pass by her cottage today or tomorrow asking for “a little water from the tap” just as we did, to quench your cyclers’ thirst, Mary -Jane will say, “You can, Aye, so you can surely, surely.” And then she’ll say, “Are you needin’ a cuppa tea o’ anything?” And when you say, “Yes that would be grand!” She’ll invite you in through the front door and you’ll l sit on the sofa by her dresser, decked with birthday cards and the radio still playing.IMG_8585
“It’s a long way you’ve come isn’t it?” she’ll say and “D’you want a chicken sandwich d’you?”

Tasting the past: Hans Wieland on Kefir (audio)

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Listen as Hans introduces us to kefir. 

Hans talks about kefir fermentation.

In the kitchen of Hans and Gaby Wieland we learn of the off-grid properties of Kefir.  Lactic acid fermentation doesn’t need any energy to produce, it doesn’t need energy to keep .The result of a symbiotic relationship between lactic acid bacteria and yeasts it has been transforming and preserving milk for millenia. The usefulness of Kefir, its health giving properties, powers of preservation and tangy taste have ensured its preservation from the first dairying cultures.  Hans feeds his kefir with goat’s milk. Water kefir is a slightly different strain that eats sugar.

“You put in lemon and raisins or sultanas and let it ferment for three to five days,” after which time it will have turned into a wonderfully refreshing drink, sweet and sour at the same time similar to elderflower champagne. 

Find out more about kefir here. 

Did you see Our elderflower fritters blog?

Our thanks to Hans Wieland  of Rossinver Organic Centre, for providing info re Kefir fermentation for this blog. Hans runs courses on all aspects of fermentation. This blog is based on a transcript of our audio conversation with Hans at his home in Co. Leitrim, Ireland.

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 5

Drift wood for firing up our Kelly Kettle and making tea

Inhabiting the dream: postcard 3

Inhabiting the dream is camping off-grid on Trinity Island

Inhabiting the dream is camping off-grid on Trinity Island

Place-Dreamer Pod at Green Lough, Cavan town

Musicians in Pod at Green Lough

Musicians in Pod at Green Lough

Today, 15th May we are at Green Lake on the outskirts of Cavan Town for the official opening of Green Lake from 7-9pm.

Please join us!!
Green Lake

Place-dreamer pod on the hill

SONY DSCToday we are out and about again, playing Radio Dreaming to the winds and all who sail on them.

DREAMING PLACE technology collaborative drawing 13 by Claire and Anna

DREAMING PLACE technology collaborative drawing 12 by Claire and Anna

Mapping Dreams at Killykeagan

Mapping Dreams at Killykeagan

DREAMING PLACE technology collaborative drawing 9 by Claire and Anna

DREAMING PLACE technology collaborative drawing 8 by Claire and Anna

DREAMINGPLACE technology collaborative drawing 6 by Claire and Anna

DREAMINGPLACE technology collaborative drawing 5 by Claire and Anna

Prehistoric technology report – Crom Estate

As you can see we’ve had technology on the mind since our recent presentation in the “Matter of Technology” panel at the ISEA2012 Albuquerque Machine Wilderness symposium. We’ve been mulling over the fact that our arts practice is very much about different kinds of technologies both contemporary and prehistoric, as is DREAMING PLACE. Check out other posts recent posts on this topic  here and here.

One of the things we find so fascinating, as inhabitants of what many would call  “the technological era,” is that every era has been technological in its own way. According to Wikipedia:

Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of toolsmachines, techniques, craftssystems, methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments.”

