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Posts tagged ‘anna’

Collaborative Drawing, 2nd Series – Drawing #5

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#5

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Tis the Season + micro-video: Ode to our Forests

Wishing you a peaceful and dream-filled Holiday Season and many warm wishes for a wonderful, “off-grid” New Year!

As a small gift to you, our readers, we wanted to share this micro illustrated video – Ode to Our Forests – that we made recently. It was inspired by efforts from Forest Ethics to protect the Boreal Forests of North America.

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.

Tales from the “Camino de Santiago” Pilgrim Trail.

P6150062As we rove the hills, mountains and villages of our “project-lands” around the world we meet with the wisdom and  kindness of strangers.

So too on “The Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail” in Northern Spain, Mark and I encounter  many inspiring and interesting people and Mark records their names on a hand-carved “tally stick” as a momento. I have added my own titles to their names to help me remember them.

Daniel the Courageous, Paulino of the Well, Serg the litter picker, Felisa of the Figs, Girl and boy with horse and dog. Mother and daughter Pila and Raquel, Irish politician Paul, Young Lisa and dog Roxanne, Eduardo Keeper of  caves and his Wife.

(and what about the girl and her mule “Chupito”maybe the stick was too short, Mark?)

I’m eager to share stories of some of the pilgrims we have met and I’ll start with the story of Daniel the Courageous.

DANIEL THE COURAGEOUS.

Waves of  barley break over the low-wild hills of Navarra to our left as a we catch up with another pilgrim. There is something about his lurching gait….that worries us.

“Oh my God,” says Mark. “Heart attack?” I reply.  The man stumbles again.  Mark is off…running  to his aid.  “Are  you alright?” he has real concern in his voice. The man is calm “No es nadam, estoy bien,” he says.

“How can we help? ” Mark replies.

“Here.” He passes over our water bottle. “Have some water.” The man is clearly exhausted, dying perhaps, beads of sweat on his forehead.

“What to do?” We look at each other for inspiration.

“Estoy muy bien, muchas gracias” repeats the man quietly, slowly.

A fellow pilgrim is suffering, we won’t leave him to his fate here on the dusty track. Mark asks him again how we can help.  He waves a tube of suntan lotion.  “Gracias,” he says shaking his head. “Estoy muy bien.” “You should rest a bit in the shade, its too hot,”  we say.   The man looks at us sympathetically then extends his hand in friendship.

“Soy Daniel” he says quietly.

We want to hear more so we lean in towards him and watch his lips. “Tengo Parkinsons”  says Daniel. We read his message loud and clear.

“PARKINSONS?” we gasp incredulous.

“But you are walking THE CAMINOOO and you have PARKINSONS ?”

Daniel is on a roll. “Voy a Burgos,” he says !! It turns out that Daniel is walking the whole Camino ,but like us he is doing it in stages.

“Oh my god.” “This is amazing “!! ” You are incredible” we say with English understatement. Meeting Daniel is awe – inspiring. We will NEVER complain AGAIN !!!

We wish him well shouting” Buen Camino” as we  pace off towards the horizon. But soon the violent glare of the sun forces us to stop and we sit out the siesta hours in the shade of poplars.

AND …. after a while who should  come down the lane but our friend DANIEL. If Santiago himself had just caught us up with us we would have been less surprised.  We run out into the sunshine to greet him.

He smiles and  begins to fumble in his bumbag. We watch his fingers struggle with the zip and search for a paper. He hands over his photocopied details in English, French and German.  “I am Daniel. I have  Parkinsons” says the English version.  We fold the paper with his contact details and tuck it away in Mark’s pack.  We want to join Daniel’s fan club.

“We’ll email when we get home ” we say. But Daniel is not finished. He tells us how his motor-biking companions bugged him to visit the doctor when he simply thought he was getting old. He got his diagnosis some years back and decided to do the Camino.

We wish Daniel well as he sets off again. The sun is still way too hot for us so we’ll catch him up later.The funny things is that we never do. Daniel is the tortoise and we are  the hare.

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.

Radio Dreaming Kickstarter Video is LIVE!

Radio Dreaming Kickstarter Video
Almost two years in the making, Radio Dreaming is definitely our most ambitious (and expensive) collaborative project to date.

We invite you to join the final push to launch our 5-part series and Radio Dreaming Pod Tour through Kickstarter. Watch our hand-crafted video and find out how to support our project. Donations from £5/$7 are rewarded with gifts of hand-drawn dream cloud postcards and printed Place Dreamer artifacts.

Go to: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/radiodreaming/claire-and-anna-radio-dreaming

Automatic + Free Writing = Place-Dreamer Tool

DewDrops

Usually Automatic Writing and Free Writing are considered to be two distinct practices, however we practice a combination of the two as part of our Place-Dreamer Toolkit.

According to Wikipedia “Automatic writing or psychography is writing which the writer claims to be produced from a subconscious, and/or external and/or spiritual source without conscious awareness of the content.”

