As well as trying to get some ideas down about the content of my 'Digging Down' project (see my first blog), I have been starting to think a bit about where and how it might lead up to what Waleslab call a 'sharing event', which will happen at the end of my development week (around April time). These are very much just starting points, but I'm so excited about it all, that I can't help but get them down!
Again, any ideas, feedback and so on are welcomed!
As you can see on my website (eg under the Horde/Hoard section), I currently have use of a barn 50 metres from my home, that will at some time soon be turned into a holiday home. It is a beautiful building, with two rooms that has been pretty much unused for about 60 years. It has electricity (and potentially water). Huge thanks to the family that are letting me use it! This is the place where my ‘trysor’ is currently stored, and where I’d like to work during the Waleslab development week, culminating in a Last Supper.
The last supper
The cult of the relic – the creation and distribution of body fragments as holy objects - was embedded in a network of social, religious, and artistic practices that still flourish. The last supper is part of this tradition, the event where Christ’s blood and body was first transformed (physically or metaphorically depending on your viewpoint) into wine and bread of the Eucharist. It was both an end and a beginning. It was the fragment that was to last.
I'm thinking that holding a last supper in the barn, as my ‘sharing event’ at the end of the Waleslab R&D project might offer a useful focus for creative interaction. It offers the potential to combine the symbolism of the fragment within a context of human reactions and emotions, past, present and future relationships, revelation and discussion, food and domestic activity (and much of the stuff I’ve dug from the garden is domestic) within a working building that has, for a time, been used as a home (there’s a kitchen – and even a makeshift shower in one side of the barn).
I would like in some way to explore what fragments/found objects mean to others. Whether by taking round some of them to people who live in the village (or taking them to the pub) and recording their reactions, or offering for people to come to the barn with their own objects, or to view the ‘collection’. Perhaps recording some of this in some way could form part of the installation/sharing event described below. People have already started bringing me objects of their own. The picture above is of the first three – the first, the 'Rachel' container was from Gerallt, who found it in a wall that he was building. Gerallt, a dry stone waller, has some amazing stories to tell about things he's found in walls, including poetry written by prisoners of war. I may do a separate blog about that at some point. But back to the thread of the story: the second piece that I was given was by Eifion, who brought me the little porcelain arm that he found in his parent's garden in Nantperis. A few days later, my neighbours-but-one, Dei and Janice gave me the teaspoon from their garden.
I’d like to create an immersive environment in the barn as part of the Waleslab week. I think this could involve projection and lighting and sound. It could also involve things we’ve made during (or before) the week, in terms of installations of individual pieces of work, and of ways of showing or exploring the (individual and whole collection of) found fragments and objects. And perhaps the process of discovering them (could this somehow relate to digging?).
Using the senses
In Jean-Leo Gerome’s painting ‘Michelangelo Being Shown the Belvedere Torso’, touch alone allows the aged, frail, and blind Michelangelo, whose trembling hand is guided by his assistant, to apprehend the Belvedere Torso (a greatly exaggerated sized marble with exuberance of muscular form) as if it were a messenger from an ancient land, a material time traveller intruding into the present: It is saying that the fragment and the fragmentary state are enduring and normative conditions; it is the whole that is ephemeral, and the state of wholeness that is transitory.
How could we use touch, sound, smell, taste to explore the fragment and found object and its relevance to us? Would these be more powerful than - or in combination with - visual or discursive explorations?