Hi James, as the other groups are now well 'off the blocks' the coast is clear for us to continue. I have a set of words which came from a stream of consciousness writing exercise about existence. Feel free to play, break and respond, or take things in another direction.
pen / paper / apostrophes misplaced or otherwise / punctuation and its abusers / trains and their trajectory / clothes and their removal / sun and rain / clouds and mayhem / rain and window / squeaking doors / ominous signs / footsteps across a floor / floor show / late announcements / customer information / hunger drive / love intentionally / longing for more / wonder what / way to go / chance of an uplift / songs of innocence / music of the masses / smiles hiding terror / happiness and majesty / birds and their haunts / animals and their diets / pets as transition objects / fruit machines / chocolate source / food of the gods / beer as comfort food / alcohol resistance / drink me / glass ceiling / windows on the world / glances from a stranger on a train / grass snake / trees in pots / hills and valleys / fields of wheat / farming today / industry and creativity / money to burn / words on a page / language of the street / poetry in the mix / literature review / inquiry with malign intent / science fiction / ideas welcome / absolute zero / algebra zebra / fashion house / theology of creativity / religion that builds bridges / politics that build futures / imagination for a better world / imitation as flattery / recording birdsong / art and text / sea creatures.
islands in the sun / soil sample / land banking / unfathomable distances / space between / planets out of alignment / stars of stage and screen / dust jackets / insects as superfood / trace elements / life of Brian / sex industry / joy / me / you alone / people fleeing the city / cities as ecological systems / room at the inn / silk road / fabric as moment / dancing in the street / elements of dissent / philosophy of art / purpose of learning / being yourself / source material / objective lens / death by a thousand cuts / cause to wonder / effect and affect / time pieces / delight the senses / fear of failure / hate and loathing / Daily Mail / suspicion of strangers / touch not / vision impairment / intricate design / mind over matter / thought experiment / intelligence of crowds / beginning to grow / end of an era / Holocaust denial / progress to the next level / disappointment is a weapon / aspiration feeds the system / Bananas to all this / Woman of mystery / Cry like a baby / Quarter sessions / Satisfaction guaranteed / necessity engine / worries and fears / doubt and certainty / heaven for everyone / hell of a time / fishing rights / running for your life / petting zoo / horseplay at the seaside / play as coping mechanism / colour the picture / light of my life / texture for traction / laws of physics / laws of thermodynamics.
sleep deprivation / Glastonbury Tor / there ain't no sanity clause / mortgage slave / good way to behave / evil on my mind / right of way / wrong direction / up town / down town / Night at the opera / Holy Bible / Hendrix smash hits / Picasso fingers / Nietzsche on speed / myth take / story and metaphor / history of art / guesswork and speculation / cheating at cards / looking at birds / illusions and delusions / Bach and Kraftwerk / conception detection / Blues is the truth / Déjà Vu / No fun / surprises in the afternoon / use of lower case letters / regrets and little egrets / war torn / famine victim / chuggers on the high street / Tottenham Hotspur / Jimmy Greaves / hidden patterns in nature / meaning and inference / attraction of opposites / chemistry brothers / male is the weaker / female of the species / plumbing problems / communication breakdown / misunderstanding your own writing / friendship substitute / rivalry in the rat race / theatre of the absurd / comic timing / point blank / education as a human right / improvement plan / Funkadelic taking it to the stage / faith hope and charity / beauty in diversity / parallel universe / multiverse formation / mathematics as poetry / marriage vows / family life / no place like home / dictatorial regimes / prison sentence / freedom marches / distress and dismay.
euphoria granted / dustmen moonlighting / enormous feeling of wellbeing / terror suspect / surrender your weapons / empire of protection / setting-sun / Fellowship of the Ring / magick minstrels / self aggrandisement / other elements / relativity making the case / water-lilies in the duck pond / night of the round table / day one / future of the planet / random acts of kindness / hugs as currency / blind panic / Subterranean Homesick Blues / ice cap melting / parking an idea / evolution of a concept / single-cell organisms / sweat bands / atoms in parallel / sub-atomic particles / quantum mechanics / Bakerloo Line / Boot and Flogger / Monty Python / heroic failures / Charge of the Light Brigade / lullaby on death row / revolution deflected / law of Moses / Plato and his cave / democracy as the least worst system of government / pork scratchings in the Star Tavern / Queen Mother Reservoir / Father Ted / guilt by association / precautionary principle / global warming / gold in the stone / greed is not good / inequality kills people / slaughter of the innocents / rolling downland / short-cropped grass / skylarks on the wing.
