Alison Lloyd: Foot Work

FOOT WORK

We walking to a rhythm from the station to CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology)

The power of visualization during the devising of a ‘memory palace’.  Sitting at one end of a small bridge and being somewhere else, somewhere I had been at the beginning of the week, with feelings of vertigo I am sitting on the edge of the White Cliffs of Dover looking out towards (Pas de Calais) Northern France.

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Then waving back to the group who are now standing on the bridge.  Claire and I join hands and walk back to our starting point.

Standing under the first working wind turbine on Jess Allen’s journey to the wind farm.  Discussions with Mark on how to get off Heidegger’s philosophical path.

Thoughts about another art work on another walk, by Hamish Fulton called, Rain in the Manifold Valley.  It’s subtitle is ‘Conversations of Other Walks’.  Which I always remember it as, Walking in the Manifold Valley Talking About Other Walks.  A memory of being on the Ridgeway in the pouring rain, tucked inside my rain gear, watching a figure in black come closer and closer towards me, and wondering if I should be scared.

I thought it was a Puma!

The meeting and walking, rain pouring down our faces, talking about the most epic walks we had ever done.  He talked about the Cairngorms and the Larig Ghru and I talked about losing a fellow walker, in torrential rain, until I met another lone walker out on the hill, who asked me if I was looking for a friend?

Autobiography and Where is Ana Mendieta? by Jane Blocker.   And Carolee Schneeman’s performance, Interior Scroll, staged in 1975 and again in 1977. Blocker (1999, p 6)

I met a man

a structuralist filmmaker …

he said we are fond of you

you are charming

but don’t ask us

to look at your films

we cannot

there are certain films

we cannot look at

the personal clutter

the persistence of feelings …

Carolee Schneeman, More than Meet Joy, ed. Bruce McPherson (New York: Documentext, 1979), 238 – 39

The conversation in the lift that Karen recalled that she had with Nancy Holt on her work as an artist when she was with Robert Smithson. To paraphrase, Nancy Holt said something like,  “I was there making concrete poetry and burying it”.

Something about the being in the intensity of (Foucault)  Watching the walking artists who come from the tradition of dance move with such purpose.

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Michel Foucault Lectures in ‘Utopian Body’ cited by Somatechnics, Issue 4.1, Edinburgh University Press.

My body … is the absolute place, the little fragment of space where I am, literally, embodied’  (2006:229)

Moira and the Hairy Vetch that she cultivated in her armpit, before she planted out the seedlings in New York City.

Jess showed me that it works to bring people to walk in the steps of a  project.

Our day out walking on the Friday that was mythologised by us from a 10/12 mile walk to a 20 mile walk.  I knew in my body and the map that it was no more than a 10 mile hike.  I found myself distrusting my own knowledge and experience.  I liked that feeling of uncertainty.

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There is a single word often used by hill walkers and climbers when they want to describe a walk or climb that has failed in some way, or not gone entirely to plan; they call it the ‘Epic’.  Jess’s walk was very much planned, she had established a route and we followed it.  She knew that it was no more than 12 miles long.  A group of A+ Ramblers would have route marched it off, with time to spare in the pub.  Our walking thankfully made time for many different paces and became our ‘Epic’.

I questioned my use of compass and map as an appropriate ‘artistic material or tool’ and then recalled that in the earlier stage of my walking (art) practice, the terrain was mountainous and the weather and gradient challenging.  Almost always above 600 meters, the classic UK point at which a hill becomes a mountain.

On returning from Foot Work, I received in the post;  a-ga: on mountains by Alec Finlay.  On the title page Alec had added:-

for alison

a – ga: on(and off) mountains

co-contouring

x eck

Later on in the book there are lines on mountains and contouring

hills are for daydreamers

mountains demand vigilance

So what about that area between the mountain and the hill (we mentioned at some point, because we were in Wales hills that are called mountains).  Ticks and how to remove them, and mine and others solitary pursuits that I took a welcome part in.

Later, in conversation between the opening of the gateways and later via Facebook messaging with Phil.

I can just about remember the part of the walk and the surrounding landscape as we discussed this question.  Alison

yes, same here…. we were walking down towards the trees where there was the stream and the wooden bridge with planks missing and the giant uprooted tree roots.

I think….

Yes I think – although I also seem to remember an opening of a gate …

yes, the gate was at the top of the field going down to the trees

but that might have been when talking about auto ethnography?

no, i think auto-ethnography was when we were on a road…

figures?

…. oo maybe  you’re right though i remember mentioning Hammersley and Yin and I now associate those names with a kind of grassy track beyond a gate ….

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I am remembering a turning feeling on talking about these books.  Maybe a sinking in and realisation for me how auto ethnography and autobiography could be described or structured in to my methodology.

that sounds good – and of course, the terrain we moved across will have affected that, and now the memory of it will be configuring what that landscape was which is also something I hadn’t made conscious in the walking of a terrain and the recalling finding my way back to my daughter’s flat.  As you put it, memory configured with that Welsh Landscape.

o yes the Shard, and without the Shard… landmarks of memory and memory-forming marks of/on the land.

AND THEN THE GATE CLOSED.

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