Wikipedia defines Free Writing  as a “prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. Unlike brainstorming where ideas are simply listed, in freewriting one writes sentences to form a paragraph about whatever comes to mind.”

We use Free-Writing techniques combined with an aspect of the intention of Automatic Writing: we agree on a set amount of time in which to write continuously and we do not stop to correct spelling or grammar and we often agree on a starting phrase to get us going. The “Dreaming Place ” part of the tool is the location where we write and the approach that we take there. This goes back to the quote that inspired this project:

 “There is an early Celtic tradition that the earth remembers everything, perhaps accounting for what some call “dreams of place,” in which the land speaks through the dreamer.”

When we write, we write “In Place”, immersing ourselves in the environment and the unseen histories and personalities of that place. We allow our unconscious/subconscious to dictate the words that we write. What comes out is often interesting.

Below is a short excerpt from a free writing session that we did along the road up to Culcaigh Mountain. It is a combination of phrases from both Anna and Claire’s writing:

This place has seen every shade of green, turmoil under its roots, darkness falling from the sky in a blaze, a tiny man in a waistcoat silhouetted against a white horse, an epic game of chess, a knife blade broken in two, sun-warmed oats sprinkled into a hollow, layering of memories on bones and seeds and quietness. 

We have posted other examples of this technique HERE and HERE. Give it a try! See what happens. Let us know what you find….

Radio Dreaming Episode 1 is here!


We are oh-so-pleased to share Radio Dreaming Episode 1 with you all! It is called “Dreams, Food and the Edible Landscape.”

Listen to the entire radio program here.

This first episode of our Radio Dreaming series will debut on air in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark on Cavan Community Radio 97.4 fm, today, Thursday 21st of June at 2:40 pm, GMT. Other broadcasts are also scheduled for this summer. If you can’t catch the program on air, we invite you to listen to the entire radio program here at our blog.

Our evolving broadcast schedule can be viewed here and the Radio Dreaming press release can be viewed here.

Many thanks to all the people, places, creatures and things at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark for teaching us about DREAMING PLACE. And special thanks to those that contributed to this program and helped make it possible in a myriad of ways.

Please let us know of any radio stations that might be interested in broadcasting Radio Dreaming! More Radio Dreaming episodes are in the works so stay tuned….

We hope you enjoy listening and look forward to your feedback.

Romantic or premonitionary?

Listen here to our fears for the Geopark and decide for yourself – are our words romantic indulgence or premonition?

A very big and real threat now hangs over “our” Geopark and its beloved people, places and things. A license has been issued to the powerful mining company, Tamboran Resources, for the extraction of shale gas within the Geopark using the controversial process of “fracking.”

Far from Ireland Claire and I have been blogging away without doing anything until one day we realised that some of the most precious nature reserves are threatened along with the fresh water supply and clean air. We have written to Fermanagh Councillors with our concerns. Read our letter and the responses of individuals here –  Dear Anna and Claire.

We agree with Councilor, Barry Doherty, (Sinn Fein) for Erne West when he says “We have so much natural beauty above and below the ground in this part of the world that to even contemplate fracking this area is surprising if not down right crazy.”

We  join present inhabitants, organisations and councilors in demanding a moratorium on the license so that the Geopark vision keeps strong and the people, places and things of all Ireland remain vital and alive.

Find out more about fracking and the MAC Geopark here and how you can get involved here.

Our Geopark ancestors (audio)

We cycled to an old church up the lane near our campsite at Holywell, Belcoo. Listen here as we speak the names of the local ancestors from the headstones into our handheld audio recorder.

Now we read local home place names of the Geopark ancestors and though some of them are by now familiar we can’t help our mispronunciations – do excuse!

Maps and DREAMING PLACE


Map: a visual representation of an area; a symbolic depiction
highlighting relationships between
elements such as objects, regions, and themes.
As you can imagine, maps were important on our DREAMING PLACE
traveling residency, in more than one way!

We often depended on them to be shown places and information by others and to navigate roadways, paths, fields, parks and estates.

We mapped our journey in sound and in drawing and in some ways on this blog. We also discussed creating interactive maps as an outcome from the residency. These maps may still be on the way….stay tuned!

But there is really something special about maps that draw on senses other than sight for their creation or perception. Here is one example……

Marshallese stick chart, called rebbilib in Marshallese,
marks the islands and major wave patterns of the Marshalls

“…Marshallese navigational charts are not like our western-style maps; fishermen didn’t use them to measure distance or count miles. Instead, they used them as memory aids, reviewing them before a journey but not bringing them along. It is said that a fishermen would study his charts, leave them behind, and then lie on his back in the canoe, the better to feel the rise and fall of the ocean swells. He interpreted the map with his body memory, not with his eyes.”

Read the blog post about rebbilib by Sue Fierston in its entirety here.

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.

Animals Dreaming 2


Remember this lovely springer spaniel from the beginning of our journey? It turns out that scientists agree with us that non-human dreamers, like this lovely 4-legged, have a rich dream life.

This topic often captures our attention and has appeared in several previous posts such as here and here.