Listen in to our prehistoric technology report from the Crom Estate below:

Chance Encounters

They are what happen when you are not looking. They take you by surprise. They are “gifts from the gods of the moment.” Chance encounters smell of sweet spontaneity, taste of salty saturation, feel like a hand-carved walking stick, sound like the chirp of the oracle wren and look like the two botanists that we happened to meet on our way up Cuilcagh Mountain. They are offspring of time and possibility, cousins to choice and the grandparents of adventure. They are the fruit of diligent openness after a season of true patience. They are people, places, creatures and things met on roads and under bridges; shared thoughts and coincidental gestures. They are a collision of time, place and invisible intention. They are ground for invention and the willingness to fail or be unseen and forgotten. Chance encounters give rise to shared experience, information exchange and sometimes realizations. While they are born of spontaneity, they require attention to be noticed and can be easily missed or “wasted” if eyes are closed or heads are down while walking the great road.

Radiator Key Inheritance

“When I put that in my hand I can feel his hand.” Alan’s link with his ancestors is a bronze radiator key.  Which objects link you to your own ancestors?

This audio was recorded the day we invited a group of Fermanagh artists to share in “The Exchange” within the ruined compound of a bronze age roundhouse at GortamcConnell view point close to Marble Arch Caves.

The future in a lough, climate modelling

Bodies of water have been places of augury and insight since time immemorial but now there is a new twist to the tale and lough Nabrickboy is revealing qualities that predict the future. Martina from Marble Arch Caves Geopark explains ….

Who makes art?

A 40 day period of total immersion in tranquil Geopark landscapes allowed us to listen quietly to our thoughts . This one was recorded as it emerged into the dappled light.   If not us then who?

Ancient technologies: humans + environment

We met an interesting man on our stroll around Money Cashel near the Burren,  here he is on ancient technologies and drawing. 

harnessing motion and seasonal energy

Here we are chatting on about  ideas for harnessing motion and seasonal energy.

Cottages Dreaming

This short audio segment conveys several layers of the DREAMING PLACE project with a cottage context. Click play button below to listen in:

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https://dreamingplaceproject.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/cottages-hold-memories.mp3%5D

I think of the sound the basic, functional bed springs would have made.

Was it a comfortable bed where who knows how many children were conceived and birthed?  Or was it hard, bumpy, damp, the itchy blankets taking ages to heat to a nice temperature warmed by the bodies and the fire.
 
The organic plant matter of thatch on the scalp of this cottage would have been the first to go. With its roof ripped off by the claws of relentless rain and drizzle and wind, the contents are then defenseless, wide open. They sit and wait.

Drip by drip, year by year, all the memories and worth and quality and goodness of the house erode and dissolve. “

Extract by Susan Hughes after a cycle ride to a tumble down house with her then boyfriend a Donnegall fiddler. The owner of the house would not let anyone take anything from it when his family had moved out many years before.

Audio footprints in the lough

Creative ideas can be illusive. If you approach them too quickly or too directly, they may turn tail and be lost. But like wild creatures they can be lured from their hideouts if conditions are favorable, perhaps at a particular time of day by a special treat. A ritual pot of tea, a piece of music, the sound of a waterfall or a beautiful pattern.

It may be enough to go outdoors and sit on a tree stump to allow the ideas to flow. It’s  exciting to consider some of the forms and patterns we observe outdoors have companion patterns inside our bodies;, the swirl on our finger tips, the filigree of veins and in the very patterns of our lives and relationships.

So enjoy your shower or walk the edge of the lough and let the bubbles rise.

These Dreaming Place audio footprints were recorded at the watery edge of Lough McNean, Marble Arch Caves Geopark.

Landscape of Abandoned Dreams


In our wanderings through the landscapes of the Marble Arch Caves Geopark, we came across many incredible decaying homesteads, architectural remnants of abandoned dreams left to be reclaimed by plants, land, water and weather.


This “forgotten dreams” phenomenon seems more evident here
than any other place that either of us have been before.
The land seems saturated with it.


Abandoned farm equipment, the most modern and desirable in its day,
rusts in its final resting place, chumming up with the local flora.


It is as if abandoned architecture and belongings continue
to poignantly describe the cycles of history:
“better days” along with famine, economic hardship, immigration and
the forgotten dreams of this place.

