Le parc des Buttes Chaumont, le platre actif

6 May

Photo Buttes 1

Photo @Miranda Creswell

Si on monte sur une des collines du parc des Buttes Chaumont, et que nous faisons face au nord-est de Paris, il est difficile d’imaginer que la terre sous nos pieds, a été jadis une carrière produisant du gypse et puis du plâtre. Du plâtre qui a été si connu et si largement distribué, que même maintenant ‘le plâtre de Paris ‘ est le nom d’un matériau international.

Ces morceaux de gypse originaires des Buttes Chaumont, sont devenus des matériaux de finition sur les faces des bâtiments, sont devenus des castes orthopédiques pour de nombreux membres et os endoloris, se sont retrouvés sur les plafonds dans la forme de rosettes et de moulures, dans les fresques d’églises sur lesquelles les artistes ont placés des couleurss vives en pigment.

Le travail d’un plâtrier était, des fois, d’utiliser ces matériaux pour simuler du bois, du métal, des coquilles.

C’est bizarre que la simulation et le revêtement continue à être des thèmes dans ce parc, avec sa verdure abondante, et ses balustrades en faux bois cimenté, sans aucun lien percevable du paysage de lune, au-dessus de laquelle il se trouve.

 

carrieres_a_l_emplacement_des_buttes_chaumont_v_1852-53

 

Une simulation d’un Temple Romain à Tivoli en Italie, dévoué à la déesse Minerva, a été bâti dans le parc, au début de la construction en 1867, elle continue à dominer l’horizon  du quartier. 

 

Rotonde_Parc_des_Buttes-Chaumont_Alphand_1867IMG_7971

 

La Croix Rouge a utilisé le Temple comme symbole dans un timbre après la première guerre mondiale avec les mots : …’ de secours aux blessées militaires ‘, les médecins ont peut être utilisé du plâtre et des bandages dans leurs soins prudent des blessées.

 

buttes chaumont stamp correct scale small 1

Est-ce parce que le Temple est un symbole séculaire (du moins d’aucune religion pratiquée) une raison pour l’utilisation de ce symbole encore maintenant ?

Le revêtement, la réinvention du paysage du parc et ces symboles, n’ont pas été toujours  simplement une notion de couverture et de l’amélioration.

La carrière a été une fois un dépotoir pour les cadavres de chevaux et d’autres animaux, qui est peut être la raison pour que l’État français a acheté les Buttes Chaumont en 1862 pour 3,4 million de francs, un quart du cout pour les Bois de Boulogne, mais 34 moins de taille (1). L’historienne Françoise Hamon écrit :

‘Il s’agit d’assainir et d’embellir une zone indigne de la capitale ‘ (2)

Pendant la semaine sanglante de 1871, 600personnes sont massacrées dans le parc, 300 ont été mis dans le lac (3). Le pont qui franchi ce lac est maintenant utilisé par les nouveaux époux pour leurs premières photos,  venant juste de la Mairie du 19eme arrondissement à coté du parc.

 

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blue print Buttes Chaumont

Archives de Paris

watercolour buttes chaumont

Archives de Paris

Devant l’endroit ou j’ai travaillé pendant de nombreux jours, en développant des dessins (4), se trouve un socle vide. Ici, il semble que le thème de couverture du parc s’arrête. Il y avait une fois un sculpteur qui s’appelait Louis Auguste Hiolin (1846-1910) (5), il a construit une large sculpture : ‘Au Loup’ d’un jeune berger qui s’élance en essayant d’attraper le loup qui a tué ces brebis. Cette statue a été saisie pendant l’occupation de Paris au cours de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, il ne reste qu’un socle vide maintenant.  Auprès du socle se trouve un tableau d’information avec une liste de noms et les âges de nombreux enfants juifs, qui ont disparu en même temps: pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale,  de ce quartier si doux.

 

Au loup 1

Figaro crop 1 pale blue

Figaro : 23 Decembre 1941 (6)

 

La statue n’a jamais été remplacée, mais à cause de sa taille et de l’accessibilité, le socle est occuper de temps en temps pendant la journée par les gens et les oiseaux.

 

Socle vide Buttes Chaumont

photo @Miranda Creswell

Crow Buttes Chaumont

photo @Miranda Creswell

Un jour, alors que je dessinais, une dame est venue me parler et m’a montré des arbres. Pour elle ces arbres sont comme ses ancêtres, mais contrairement a eux : les arbres poussent et sont plus grands et forts chaque années.

