KATIE ETHERIDGE: SEEING/NOT SEEING
Seeing and Not Seeing I: Sea Mist
‘You should be able to see St. Ives’. Profuse apologies from host and local artists for the fact that today THE VIEW IS CANCELLED. The visitors do not seem to mind. Everyone becoming quietened by, and wrapped up in their own mist/missed view.
White lines of foam appear on a vertical plane.
I am not seeing the sea.
Clare Qualmann (at least I think it’s Clare) makes a run for it. From above on the dunes I, and others stop to watch her bold tiny figure disappear across the vast expanse of beach into white oblivion.
The next hour is mine.
Seeing and Not Seeing II: Walking with headphones on
Exploring Hayle with Lucy Frears beautifully crafted App, Hayle Churks, I start to question how much of the texture of a place is received through it’s sounds. How much of my seeing is in my hearing?
After walking for a while accompanied by multiple layers of time, people, and place manifesting via images and voices that appear and disappear en route, I remove the headphones, and enjoy the live soundtrack of the place as it rushes back into my eyes. I can see clearly now.
I arrive at the Big Beach House to find Cathy Turner crawling on hands and knees into the kitchen. Peeking round the doorframe I’m greeted by a slow procession of crawler-walkers. ‘Morning!’ It’s Day 2 and Phil Smith has literally bought everyone to their knees. ‘Consider an idea with knee joints’. Feeling conspicuously tall and bipedal I sink to the floor and join the others on their ‘all fours’ exit from the house. Half an hour later, prompted by a snail in the dunes, I replicate the crawl, trying to match the pace of the snail.
Did I see Simon and Blake crawling though the dune grass? The mist brings with it’s white cold, elemental and animal animations and explorations of place.
1/ Draw in the sand
2/ Propel yourself up sand dunes
3/ Pick stones out of your shoe
4/ Become a dog magnet
5/ Take it for a bus ride
6/ Point out interesting things
7/ Use it as a sundial
8/ Detect resonant underground sound chambers
It’s a sign
Cherished beyond words
Path avoids sensitive areas
Aladdins Cave closed on Wednesdays and Saturdays
Seeing and Not Seeing III: On the coach
‘Is there anybody here, thats not here?’
In Camborne, Phil Smith sets us the challenge of asking a stranger what their manifesto for walking would be. The men in the square who quietly populate the sunny benches, look like they are more likely to be working on a manifesto for sitting. I move on. Just when I think I’m out of time, I strike gold in an unlikely Eden. Next to a busy road junction, 100’s of flowering plants are stacked on the pavement outside a Victorian shop front. With little in the way of signage or shop fittings, it looks like the kind of place that could appear or disappear over night, or as the mist rolls in. Seeing that I am stopped in my tracks by a potted plant I had seen in the dunes only this morning (a kind of Sea Thrift), the shopkeeper comes out to talk to me. Over the next ten minutes, he gives me a detailed guided tour of the plants that carpet the entire floor of the shop. He reports that a customer told him she was glad he was selling the Sea Thrift, as it meant that she wouldn’t have to dig them up from the dunes in the middle of the night any more.
I tell him why I’m in Camborne, and ask him where he would really like to walk. He looks away, eyes rising above the jungle of plants temporarily in his care, and without hesitation says ‘Hong Kong. I’d love to walk through Hong Kong’