Mother of the landscape


Claire has a moment of revelation beside the waters of Poll Sumera, a magical place on the lower slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain. It is here that the waters that gather in the folds of the mountain’s flanks disappear into a labrynthine network of underground rivers to re-emerge sometime later at the fabled birthplace of the famous River Shannon; Shannon Pot.

Blogs grow like potatoes

This blog has been a long time in a comin´ and that’s because I grew it.

To grow my potato blog I followed some basic steps. the rest down to luck, weather and  patience. It’s taken quite a while to get to this point , mainly ‘cos of all that hard work and the waiting. I had to……..

1. nourish

2. dig

3. furrow

4. plant

5. water

6. mulch

7. earth up

8.wait

9.harvest

10. prepare

11. cook

12. eat

A long time ago a Slovenian man called Franci, a student of Mark’s  suggested I apply my novel research techniques to”the potato”. It is still really important to Eastern European cultures and  I am a researcher of  the agency of things. Let me explain a bit more about how that might work.

The humble potato is a masterful at affecting  human behaviours; it  gathers  culture around itself in a big way, as does say “alcohol” or “the sea”. The potato is the perfect thing he said to study. So far I have not done more than to scrub a potato, cut it up to boil or bake it. I love to eat it whole or mashed with olive oil and black pepper. But who knows. In Ireland as everyone knows the potato is very important and no-one on the island can ever forget the terrible consequences of the potato blight.

In Ireland we ferried  potatoes around in the car back and forth over the border and dipped our fingers into glasses of poitín, the infamous  Irish hooch. I feel a new blog coming on….  but I’ll leave it for another day.

The power of blogs

We never expected off-grid blogging to be easy, but it turned out to be the single most challenging aspect of our trip.

Little lakes inside our tents, patchy mobile connection, no running water, no loo, rampant jet lag, hip injury, but electric plugs – oh please….

Our hungry laptops had us struggling to provide. Without power we feared they would become weak and easily die.

We had pondered the off-grid dilemma long and hard. Claire lives off-grid year round at her home in New Mexico; so surely it isn’t such a big deal. She and Chris collect energy from the sun and store it in underfloor batteries for use as electricity around the home.  Wi-fi  and the sun allow Claire and I to work together, despite her off-grid-ness  and our many degrees of separation. These technological advances help us keep our collaboration alive.

Soft folding dashboard solar panels might keep our laptops charged, but would they work in such a resolutely unsunny climate ? And what of bike power…. it works for making smoothies and projections so might pedal power keep our cameras, laptops and blogging practice alive?

In the end we opted to plug-in at Marble Arch Caves Geopark HQ, council offices, campsites and country hotels and used a wee dashboard plug (little inverter in the cigarette lighter) for on-the-go top-ups between charging locations.

Blogs are an ideal way to record, share and reflect on project adventures. And we shared DREAMING PLACE with family, friends and a world wide audience….. veraciously!

Keeping the hardware topped up became a matter of supreme importance. Should we make supper, sleep, experiment, search for a plug-in or make connections?

We are the first to admit that blogging got a bit out of hand… this time… and we did it in the face of significant adversity – Our dongle rarely worked, so that was a waste of money, we were operating in mobile-coverage shadowlands in the X – border zone, hoteliers were mean to us, the Geopark HQ were kind but couldn’t share their internet and we were miles from the nearest cyber cafe…  yet we blogged and blogged and blogged.

Is pigeon post a viable alternative?

Hazel cultures

A good way to discover more about prehistoric life  in Marble Arch Caves Geopark is to focus in on the edible elements of place. You can learn a lot, from ingesting, observing and dreaming with plants and things. As a Northern European its a fair guess to say that my ancestors learnt a lot from their interactions with the land. I know it’s obvious,  but its easy to forget that plants have actually helped shaped our cultures. Claire’s family is also of European decent, but she was born in New Mexico where prehistoric peoples have also eaten acorns, piñones and hazel nuts. Claire and I look, listen, experiment and dream to find out more about our prehistoric ancestors and their worlds. We kicked off our

collaboration while studying at Dartington with a “Eating Time Taming Food”  a wide ranging adventure into prehistoric Dartmoor Food ecologies. We  gathered, prepared, cooked and shared wild foods. It was really challenging for us as we were trail blazing our a new Arts and Ecology practice… .. but what d’you know while we were out collecting acorns and worms were gathering in our leaching sacks, Ray Mears was doing the self same thing on Telly, imagine that….Out of the BLUE! processing acorns for food after hundreds of years of culinary neglect!