Ce parc, qui est tenu par des jardiniers incroyables et bien informés est fortement apprécié des parisiens pour de multiples raisons diverses.

Le ‘tai- chi’ silencieux, le jogging, toujours des conversations, le paysage n’est jamais statique.

(1) Antoine Picon , ‘ Nature et ingenierie : le parc des Buttes- Chaumont ‘ Romantisme  4/2010 ( no 150), p 35-49

(2) Francoise Hanon ‘Les Buttes Chaumont ‘ , Les parcs et jardins dans l’urbanisme parisien XIX – XX siecle , Delegation a l’Action Artistique de la Ville de Paris , 2001 p 99-100

(3) www.parisrevolutionnaire#3C2AD5

(4) Exposition :La Materialite de L”invisible , Le  Cent Quatre Paris 19eme

http://www.104.fr/programmation/

(5)www.saginawartmuseum.org#3C2CEB

(6)gallica.bnf.fr/ark-/1214#3C2DB8

The park that Paris built , les Buttes Chaumont

6 May

Photo Buttes 1

Photo @ Miranda Creswell

If you were to climb a hill in the Park des Buttes Chaumont and look across northeast Paris, it is hard to imagine that the ground you are standing on ,was once a quarry, producing plaster. Plaster, so widely distributed and used, that even now Plaster of Paris is an internationally recognized material.

 The Buttes Chaumont quarries became the finishing materials of buildings, became orthopedic castes, mending sore limbs and bones, was to be found in ceilings in the form of moldings, in church frescoes over which artist painted vivid colors in pigment. The job of a plasterer could sometimes be to use this quarried material to simulate wood, metal and shells.

Strange that the act of covering and simulating became a recurring theme in the Buttes Chaumont: a park with abundant vegetation, and faux wood cement balustrades and yet with no perceivable links to the lunar landscape over which it lies.

carrieres_a_l_emplacement_des_buttes_chaumont_v_1852-53

A simulation of a Roman Temple in Tivoli, dedicated to the goddess Minerva was built when the park first opened in 1867 and dominates the skyline.

Rotonde_Parc_des_Buttes-Chaumont_Alphand_1867

IMG_7971

Photo @Miranda Creswell

The Red Cross used this symbol in a stamp after the first World war, alongside the words: ‘rescuing the war wounded’, the medics presumably using plaster and bandages as part of their care.

buttes chaumont stamp correct scale small 1

Was this Temple built for no practicing religion, the reason for its continued use in symbolizing this part of Paris?

blue print Buttes Chaumont

Archives de Paris 

Ingenieur ordinaire

Archives de Paris

The plastering over, the reinvention of the landscape and symbolic materials has not always been to simply improve and mend. The quarry was once a dumping ground (pre 1867) for horse and other carcasses, which may have been the reason why the French state bought the land in 1862 for 3 / 4 million francs, a quarter of the cost of the Bois de Boulogne and yet 34 times less in size (1) as historian Francois Hanon writes:

‘Il sagit d’assainir et d’embellir une zone indigne de la capital ‘ ( 2)

‘ It was to sanities and make beautiful an unworthy area of the capital city’

 In the ‘semaine sanglante ‘ of 1871, 600 people ( federes ) were massacred in the park, 300 of which were thrown in the lac ( 3) a bridge spans this lake now and most Saturdays it is a place for newly weds of all backgrounds and nationalities to smile and be photographed, being a step away from the registrar in the Mairie of the 19eme arrondissement.

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watercolour buttes chaumont

Archive de Paris ( map showing sink holes )

In front of the place where I stood for days, while developing a drawing (4), stands an empty plinth, here it seems the making better, the park’s thematic covering over stops. There was once a sculptor called Louis Auguste Hiolin (5) who made a large sculpture ‘Au Loup’ of a young shepherd chasing a wolf saving his flock of lambs. The sculpture was seized and melted down in the German occupation of Paris in the Second World War and nearby a notice exists with a list of names and ages, a sad reminder of the Jewish children disappearing at a similar time from this gentle neighborhood.

Au loup 1

Figaro crop 1 pale blue

Figaro 23 December 1941 (6)

The statue was never replaced, but being of a certain height and accessibility, it is in constant use by people sitting and talking and by many birds, especially in the early mornings.

