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Posts tagged ‘art’

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.

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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.