problem child / trouble brewing / sympathy in short supply / qualms and misgivings / mysticism and misdirection / conjecture about motivation / painstaking research / fantasy fiction / journeys to other dimensions/ decompression chambers / exploration of ideas / Freddie Mercury / coming home in time for tea / No Particular Place to Go / numbers on the door / rainbows and waterfalls / fire in the hole / air in the tubes / Gibson Les Paul / Leica lenses / alibis coming unstuck / Glossy Ibises / self-control / revision timetables / new year resolutions / thinking outside the box / 1966 World Cup Final / Wild Horses / Song of Wandering Aengus / new arrivals / departures from the scene / angels in raincoats / rain forest clearances / Amélie takes decisive action / cancer takes a holiday / peace someday / Steinway pianos / electricity in the air / gas in the tank / nuclear weapons / logos on togas / British Library / Foyles bookshop / illuminated manuscripts / pyramids with preservative properties / Swan Lake / seed drill / Jethro Tull / diving bells / butterflies and wheels / discovery channel / Joshua Tree / Ayers Rock / Dreamtime in the meantime / ancestors aren't what they used to be / Syd Barrett singing Here I Go / thing on the green / Nothing to declare.
I've been thinking, at the margins of my days, about the sites that interest me. And on those posted and written about in James' post from Monday 'Text from images and Landscapes'.
Here are three sites where I might have gone with my placards if:
(a) I had made them yet
(b) it wasn't miserably wet outside
Greenham Common (above) - here we see the missile solos where US Cruise Missiles were sited during the later days of the Cold War. Site of protest by the Women's Peace Camp, some of whom stayed put for 19 years until the whole site was decommissioned and returned to public access land. The two mile long runway and surrounding land is now all returned to heathland habitat. Dartford Warblers and Woodlarks nest here. Ring Ouzels stop-by on passage. An improvement on Cruise Missiles, in my estimation. The descendants of the dinosaurs, just waiting for us to move over and give them space.
Below, a drawing I made of Burnthouse Lane, behind the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield. A site I visit regularly to watch the birds who carry on regardless of the monstrous technologies being developed across the road. Here I have watched Little Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Ruff, Winchat and Yellow Wagtail to name but few of the avian delights awaiting the patient observer.
Below that, a wintery image of a male Stonechat on what remains of Twyford Down. The downland through which humans drove a massive slice of destruction in order to extend the M3 motorway. It was a site of protest and demonstration, dissent and agitation until the destruction was completed. The separated sides, joined by a footbridge, still support the remnants of wildlife that cling to existence there. I admit I regularly drive through this gouged landscape on the way to Southampton, or the coast. I always reflect on it as a violation of a rare and finely-balanced habitat.
I'm just sharing an image from the CAS Project Laboratory of Dissent 2015. Teams of artists worked a week each in a tag-team manner. This image shows part of my collaboration with David Dixon and Helen Northcott. A bit of a throwback but this was in some ways the precursor to the Block_Chain dissent project.
It feels like we've only just begun our Block but we officially hand over the baton to Block 2 on Monday night.
My plans for the weekend involve spending all day today and tomorrow writing minutes and Board papers for greenbelt.org.uk
and taking part in a public reading for readinginternational.org
But I will also get to the studio to make my placards. Heavy rain is forecast most of the weekend but I will find a window to get out to somewhere and get at least one photo of the 'Nature is us all in the end' placard in a wild setting (preferable Greenham Common). If I can get the others made and documented too I'll feel like I've pushed as far as I can in this first phase.
I would like to continue this dialogue beyond Monday's deadline. It really feels like it could be the beginning of something (as well as obviously being the beginning of Block_Chain). It has been exciting exchanging and reflecting so far. It would be interesting to see where it wants to go.
James, thank you for your further reflections and for the generation of new forms from the original word exchange.
I am very conscious that my participation in this two week virtual residency has so fare been more like a ten day virtual absence! I apologise for this - I am in a perfect storm of deadlines from four different directions which have all coincided with this fortnight and are taking all my waking hours, of which there are far too many. But for the next half hour, with God Speed You Black Emperor! (Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress) as my soundtrack, I have some time to write:
Your reflections on place - and the photographs - are poignant. My places would be Greenham Common (where Dartford Warblers have replaced tactical nuclear missiles in recent years); Burghfield AWE, or more specifically the footpath and gravel pit behind the nuclear bomb factory, where I have been birdwatching for the last ten years; and Cookham - Stanley Spencer's 'village in heaven' - because Stanley was one of my main artist influences at the beginning of my journey back into art-making.