Socle vide Buttes Chaumont

Photo @Miranda Creswell

As I drew one day, a lady came to talk to me and pointed to the mature trees in the view, she said that they felt to her almost like ancestors, but unlike her forebears they grew taller larger each year. Indeed this park, made beautiful by many talented and knowledgeable gardeners, is filled with people who feel strongly for what it brings them; silent ‘tai chi’, running, always conversations, this is indeed a landscape that is never still.

Crow Buttes Chaumont 

(1) Antoine Picon , ‘ Nature et ingenierie : le parc des Buttes- Chaumont ‘ Romantisme  4/2010 ( no 150), p 35-49

(2) Francoise Hanon ‘Les Buttes Chaumont ‘ , Les parcs et jardins dans l’urbanisme parisien XIX – XX siecle , Delegation a l’Action Artistique de la Ville de Paris , 2001 p 99-100

(3) www.parisrevolutionnaire#3C2AD5

(4)La Materialite de L’Invisible , exhibition at the Cent Quatre 19eme Paris 

(5)www.saginawartmuseum.org#3C2CEB(6)gallica.bnf.fr/ark-/1214#3C2DB8

La Materialite de l’invisible

13 Apr

Temple romain Paris Buttes Chaumont deatail8 blog

A roman temple, reinvented space ( detail)

Blog 1 of 4

 

For the last year, due to an extraordinary art and archaeology residency at the Cent Quatre Centre in Paris, supported by NEARCH (New Scenarios for a Community Involved Archaeology) and University of Oxford, I have been working on two linked pieces:

Un temple romain, reinvented space: two drawings (2.7m x1.5m)

showing two roman temple sites: one in Paris at le Parc des Buttes Chaumont (built in 1867), the other in an industrial estate in Harlow, Essex (built in AD 100).

Putting in a box, installation: eight archive boxes filled with small objects, maps  and colored drawings, relating to the Roman temple sites.

 These two pieces form part of an ongoing collective exhibition at Cent Quatre: La Materialite de l’Invisible and have involved two communities and extended audiences in France and in the UK. 

 

Buttes Chaumont dessin1 Blog

Roman temple site, Parc des Buttes Chaumont 

2015 to 2016 pencil on paper ( 2.7m x 1.5m)

Harlow dessin 4 blog

Roman temple site, Harlow Essex 

2015 to 2016 pencil on paper ( 2.6m x 1.5 m)

 

Putting in a box 13 blog

Archive box 1

Harlow map @Christopher Green 2016

Buttes Chaumont @Paris archive photo 2015

Enclosed space , watercolour on paper 2015 Miranda Creswell

Putting in a box 15 blog

Archive box 2

drawing sky rise Miranda Creswell 2016

Flint drawing : Hazel Martingale ,Harlow archive 1980

Observer field book on grass c 1940  

Buttes Chaumont detail 3 blog

detail , Roman temple site , Parc des Buttes Chaumont 

Harlow detail7 blog

detail, Roman temple site , Harlow , Essex

By placing drawings and an installation together to describe two spaces, information about two sites is being presented as a whole exhibit, but there is also a challenge to the impossibility of a single way of describing a landscape.

Landscape by definition cannot be understood in one glance, part of it being in ones peripheral vision or can be understood as a single narrative or in a single time zone; its complexity is huge, immeasurable, so how do we as humans make sense of a place we research or observe?  Our memory of a place on recall is largely fragmented; we edit, and can change emphasis each time. The complexity is further enhanced if we add the recollection and narrative of many people and sources of one space into the mix.

Initially through the process of drawing, I was interested in embracing this complexity and these memory ‘gaps’, this never ending reinvention of a landscape by humans. Land which in some peculiar way, feels solid and fragmented at the same time.

As a nod to these tensions for the exhibition:  I used large scale drawings and small objects, large white paper, small lines, drawings of sky rise buildings next to delicate blades of grass.

In some ways, by doing this, the work is refuting the narrative of single textual authority and aiming at the most honest way that I know, to arrive at  the core, the essence of these two landscapes, by using many recollections and many sources and visual observations.

