You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘woods’ tag.
Stay perfectly still.
Let the animals keep watch, and let them watch one another. In movements of tail and ear and flinches of pelt let them steadily project between them the quality of risk in the air. Let them instruct by example, twitch provoking twitch, flight provoking flight.
Move slowly and maintain a loose hold of its limbs, and you can pose the body of a sleeping animal so it appears to be awake. With minutely thin supports you can prop its eyelids open and stare it into the forest blind. Stay down, let it dream. Let the dream direct the movement of its eyes.
Let the animals around believe the life of its sleeping eyes and incorporate its gaze into their watch. Let them project the twitches of sleep out onto the forest floor and flee the dislocated threats they seem to show. Let this go on.
Once, and by chance, let their pattern of flight perfectly correspond with the spectacle behind the sleeping eyes which, in a jolt of recognition, conceal even from the sleeper the instant of its waking. Let the animals continue to dart
as it follows them follow its stare.
Tomorrow afternoon’s Digestives broadcast on Resonance FM is Holidays Vocabulary, a new work of mine based on the sound files I unearthed on an old dictaphone of mine last month. It’s an experiment in translation.
Holidays Vocabulary airs tomorrow at 4:30pm and is repeated this Friday at 7:30pm, and you can listen by clicking the ‘Listen Now’ mp3 stream at www.resonancefm.com, or tune in to 104.4fm inside London. Afterwards it will be available to download as a podcast at www.antepress.co.uk.
This is part of the accretions text I’m working on. Today I’m trying to equate it to the relationship between question and answer, and the relationship between the manufacturing process of a utensil and the process of using it once it’s complete.
That the completeness of sleep would dislodge the sleeper from the sad substance of its body, leaving the body lucidly present in the waking world to be posed without consent to brutal ends. It is that with minute delicacy the body of the sleeping animal might be posed to appear awake. That even its sleeping eyelids might be propped open on invisibly thin supports to stare blindly at the world, in complete oblivion appearing to reciprocate. That while no sound is made without and no jolt within, it might continue to people its sleeping world with dreams that tumble and sprawl, and with its silent eyeballs superimpose their moves among the watchers. It is that the watchers might follow the patterns of breath and blood beneath its fur to trust its dislocated imagination and commune approximately with its dreams on the forest floor.
This is Kafka’s The Burrow as it approaches my work. This month I’m working on a set of a dozen texts like this one, each of which presents a text or idea as a tool which operates, or is operated by, the central argument of my commentary (which I can’t post here yet, it isn’t finished). I’m thinking of calling my central commentary the verb and all these texts objects.
(Page numbers are from Kafka’s Selected Stories (Norton Critical Editions, trans & ed. Stanley Corngold 2007.)
The animal periodically exits its burrow only to find it feels more protected from the outside, watching potential predators fail to notice its entrance and imagining the safety of its private underground world, and “the lovely hours [spent] half peacefully sleeping, half happily wakeful [...] in passages that are designed precisely for me, for comfortable stretching, childish tumbling, dreamy sprawling, blissful falling asleep” (p. 175)
Such hunger for surveillance reflects the reality of a life underground blighted by such fear of mortal threat that the animal “hardly knows an hour of complete peace”, even in sleep dreaming of a “lascivious snout sniff[ing] incessantly around” (p. 162). Yet during its excursions the animal appears oblivious to any danger as it lingers unguarded on the forest floor. On watch outside the burrow, the animal seems unreal, like an impalpable projection of itself cast by its burrow-dwelling self out into the world to survey its own safety:
Nick put two screws through one piece of wood and into another one and then when he’d done it he had a thing. He looked at the thing almost surprised, did a few motions with it to check it really had three dimensions, and then he tried it on the table. Sure enough, it went on the table.
The way Nick makes things, he doesn’t make them from all over at once. Even if he knows what they’re pretty much going to look like, all the holes and fixtures have to be made from one place at a time or they won’t go in straight. Then after he’s put all the bits in place he can hold it apart and check, and see what it works like.
We worked together for a couple of days last week to see how a collaboration might work. I wrote things and he made things, and we tried to keep track of what one another were up to. Read the rest of this entry »
Locks allow canal boats to navigate sloping terrains by raising or lowering the level of the water. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m doing a writing residency at South London Gallery this year along with the other five on my Art Writing MA. The plan is to make three publications with SLG recording our residency, one in conjunction with each exhibition we work on. The exhibition we’ve begun with is Rivane Neuenschwander’s Suspension Point, and we spent today at the gallery writing things in response to the show.
Below is a formal review I wrote of the work, which will make an appearance in the first publication along with some other more ‘creative’ writing from all of us. I’ll put some of my other things online tomorrow, crossings-out and all.
Rivane Neuenschwander – Suspension Point
South London Gallery, London, 3 October – 30 November 2008
Suspension Point is immediately an experiential exhibition: one that yields only to the physical navigation of its objects, surfaces, temporalities and narratives which continually exchange as they reveal themselves over time. Yet conceived as a single, monolithic work, the internal relations within the exhibition remain entirely its own, and refuse to be inhabited by the extraneous viewer. This is the paradoxical territory in which Neuenschwander suspends the viewer, signalled from the outset by the open doorway to the exhibition hall, symmetrically framing a staircase that leads out of view: the work is precisely here, but from where you stand it is out of reach.
Read the rest of this entry »
The other weekend I went home to Folly Lodge and since then I’ve written this.
Songs my father taught me:
One more step along the world I go,
One more step along the world I go,
From the old things to the new,
Keep me travelling along with you.
My exceedingly old father is an architect, and built our house from two smaller houses that were there before, and a lawn that has gone to moss by now. He emails me now, now and then, and I try to visit when I can. I love him very much. To the west of the garden, which is open and edged by woods, is an open pathway that marks the boundary of our property. Past the pathway are other, separate woods, and last April I stood among their novel roots.
The boundary path had never been hidden and had