Neither Claire nor I had telly and we didn’t know about Ray Mears ’till friends and neighbours told us. Only difference was we were making ART and gathering audio sounds! We ended our acorn harvest with a grand tea party at The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in Haldon forest Park, where our guests feasted on acorn and honey cake spread with butter churned using the motion of our gait and other ancestral foods.

In DREAMING PLACE at MAC we crunched  hawthorn leaves at Shannon Pot, made  wild garlic pesto and when Hazel reached out and attracted our attention, we whittled its flexible boughs into knives. Hazel is as full to bursting with dynamic potentials which Claire and I are eager to explore. And Hazel’s story is many patterned, it helped with the invention of tents, looms and snow shoes. The first people’s living in these northern climes after the great ice melt collected its tasty fruits to store for the winter months and Hazel protected and sustained them.

What baskets were woven to carry the canny hazel nut and what futures did it predict?

Listen here to Biodiversity Officer, Rose Cremin enthuse about hazel culture

Sound islands

I’m sure I told you how Claire and I went out onto the blue lough in the yellow smile of a borrowed kayak. We paddled together out to a tiny island where we lay down on the mossy foreshore to dream.

Listen here to a snippet of our chat as it wafted up to mingle with the calls of birds and the lapping of gentle waves outside our sound island.


The kissing tree

Did you ever hear trees kissing?

As Claire approached an overgrown hedge in the Killykeegan Nature reserve a strange sound wrapped around her ears. She called me over and we listened as two Hawthorn branches kissed.  Listen here to the sounds we heard..

No 18. DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing

What is an Ecosystem?

“An ecosystem is a community of plants, animals and dreams that are closely linked to each other and to their environment.”

(Anna Keleher and Claire Coté ,Marble Arch Caves Geopark 2011).

No 17. DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing

No 16.DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing


Tied to our prehistoric past


One of the ways we  dream ourselves into place is to make string. Yeah it works, twisting natural fibres really does deepen our relationship with our own home place or the home place of another. Here I am at Claddah Glen,  just below the show caves at Marble Arch Caves Geopark in Northern Ireland, collaborating with Iris leaves and sedges to make strong and useful string.

Twining string is truly addictive and provides Claire and I with a quite moment of focus during a busy project. But there’s more…..

We’ve noticed that long leaves seem to WANT to make string, our fingers fiddle and twist  plant fibres into cordage, dextrously, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world! To make twine is to interact with our surroundings in a vital way AND of course we are not alone, twiners come in many shapes and sizes and surprising partnerships give diverse results; wind and dry moorland grass twist together to make a fat loose rope that catches under boulders.

As a species we have grown up with plants, they have shaped our cultures and well,  they make us who we are! What´s more, string is even older than we are…. Who are the “other than human” twisters, loopers, weavers whose cultures has inspired our own?

I’ve made string from bungy old Sphagum moss, Torbay palm leaves, stinking Iris and bluebell leaves and Maram grass, but you can use any plant or other fibre.  Twine is so darn useful, something to sew cultures together.

I think THE most exciting thing we learnt on our DREAMING PLACE adventure was how to spin hay into twine to fasten down hay ‘rucks” keeping them safe from errant winds. The hands of traditional farmer Ignatius Maguire manipulate a home engineered twining crank, an innovation on the implement used by his father, a hooked branch cut from a nearby hedge.Impressed?

No 15. DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing

No. 14 DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing


No12. DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing



Where d´th´’Tamagotchis go?

