It was Planet Earth Day on Saturday and I spent the afternoon (and most of Sunday) testing an idea for a book. As I was working, getting utterly lost in ideas, paper and problem solving I realised that for first time in a long time I wanted to share the making process. I wanted to blog. So here it is… and what better way to introduce my new website than a new blog and a new piece of work.
A little over a year ago I started work on a project that has grown and spiralled, becoming something all encompassing and utterly thrilling. It is the first idea I’ve had outside of an institution and while I have no idea where it is going I love the journey. The project is called Mapping in an Ever Moving Now and has so far resulted in the beginnings of multiple photographs, sculptures and more. Mapping in an Ever Moving Now is a project about the land, and about my connection to it. I am exploring ways of creating an emotional, experience and memory based response to mapping landscape. The latest step in the project started either: A) taking photographs on Dartmoor with my mum or B) when visiting the maps exhibition at The British Library with Lauren. Somewhere between the two an idea was born and this weekend I finally had a chance to bring it together.
Walking on Dartmoor isn’t like walking anywhere else I’ve ever been. Its not that it’s vast (though it is) or stark (though it is) or ancient (though it is), rather that it is all of these things and something else besides. There is something about the unchanging, ever changing landscape of a place that has been inhabited and tamed while remaining uninhabited and untameable that I find endlessly intriguing. Among the photographs taken on that particular walk was a close up of the rock face at Haytor. This detail somehow encompasses so much of what I felt standing atop the tor, feet planted on the earth and eyes on the horizon. I knew immediately I wanted to use it in the book, a book tied to this spectacular location, one anchored to place and to the depth of my feelings.
At The British Library exhibition there was one particular map of the terrain in France from World War One. Someone had sculpted this particular map, cutting a new layer for each contour line. The care, the skill, the attention to detail and the direct reflection of the land caught my attention and stayed with me long after leaving the library.
I cannot explain how the two things became joined together in my imagination, but they did … and thus 50.5803° N, 3.7551° W was born.
Spending a weekend engrossed in making, messy hands and full mind made me happier than I have been in a long time, and the result is more than I dreamt of. Having an idea work, having it come together under my hands, finding solutions and ways of adapting until there, on my table is a new THING is truly, deeply satisfying. It is as though I am discovering my own ideas through the act of working, the act of making.
And now the THING exists, I know it works, and I cannot wait to make a final copy or 5.