I also enjoyed your selection of phrases. From the various iterations you have taken the word-exchange through, I have selected:
the power of wrong
nature is us all in the end
Week 2 proposal for discussion and development:
Peter has suggested that we take parts of the text we have working on and produce some images. Initially this idea only covered the text that steamed from my words and Peter's responses e.g. public hair/ Tony Blair.
The exercise would be as follows;
Taken from the text Peter and James have been working on, Peter and James will select black/red responses or pairings/mixings of words/phrases. They will select 4-5 of these pairings each and write them onto placards. They will then arrange photographs of themselves/others holding the placards on location at places/sites of significance to their practices/idea of dissent. The resulting photographs will be shown as a set on Instagram/Twitter.
The text has since been expanded upon, it now includes new pieces of text we have created e.g.
This is from a writing another exercise using the joint text. I would be interested in the same photo exercise but using some of this text. The sentences / groups of words I would use are;
everyone has a hymn
no performance no satisfaction
construct the head
performing reluctant political optimism
riot girls where you aren’t allowed
armpit hair grow on trees
What do you think Peter?
The Power of Two!
Over the weekend I've been writing short descriptions of different landscapes (around Devon as that's where I'm based) as a writing exercise. Landscapes in one form or another, seems to come in to our works and I thought it would be an interesting experiment. I've spent 5-10 mins on each piece writing about the image in some.
Dartmoor is a dark, bleak and forgotten landscape. It hasn’t been touched in years. Rocks are scattered around the floor like bricks on a building site, like the rubble left by an explosion. The sky is sucking the remaining life from the area. Drip by drip. It is almost black and white. The cold and uncomforting blue haze that lights the moors highlights the snow. This is a cold uncaring place. Soon it will be night time. The landscape will come alive at night, it is slowly counting down the hours until it night when anyone left on its belly, will surely be eaten. This is a sleeping giant, an unforgiving monster, lying dormant but always aware. It is conscious and ready to strike. You need to have your wits about you if you want to be on the moors.
Woolacombe North Devon Beach
Red, blue, yellow and green, we stand strong together. Hold the line! Hold the line! A hundred, sheds strong. It’s calm now but these veterans know that when she comes she is powerful, unstoppable and relentless. Let her come, we with wood and paint and in our masses, will stand strong against her. We protect those sheltering in our bellies and our reflections show more than we are – to intimidate the sea into submission. Rock that has been corroded down to make this soft sand, a victim to her power. Only we beach huts stand between the sea and fresh rock behind. Ripples of water drain away, rejoining their parent body. A severed finger, a lost leg, all body parts from our previous battles. Red, blue, yellow and green, we stand strong together.
Plymouth Outdoor Swimming Pool
The single divide between a cold and hot afternoon is a powerful block of cement. It chops through the water like a knife to butter, still, we know that If the sea was angry enough, it could tear it down. Until then, it surrounds the people like a protective shell. Babies, lovers, families and tourists surround the pool, all in good spirits. Jumping into the water below with a attitude. From above, the people look like ants at a picnic as the edges of the pool are covered with black dots. People taking photos, watching on as relatives make waves and spotting the naval fleet out to sea. The building is a cold one. Built in the 50’s, its function only and tot kind. This building is like a totalled tower block in aesthetic, with pieces of brick and metal support railing poking out all across the surface. The swimmers dart around in bare feet, running quickly over the unforgiving grey cemented floor. They all soon jump back in the water, before the cold takes a hold.
I've been exploring different ways of breaking up this text to see where it takes me creatively. Each time, I tried applying different rules to the same piece of text (4 different copies in total, numbered in the bottom corner) - I've attached each exercise below for you to see. The text is out joint writing, my exercise and your response. The rules I applied to each copy are as follows;
1. I chose to blank out the words I didn't like.
2. I chose words that I liked and actively tried to link them together to form new sentences - blanking out everything I didn't want to keep.