 

Matérialité de l’Invisible

Cent Quatre

Paris 19eme http://www.104.fr/programmation/evenement.html?evenement=519

Until May 8th (see web site for details)

direction artistique : José-Manuel Gonçalvès

Collective Exhibition with: Agapanthe (Konné & Mulliez), Hicham Berrada, Ali Cherri, Miranda Creswell, Johann Le Guillerm, Nathalie Joffre, Anish Kapoor, Julie Ramage, Ronny Trocker. Performance d’Adrian Schindler et conférence d’Eric Arnal-Burtschy.

Rivers

18 Jan

two lives floating

Miranda Creswell , Two lives floating 

pastel, pencil on paper 2008

 

Rivers can be monsters, as many people who have been affected by flooding will testify. Certainly once the flooding has receded; it is hard to imagine what power, what strength, has caused so much destruction.

Since working alongside archaeologists of the research group EnglaID, I have had many interesting conversations with Tyler Franconi (researcher and Roman specialist) about how humans have tried to harness this power, and how it seems to have shaped them in turn.

My written thoughts for this blog on rivers, cannot be said to come directly from such a researched perspective or from a geomorphological or archeological point of view, unlike Tyler and the rest of the EnglaID team; but rather from the view point of someone who by observation, uses drawing as a way of thinking about rivers. 

 

 ‘We can never neatly separate what we see from what we know’

E.H Ghombrich , The Story of Art 1950

When looking at a river, maybe one should say that one could never neatly separate what we see, from what we can only guess at? from we do not know?

The body of water which is rushing past you, has come from somewhere else, and been seen and ‘shaped’ by other humans and landscapes, so (unless we have direct information) we can only imagine, where this water has arrived from.

This is a different observation from looking at an oak tree for instance, which is very much rooted to the spot; it does not, unlike water, slip past you.

There is also the question as you look at moving water, of where the water that you have just seen goes afterwards? How long will it be until it eventually flows into the sea?

What we do know, if we stop to think about this, is that the river cannot be ‘neatly separated’ from its banks. It is held by the landscape, the earth around it.

Its depth can never be revealed unless there is a severe drought.

IMG_1487

Drawing rivers many times, I have come to imagine a game in which the river becomes a multi faceted tool, (like a pen knife with many parts) with which to think about the surrounding land, for instance:

-The river as a spirit level showing the marked difference between the comparative flatness the water (although not rushing water) and the land it cuts through, a way of measuring ruggedness in the landscape.

-The river as a measuring rod, which can be used by comparing previous observations: using a particular stone or root on the bank indicating high or low water. An interesting refined example of this, as pointed out by Tyler Franconi are Nilometers, this is a picture of the measuring shaft of the Nilometer on Rhoda Island, Cairo, dated circa AD 861.

Cairo_Nilometer_2

– The river as a mirror to the sky, which can, in the turn of a head, be linked to the river becoming a lens with which one can look into the depths of the river: two mostly unattainable worlds for humans, seen in the clink of an eye.

– As a store, somewhere to throw things into, why is this so appealing? 

-As a measure of movement: one can watch something float in the river and contrast this with a different rate of movement seen in the surrounding landscape, such as clouds or in swaying grass.    

 

IMG_1174

A sherd of Neolithic Mortlake ware found on the foreshore at Bermondsey , London. 

Photo and description by Courtney Nimura .

Bermondsey flints 29012013

Bermondsey flints: A collection of flint debitage found on the foreshore at Bermondsey , London. Photo and description by Courteney Nimura.

 

Another question that I have found interesting is where is the most powerful part of an image of a river?  Where is the tension in the image? While walking along the water meadows near Eynsham lock, I noticed that the long riverside grasses where pointing vertically into the river, which was running horizontally.

At that moment, it seemed clear to me, that the most powerful part of this scene, was the meeting place of the horizontality of the bank and vegetation and the vertically rushing water.

 

In his book Water and Art, David Clarke writes about how the minimalist artist Mondrian early influences, might have been made while observing and painting riverine landscape. Mondrian’s use of the vertical and horizontal, in his most recognizable series, may have been directly linked to early observations of river landscape.

piet_mondrian_geinrust_farm_truncated_trees

Piet Mondrian, Geinrust Farm with Truncated Tall trees and saplings 1905-7

Private collection

Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937-42 Piet Mondrian 1872-1944 Purchased 1964 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00648

Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937-42 Piet Mondrian 1872-1944 Purchased 1964 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00648

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Bleech works on the Gein 1902 , Watercolour,

present whereabouts unknown

 

These observed thoughts do not, in keeping with the slipperiness rivers, bring any firm conclusions, but rather an ongoing interest in the many different ways that humans co exist alongside rivers, and with the puzzle that is moving water, and how to respond to it.