You can listen to some of our musings about animals dreaming at these previous posts, Fisherfolk Dreaming and Dream Food Vision.


So, according to scientists (as represented on Wikipedia’s dream page), “Sleeping and dreaming are intertwined….REM sleep and the ability to dream seem to be embedded in the biology of many organisms that live on Earth. All mammals experience REM. The range of REM can be seen across species: dolphins experience minimum REM, while humans remain in the middle and the opossum and the armadillo are among the most prolific dreamers.”

Apparently there have been studies that have “observed dreaming in monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, elephants and shrews [and] ….There have also been signs of dreaming in certain birds and reptiles. 

Here is another interesting twist offered on Wikipedia:

In 1954 the theta rhythm was discovered by two scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles when experimenting with rabbits, shrews, moles and rats. The theta rhythm is the oscillatory pattern of electric activity in the brain. [Interesting discovery, but the idea of experimenting on animals makes me cringe!] This discovery lead to a commentary published in 1972 that explained differences in Theta Rhythm where defined by respective animal behaviors. Awake animals showed high Theta Rhythm when behaving in ways that where crucial to their survival, for example: eating and reproducing. This apparently was a response to a changing environment. The theta rhythm occurs during REM and studies suggest it “reflected a neural process whereby information that is essential to the survival of the species” is gathered throughout the day and is “reprocessed into memory during REM sleep”. In conclusion: “dreams may reflect a memory-processing mechanism inherited from lower species”.

Some scientists argue that humans dream for the same reason other mammals do. From a Darwinian perspective dreams would have to fulfill some kind of biological requirement or provide some benefit for natural selection to take place. Antti Revonsuo, a professor at the University of Turku in Finland, claims that centuries ago dreams would prepare humans for recognizing and avoiding danger by presenting a simulation of threatening events. This threat-simulation theory was presented in 2000.

This makes sense in a way, as we humans are in fact mammals. But how, I wonder, does this theory fit into modern human dreaming patterns? If dreams served to prepare us for danger in the past, what purposes do they serve now?

If you would prefer a religious/spiritual perspective over science, here is another take:

“God sleeps in stone, breathes in plants, dreams in animals, and awakens in man”
– Hindu Proverb

Radio dreams – coming true!

Our dream of making some of the audio footage we recorded during our travels through the Marble Arch Caves Geopark into a 30-minute radio feature is becoming reality….We are hard at work on our radio show, Anna in Devon and Claire in New Mexico, listening to footage, comparing notes, editing and stringing sounds together. The show is forming roots, taking shape and growing and changing in the process, much like potatos growing underground.


Listen below to a description of ideas for DREAMING PLACE radio, as described to Ignatius Maguire during our tour of his traditional farm, his potato fields and the special pot designated for potato washing:

Since this was recorded, we have had oodles of ideas and time in front of the computer editing. We are very excited to share the results with you. We plan to post “preview” segments of the upcoming radio show here on the blog and we would love your feedback. Tell us what you think!

When the first DREAMING PLACE radio show is finished we will of course let you know when and where it will be aired so that you can tune in on your radio or via live streaming online.

Dreaming Yews

We climbed in the wide branches of two famous, ancient, entwined male and female Yew trees on the Crom estate. They are reputedly the oldest Yew trees in Ireland and possibly in all of Europe. According to the National Trust website, the trees were planted in the 17th Century, but other websites proclaim the trees to be much older – as many as 800 years.


The Yew Tree is now a rarity in Ireland, but the tree still has a mythic cultural prominence. Rich in mythology, symbolism and historic and prehistoric cultural uses, Yew trees are shrouded with mystery and power. The large, majestic trees have a commanding presence, not least because all parts of the Yew tree contain poisonous alkaloids, except for the bright red arils encasing its seeds.

As we climbed, swung and perched in the grand branches of the trees,  we mused about the dreams shared and the hundreds of years of history witnessed by the arboreal pair. What do Yew trees dream of? How many dreamers have taken refuge in the protection of these trees and which of their dreams were caught in the great web of their branches?


We are sure that dreams and yew trees are tied up together somehow and here is a bit of proof. Read about a Yew dream from the 1600’s “Somnium ex Eubernea porta” from Mrs. Cl., of S. here.

For more information about Yew trees visit the Ancient Yew Group at  www.ancient-yew.org.

Drawing as Dreaming

Drawing has a special place near the top of our now bulging dreamers toolkit! It’s fun and useful and a methodology that travels well.

Collaborative drawing is a way people can dream together. It’s also a valuable way to explore experiences, connections and ideas.

As our drawing grows our adventures deepen. Like the ancient fossilized coral reefs under our feet here at Marble Arch Caves Geopark, the  nooks and cranniess created by our pens are home to interesting and unusual inhabitants. For the time we are here the rich biodiversity of our imaginations and dreams forms part of the wider  Geopark ecology.

Dreams, thoughts and imaginings of people, places and things are part of the distinct ecologies of the planet.

The whole world is a drawing.