3. I rolled a dice and blanked out the word equal to the number rolled.
4. I highlighted my words and your responses that I liked.
Hi James, here is a response to your streams of consciousness. I have tried to react or develop from your words really quickly, one by one, sometimes in a dissenting/contrary way, other times to amplify an idea, or just with pop culture references or all the other nonsense that fills my consciousness. My additions are in red
places/sites / people/beings / outside buildings/sheds / placards/SWP / unions/organised labour / language/dialect / text/message / words/sword / protesting/complaining / right words in the wrong place, wrong words in the right place/in season and out of season / signs/wonders / shouting/rooftops / warning/shepherds / protests/eye-tests / performance/audience / aggressive?/hard enough? / are you welcome/who isn't welcome? / are you, the artist, alien to the landscape/are you the landscape?
will not be contained/bring me that horizon / sea walls/salt marsh / grey, brown, mud/rich black soil / piers/end-of-the-pier-show / destroyed/regenerated / trains stopped/Mr Beeching / bricks carried away in the sea/container ships / little trophies/small pleasures / show of strength/fairground / mountains/eagles / wilderness/solitude / barren/dormant / under the sea/20,000 leagues / no chance of life/one chance of life / nature is the most powerful/entropy gets us all in the end / constantly surprises/nothing new under the sun / we can’t control/no self control / harsh/words / terrain/terrapin / overcome/undergo / struggle for dominance/settling for less
over another/under a brother / manipulation/control / surroundings/embrace / boarders/Hogwarts? / over culture/sub-culture / culture of silence and violence/talking about mercy / Harvey Weinstein/entitled prick / control/Joy Division / power/balance / show of strength/show of hands / closing of the mouth/the beginning of wisdom / gagging/for it / power of speech/MLK / over language/careless whisper / words are power/deeds not words / afraid of talk/safe-spaces / communication/Communards / transparency/acetate / everyone has a voice/sing from the same hymn sheet / power in numbers/we are legion
speak out/express / art/life / affective tool/soft weapon / weapon/waging peace / can bring powerful people down, build dangerous people up/dumbocracy / ordinary people into heroes/No More Heroes / gets people to do things that doesn’t make sense/ logical/People do the strangest things/ language to get what you want/You Can't Always Get What You Want/ not about physical strength/small but mighty/ strongest mind – convincing others your idea is the best/debate / convince them/ hearts and minds/ Trump/Banana /communicate ideas to hundreds/Caxton/ writing/shared knowledge/ teaching people to read/literacy /not letting people read/grammar rules / translating books/interpreting dreams / illegal/censorship / knowledge/wisdom / performance/cast / who is convincing?/what is truth?
performance/gravity / body/resonance / human body/ageing / getting across a point/coming across an insight/ how they are said/it's the way I tell 'em / speaking vs. reading/from the heart / what is more powerful/what works? / impact/incision / words and cadence/meter / body/instrument / language/music / rhyme/scansion / do I like the person talking?/first impressions? / different written down/Speech Debelle / no performance delivered/No Satisfaction / reader must construct the text in their head/ write it in your heart / dictated to by someone/The Great Dictator / text messages/SMS / can’t get across meaning/lost in translation / intent/content / humour/bants /performance won’t work written down without knowledge of writer/writer won't work sitting down without knowledge of performance / lost in translation/great minds think alike but fools seldom differ / who is reading and who is writing text?/Consumers or Producers of culture?
wrong land /location location location/ not appropriate/not in keeping / style of building/mode of being/ offensive/defensive / subversive/perverted / blasphemous/profane public art/mascots for the masses / offensive to some/there can be no consensus / not the right figure/ sub-optimal/ naked?/ nude?/ hero?/heroine? / villain?/but his mum loved him / what was the historical figure like?/ history is written by the victors / money/get away / campaign to get a woman on the £10 note/ the Queen doesn't count - you know what we mean / not accepting the current system/ discontent / actively going against something/ what have you got? speaking out /I'm Spartacus / voices/in unison / whose voice is important?/ all animals are equal but...
language / vocabulary / physically showing a message / demo / graffiti / the writing's on the wall / voicing things that are damaging / shouting 'Fire' in a crowded theatre / don’t let people see the mess / better to keep silent and be thought a fool.../ death of the author / revival of the reader / who wrote the text – does it matter? / I bet you think this song's about you / more or less authority? / weight and tone / writing your name / and this is me / details/ schmetails / petitioning / what, anutherr one? / data collection / Big Data / valuable information / monetising knowledge / selling of mass data / data is money / data being leaked / freedom of information / Sony / and Share / opinions / positions / voices are damaging if they are the right ones saying the right things / the power of words / wrong things / heresy / signs / tells / easy to recognise / so hard to define / logos / Word / recognition from the masses / automatic for the people / putting text where people can see it / Lets' Take it to the Stage / where is it not accepted to put text? / Bill Stickers Will Be Prosecuted /different from talking / you get me? / no performance / action / performer? / actor? / author? or participant?