Do names pop into your head like rabbits when you are in a new and unfamiliar place?

The names of Crom whisper from beneath stable doors, are wagged into shape by willing dogs tails, pour through doors and windows.

The names below are a just some of those stored in a tiny bud of a cottage that grows from the corner of the big mama wall at the Crom Estate vegetable garden, which is now a National Trust allotment..

Tully, Daily, Murtle, Corbyn, Blake,

Gunny, Sacha, Missy, Percival,

Mickey, McManus, Maisy, Baffle, Mac,

Gaby, Mole, Red, Cally, Flight, Tilly, Joker,

May, Murphy, Angel, Cavan Boy,

Marney, Sally, Torma, Boyne,

Frazer, Archie, Blight, Captain,

Jumpy, Tyson, Glory, Baby.

Don’t forget Baby….. !

They reek of saddle oil, tar, baccy and climbing roses. Who gave these names to dogs, under-gardeners, ratters,stable- boys, conserve makers, ghillies?

Contrast these names now with names from the present day Geopark. Names spoken to people and animals we met at Marble Arch Caves Geopark.

Eugene, Bridget, Jo, King, Ruby,

Ignatius, Malachy, Seamus,

Murphey, Séan, Diane, David,

Catriona, Helen, and Mary -Jane

Never forget Mary-Jane……..!

On the subject of names. Doesn’t a blog really qualify for status as a PET and don´t we give pets  names? (where d´th´’Tamagotchi’s go?). You need to feed, talk, walk your blogs so why not name your blog?….. Go ON… give her a name.

Eels and things…..

I saw EELS in my minds eye while dreaming on the shores of our first campsite on the shores of Lough MacNean. I actually saw EELS and I saw TURTLES and I recorded what I had seen on our Dreaming Place Dream cloud data sheets.

That day I decided we should fish for EELS. I am vegetarian, but I’d like to fish for eels, just to trap’em, look at ’em, say hello and put ’em back. Id’ like to try Humane eel fishing.  Claire was very enthusiastic when I told her, for she has fished for eels in New Zealand and it was fun. New Zealand eels she told me are absolutely enormous. They’re ” As fat as your arm” over there, she said.

To trap EELS like this we’d need a horses head like in ” The Tin Drum” or at least some tuna and a sock. But oh I don’t think that would be fun and a sock with a dead mouse in it is about as far as we’d like to take this… so we went for a cycle ride hoping to find a dead mouse that had died ” a natural death”!

Anyway, the eel fishing stayed as a vision like the one I made in our dream cloud.

I also drew the TURTLES I’d dreamed on another dreaming place data sheet.  Claire has a special relationship with turtles, so I showed her my dreaming place postcard straight away. When we were at college Claire brought a small stone turtle with her to give her inspiration. Claire moves very fast and does a lot, so her turtle inspires her to take life at a slower pace. In her home state of New Mexico there has been a tradition of eating the turtles as they gather in the wetlands.

” TURTLE TIME  / TEA TIME”

Turtles would have been “tea”  over many thousands of years for the “original peoples” of  the MAC Geopark home waters and the other myriad loughs of  counties Cavan and Fermanagh. Turtles might also have provided  a tasty treat for otters, lynx, seals, golden eagles,bears, wolves, fox, fish and badgers.

No 10 DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing

No 9.DREAMING PLACE data sheet drawing

100 names for Rain

There are reputed to be a hundred names for snow, so why not a 100 names for rain.

Commence RAIN…..

