I am walking a new line, the line of the Dighty burn which runs to the north of Dundee. The burn starts its journey at Lundie loch in the hills to the north of the city and finds its way through agricultural, industrial and residential landscapes before it finally meets the sea at Monifieth, some 15 miles in length. I shall be walking, writing, drawing and painting my way along this line. I am being funded by Dighty Connect without whom this project would not happen.
Here is a start to my journey, a piece I wrote whilst walking in Lundie –
Slumbering limbs fidget in the breeze,
heavy with heat.
Violet vetch thread the curve of the track,
to the nape of the hill.
Drowsy, ruffled, whiskered corn,
lain this way and that,
by the dreams of horses.
He carries a cowboy gun and eats cherries.
‘What’s it like living here ?’
says the boy.
I am now half way through the performance schedule of the composition ‘The Hunting Ground’. This is a piece hewn from historical research, observation, documentation, drawing, painting, photography and conversation from the two lines I have been walking all year here in Dundee. Alongside the factual accounting, the fictional runs, weaving in and out, creating a new walk along a new line.
The performances have been varied in venue and attendance, each a new version of the text . All have been enjoyable and the responses interesting and considered. Many have likened the piece to a modern ‘Under Milk Wood’, and said that the pictures made are vivid, like ‘Painting with words’, said one person. It prompted another to say that he would leave the gallery and look at the street with an eye as to how he might tell a story.
Most have said that I should make an audio recording of the piece, and so shortly I will set to and do that. Will let you now when it is ready. The book ‘Where I Am Is Here’ which is also a component of the installation is now available to buy online. It contains the text to ‘The Hunting Ground’, plus other texts, paintings, drawings and photographs that make up the narrative portrait of my line walking. You can view it on Blurb.com.
Here is a picture taken just after my performance on Dundee Law. It was a lovely, small audience, and they endured gale force winds and cold bums whilst sitting on the steps to the Law monument, listening to me this morning. Thankyou.
Some pictures of the installation ‘Drawing the Line Somewhere’, as part of the Masters Show.
Photos by Lada Wilson.
In conversation with Murray from the university on The Law and with John at Andersons ironmongers,Blackness Road, chatting and sharing pictures.
All photographs by Cornelia Solfrank.
This is my artist statement for the Duncan of Jordanstone Masters show website –
How do we tell stories about the city and its people and how can transience act as a route through the stories we make?
Walking for myself and the resultant observation and reflection act as a starting point to conjure with ideas about where factual accounting and the fictional meet, where the boundaries between these two states can blur and co-exist. I have been walking a north south and an east west line in Dundee which I return to repeatedly. The imposition of abstract lines on the landscape gives rise to the notion of organised chance, in that every walk is a repeat in terms of pattern, and yet, different and new each time. The lines become articulations of narrative. There is a stratigraphy of layers in the research and material production which reveal the origins of the research and also the temporal and cross medial dimensions.
I use text, drawing, photography and performance in relation to investigation and presentation, the strands being woven together to illuminate on the one hand but displace and fracture on the other. This has come together as the installation ‘Drawing The Line Somewhere’ – a bench, a book and a performance.
Portraits for the website.
This is a character Minnie who appeared this year as part of my studies on the MFA Art, Society and Publics course. She has become my portrait for walking and writing. Thanks to Emil for the pics.
The composition ‘The Hunting Ground’ is one chapter of the installation ‘Drawing the line somewhere’, part of the Masters Art Society and Publics show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design – 15th August – 24th August. This piece is being performed in venues in Dundee during the ten days of the exhibition.
The Hunting Ground – dates and venues :
Monday 4th August – Fintry Writers Group – 11am
Tuesday 5th Aug – Douglas Community Centre – 12.30pm
Saturday 16th Aug – Verdant Works – 2pm
Sunday 17th Aug – Dundee Law 12.00pm
Sunday 17th Aug – Visual Research Centre, DCA,- 2pm
Monday 18th Aug – Broughty Ferry Library – 3pm
Tuesday 19th Aug – Central Library – 12.30pm
Saturday 23rd Aug – Discovery Ship – 11.30am
Hope to see you.