performing outside a theatre or art space / the streets / interrupting day to day life / excuse me, while I kiss the sky / human body / life vehicle / figure / go figure / naked? / clothed / shocking? / pink/ fantastic in the ordinary surroundings / spectacle / environment / ecology / dissent in performance / descent into chaos /the performance or the place? / right time, right place / the audience? / the participants? / performing to people who don’t want to see it / reluctant audience / political / personal / confrontational / optimism / Pussy Riot / Guerrilla Girls/ performing where you aren’t allowed to / No Ball Games / dissent through performance / descent through the clouds / dissent just in being / I am what I am / human body / weapon of choice / naked / disarming /performer arrested for letting the public feel her naked breasts / hello boys / is there anything other than nudity? / diminishing returns/ political clothing / the beret / hijab and burqa in France / Liberté, for some / symbols / signs / jewellery / rings / the cross / the gallows / slogans on t-shirts / Now Read This / Nazi t-shirts / just obeying orders/ punk / purgative / Sid Vicious / Pretty Vacant / offensive language / offensive inequality / offensive hair / offensive bigotry / body hair/ mammals / woman’s hair / women's equality / armpit hair / it doesn't grow on trees / leg hair /femur fur/ pubic hair / Tony Blair/ freedom of expression / can you say that? / freedom of speech / freedom to be wrong / swearing in public /to give proper emphasis / c**t means the same but isn’t a word /cult?/ f word / Farage? c word / Cameron? s word /Stop? is it the meaning or spelling? Both
I've just been revisiting my stream of consciousness writing and thought it would be good to share some selected parts - maybe some words or phrases will catch your eye.
places / people / outside buildings / placards / unions / language / text / words / protesting / right words in the wrong place, wrong words in the right place / signs / shouting / warning / protests / performance / aggressive? / are you welcome / are you, the artist, alien to the landscape?
will not be contained / sea walls / grey, brown, mud / piers / destroyed / trains stopped / bricks carried away in the sea / little trophies / show of strength / mountains / wilderness / barren / under the sea / no chance of life / nature is the most powerful / constantly surprises / we can’t control / harsh / terrain / overcome / struggle for dominance
over another / manipulation / surroundings / boarders / over culture / culture of silence and violence / Harvey Weinstein / control / power / show of strength / closing of the mouth / gagging / power of speech / over language / words are power / afraid of talk / communication / transparency / everyone has a voice / power in numbers
speak out / art / affective tool / weapon / can bring powerful people down, build dangerous people up / ordinary people into heroes / gets people to do things that doesn’t make sense / logical / language to get what you want / not about physical strength / strongest mind – convincing others your idea is the best / convince them / Trump / communicate ideas to hundreds / writing / teaching people to read / not letting people read / translating books / illegal / knowledge/ performance / who is convincing?
performance / body / human body / getting across a point / how they are said / speaking vs. reading / what is more powerful / impact / words and cadence / body language / rhyme / do I like the person talking? / different written down / no performance delivered / reader must construct the text in their head / dictated to by someone / text messages / can’t get across meaning / intent / humour / performance won’t work written down without knowledge of writer / lost in translation / who is reading and who is writing text?
wrong land / not appropriate / style of building / offensive / subversive / blasphemous / public art / offensive to some / not the right figure / naked? / hero? / villain? / what was the historical figure like? / money / campaign to get a woman on the £10 note / not accepting the current system / actively going against something / speaking out / voices / whose voice is important?
language / physically showing a message / graffiti / voicing things that are damaging / don’t let people see the mess / death of the author / who wrote the text – does it matter? / more or less authority? / writing your name / details / petitioning / data collection / valuable information / selling of mass data / data being leaked / Sony / opinions / voices are damaging if they are the right ones saying the right things / wrong things / signs / easy to recognise / logos / recognition from the masses / putting text where people can see it / where is it not accepted to put text? / different from talking / no performance / performer? / author?
performing outside a theatre or art space / interrupting day to day life / human body / figure / naked? / shocking? / fantastic in the ordinary surroundings / environment / dissent in performance / the performance or the place? / the audience? / performing to people who don’t want to see it / political / confrontational / Pussy Riot / performing where you aren’t allowed to / dissent through performance / dissent just in being / human body / naked / performer arrested for letting the public feel her naked breasts / is there anything other than nudity? / political clothing / hijab and burqa in France / symbols / jewellery / the cross / slogans on t-shirts / Nazi t-shirts / punk / Sid Vicious / offensive language / offensive hair / body hair/ woman’s hair / armpit hair / leg hair / pubic hair / freedom of expression / freedom of speech / swearing in public / c**t means the same but isn’t a word / f word / c word / s word / is it the meaning or spelling?