Inside TRAIL 2012
telling tales: the persistence of memory
The majority of artists create with intent to communicate their ideas to others. Yet, there is another way. For example, Richard Long is primarily interested in his relationship with nature and in the materials found in natural settings. Thus, the work’s existence can be fleeting, disappearing after a period of time into those self-same natural settings, leaving only memories.
At this, the final TRAIL, I will work with other writers and the general public to create a work that leaves only memories. Therefore the stories, poems, illustrations, photographs, fragments, artefacts, et cetera produced will be collected, stored and – without being read – buried in Teignmouth at the close of the festival.
I will encourage other writers to contribute completed works or work-in-progress, illustrations and other memories to the project (on the strict understanding that the texts, etc have not previously been circulated and the contributors are content for the work not to be seen by others…).
Based at the TAAG gallery, Teignmouth, I will engage with the general public, discussing the notion of collecting (but not sharing) and solicit their input.
16 April 2012
To compose the longest Renga sequence of collaborative poetry ever produced at a recycling arts festival in Teignbridge (probably).
Working with other writers and the general public to develop and write a sequence of Renga* poems.
*Martin Lucas – of the British Haiku Society – describes Renga as ‘a series of short verses linked into one long poem, composed collaboratively by a group. […] The overall effect of a renga is a scattered mosaic of images covering a broad spectrum of atmosphere and mood. Although narrative connection is one means of linking, there is no sustained narrative or logical thread’.
Linda France notes that: ‘Working [collaboratively] is an antidote to ambition and the troublesome politics of the literary world. The shared experience of writing, listening, choosing and witnessing makes external, conscious and democratic what is usually a solitary process, autocratic and often, initially at least, unconscious’.
Based at TAAG gallery, Teignmouth, I will engage with the general public, outline the practice of writing Renga and solicit their contributions.
Following the TRAIL** festival the text will be produced (including contributor names) and uploaded (subject to agreement) onto TRAIL, TAAG and Creativetorbay websites for the general public to view.
**According to Wikipedia, Trailing is a term used to describe the practice of writing poetry, where one person begins a poem and another person writes the second line, a third person the third, and so on. It is thought to have originated in the French Enlightenment when intellectuals used to trail for amusement at parties.
16 April 2012
To produce a series of podcasts that presents to Teignmothian and visitor alike an alternative perspective of the town.
An issue of Guardian Travel included the following descriptions: ‘At the end of the weekend my only disappointment was that I hadn’t managed to do as much reading as I’d hoped – what with the lengthy game of Scrabble, visiting Charleston and going on the Sunday hike, the trip had been so much fun. […] ‘First thing, I take the stunning cliff top walk over Beer Head as recommended, stopping for coffee when I drop back down into Beer, sitting in sharp sunlight outside the Anchor Inn, overlooking the pebbly beach. No wonder my friend keeps coming back – even in winter, Beer’s a bit of a gem’.
Here the travel writer seeks to pin down location and capture an essence of place for the would-be tourist. However, I would contend that place cannot be captured so readily. Therefore, by recycling found texts (for example, from astronomical, literary, entomological and geological journals*) as a series of podcasts, a richer and deeper multi-faceted aural historical map of Teignmouth will be produced. (The mp3 podcasts will be produced and uploaded [subject to agreement] onto TRAIL, TAAG, Teignmouth TIC and Soundcloud.com websites for the general public to download and facilitate their exploratory tours of the Other Teignmouths.)
* for example, ‘Periodic Comets’, ‘Ideas of Landscape in John Keats’ Teignmouth poems’, ‘Dynamics of Measles epidemics’, ‘Historic tsunami in Britain since AD 1000’, ‘The complete caves of Devon’ and ‘Physical processes associated with onshore sand bank migration adjacent an estuary mouth’.
16 April 2012
TRAIL 2012: Trailing Poetry
(A Renga Sequence for Teignmouth)
– with thanks to:
Stu McClure, Anne G, Gill G, Don P, Roger Smith, Jan Sapiano, Jo Slater, Tom Farrimond, Petra Turner, Jane J, Bob Hill – and Anon
Mist, soon gone
and jackdaws now sharply seen;
their preening heralds brightness
Bright shine, shoes and mirrors.
Reflections of mind in mist
Who can you see? Is it yourself?
Water – bursting from a cloud
Turning the brook a raging torrent
Sweeping away the wall
Drowning the hens
In Ideford Combe
Hens, floods, memories, childhood nightmares
A Bantam cockerel’s territorial charge
Chasing, squawking, pecking – no eggs today.
Too many cockerels, too much froth
Kind of my aunt to think of me
My fault for having a house called Cockhaven
Which is nothing to do with cockerels
Just means the dry side of the marsh
Elements… elements of Nature, of Mother Earth,
Of all & everything.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water & Spirit… But
Water, maybe a little less enthusiasm
During the summer hols?
Splash, splash… all change
Sizzle, steam all change
Umbrellas up, umbrellas down
Summer’s merry go round.
Front door forced open,
Flood waters swirl inside
Bearing life and death.
In retreat, they leave presents:
Drowned hens, a boot, smothered dreams.
The season is turning faster than the clock.
The sun’s setting & dusk’s arrival surprises.
Within days the house martins will leave.
Summer fades leaving memories
Hot summer days, bronzed bodies on the shore
A summer love that fades as well.
Winter will be long this year.
A child standing alone at the edge of the sea,
Feeling the elements around her,
Water on her legs, heat of the sun on her face,
A soft breeze through her hair, wet sand through her toes.
Content within herself and with her world.
Tantrums on the beach, tears on the Ferris Wheel
A circle of love created by the sisters.
Precious memories, laughter, life, love.
Away from home, expectations high
Relentless rain dampens the soul
Unexpected sun dries the tears
And fills the memory with castles and blue skies
Sun-dried tomato specks
Salted cod peace
Wondrous orb, where were you all summer?
Blue sky, blue sea,
A delight to be me!
The child is, the child remembers remembering
And it came that a sun rose later,
& there was the silence after the house martins’ departure;
and there was a rain – heavier, damper, more intense.