Drizzle, slush, fine mist, cats and dogs, golden rain, relentless drizzle, hard rain, pissing it down rain, lashing it down, splashy rain, fine rain, drenching rain, just a shower, slashing it down rain, driving rain, artificial rain, acid rain, wet dog rain, prayed for rain, gurgling into gutters rain, on and on and on rain, cowardly rain, emotional rain, childhood rain, steam up ya specs rain, bleary rain, frozen rain, dreary rain, drumming rain, sprightly rain, nifty rain, curious rain, whiplash rain, wet laundry rain, welcome rain, refreshing rain, summer rain, coming down in buckets rain, bank holiday rain,dream rain, mean rain, drenched to the skin rain, clear the air rain, sluice rain, dishwater rain, rivulets of rain, radio rain, damp rain, spotting, rain over the sea, bountiful rain, put the sandbanks out rain, raining somewhere else, beach holiday rain, distant rain, sun and rain, turning to ice rain, turn your back to the rain rain, mythical rain, crystal rain, can’t find the keys rain, make lakes inside the tent rain, fun rain, run for cover rain, battery damper rain, splashing rain, filthy rain, fat drops of rain, surging rain, filtered rain, vertical rain, be-jewelled rain, sou’ester and oilskin rain, sprinkling rain, storybook rain, boot filling rain, beating rain, timely rain, cancelling rain, statistical rain, micro rain, miraculous rain, sploshing rain, pear drop shaped rain, slanting rain, beautiful rain, staining rain, thirsty rain, sprinkler saver rain, bucketing down, pouring and pouring rain, more rain, costly rain, swimming pool filling rain, shelter under a bush rain, water off a ducks back rain, thirst quenching rain, polluted rain darling rain, best rain, lip and run rain, break the drought rain, biblical rain, Irish rain, soaking rain, wash out, darts, weekend rain, fairy rain, good for the land rain, pitter -patter, flood rain, bullets, rain coat rain, hill top rain, fill bucket quickly rain, fat rain, wet rain, cold rain, nasty rain, wide-brimmed hat rain, frightening rain, sizzling rain, stinging rain, hot rain, under canvas rain, God given rain, bouncing rain, patient rain, giant’s rain, wants to go back home rain, delirium inducing rain, mega rain, freezing rain, timid rain, glorious rain, drought breaking rain, special rain, horrific rain, blinding rain, don’t go outdoors rain, horizontal rain, fickle rain, timid rain, burning rain, southwesterly rain, milky rain, rained like this  yesterday too rain, yellow rain, sleepy rain, seeping rain, excuse of a rain, call off a BBQ rain, light rain, shower of rain, Wimbledon rain, tea-break rain, narrow rain, drip into your eyes rain, stormy rain, instant noodles rain, melted snow rain, rain around a speck of dust rain, co2 rain, sulphurus rain, nice rain, settle in the seedlings rain, blank rain, car roof rain, kind rain, fresh morning rain, Monday morning rain, sick note rain, trench coat rain, slippery rain, dreary rain, stick your hair to your forehead rain, baby rain, feisty rain, come and go rain, dream rain, rice grain rain, Spanish rain, planters rain, thirsty rain, full rain, black rain, tropical rain, steamy rain, drenched to the skin rain, cruel rain, drought breaking rain, pouring rain.

Phew… how many RAINS is that?

What does gaelic rain sound like? ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Dreamers toolkit

Our  evolving Dreaming Place Toolkit – a list in images….
night and day/ collaboration

potions
wild strawberries

dreaming into place

ask for water
inhabit the view
collaborative drawing

cooking
documentation



The land dreams in many tongues


Languages are an important part of the diversity of place.

Climate and conditions naturally affect what languages sound like or how they look.  And so do migration of peoples, cultural expansion, invasion, politics, music and technologies. Sounds made by non-human inhabitants contribute to cultural exchange and communication and so do songs of animals and fungi. Languages are dreams of place!

The people, places and things that inhabit or visit Marble Arch Caves Geopark are very diverse and they have widely different voices. All those tree species, insects, clays and sands, bogs, butterflies and musical instruments – and what about our computers and our cars?…. what a mixture of languages and ways of being. Lots of languages use sound, but lots also are visual, gestural or tactile or a mixture of all of them.

The land dreams in many tongues. Listen here to water re entering the rock at Poll Sumer in the MAC Geopark.