One of the more practical methods that I have been using as an artist is to draw each day. Partly in order to immerse myself in landscape, this has always been the subject matter, whether observed or imagined. Some days the landscape drawings are made very fast, other times longer.

The daily rhythm has, however, enabled me to observe river landscape over several seasons and to begin to gain accumulated knowledge of stretches of river, mostly in the Oxfordshire region.

Partly due to this methodology, river ideas have been incorporated into two ongoing EnglaID collaborative projects. One of these is to look at the river Mersey and think about human identity from each side of its banks. The project is called ‘Across the Water’ and is in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, Williamson Art Gallery and Museum and Oxton St Saviour’s School in Birkenhead and St Christopher’s School, Speke, in Liverpool. An exhibition at Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in the summer of 2016 will mark the end of this exciting project, involving over 100 students, archaeologists, teachers, an author and some of the EnglaID team.

Mersey

The second project ‘Looking Out’ is in collaboration with the charity Horatio’s Garden at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment at Salisbury Hospital.

http://www.horatiosgarden.org.uk/looking_out_project/project-1/

The project is, in part, looking at the archeology of the river Avon and the surrounding landscape, but also from the perspective of different disciplines and the hospital community. The end product will be an interactive web site and 5 composite pictures to be place in single rooms in the spinal unit at Salisbury Hospital.

More details these projects will follow on this blog, as they evolve!

Reinvented Land

27 Jul

Port Meadow spring 2015

‘Lie awake at night even in our composed Britain and think how the land about you is changing every hour, as surely as your own body and as irresistibly.’ ( Jacquetta Hawkes, A Land )

As an artist observing landscape, while at the same time working with archaeologists, I have been made aware of past  changes made by humans  in a landscape . As I observe and draw the ground before me, there is a sense of  human trace, of layers of human marks . Could you say , therefore, that there is a tension between what landscape has been at different stages and what it is now? this tension is maybe felt by all of us in different ways , but is it emphasized , the more information that is known about this perceived land ?Are we observing this landscape with a single viewpoint ,or are we observing the land from  several view points , by engaging with this knowledge ?

As an example , while drawing , I am aware that the hedgerow and path that I see now , has been carefully planned and planted, it has not always been there; there was a different perceived space, in a previous time, but in the same geographic location.

plot 3

Cripley Meadow Allotments , Oxford , no 3

plot 2

Cripley Meadow Allotments, Oxford , no 2

plot 1

Cripley Meadow Allotments , Oxford, no 1

This feeling is understood however , at the same time as seeing the land as it is now, so it is almost like you are seeing ( thinking) on two ( maybe several ) levels in the same moment of observation.

The closest I can parallel this way of thinking visually , is to play that almost child like activity , of inventing pictures from clouds, from scratches on a wall, or on wood grain. You suddenly see a face , a tree, something recognizable but in a different material. You then switch from seeing the tree, the face, back to seeing the grain of wood or cloud again, this feeling goes back and forth.

Looking at landscape ( as opposed to clouds and grain of wood) does not result in the same output but the similarities lie in the process of constant vacillation from one state to another. The act of drawing landscape is an exciting puzzle , it seems.

Harlow 1

Harlow, Roman Temple site.

Recent discussion on identity  with the EnglaID team , has lead me to try and think how this approach can be applied visually to identity and landscape. My recent thoughts on these links is to look at memory and , in particular , the act of revisiting a known space or land , after many years.

How many of us are struck by two notions when we do this : the small changes that have occurred in our absence , for instance : a new shop, a road, the absence of a line of trees ; and the details within that space that have somehow remained ? The latter can resurface from surprising sources . Details that have been mentally buried but now vividly recognized : a concrete post that leans a little, a mark on a pavement, the same daisy patch.

Grafted onto these two realizations, that of constancy and that of change, is a measure of ones own identity , which has evolved with time but is still ones personal identity , just as the landscape that you have revisited is the same space , but with other layers of reinvention.

Indeed, is human identity quite often measured alongside changes in a land ? when these changes are slow and moderate , the human identity seems in sink with the land  , but when in contrast , the land is so reinvented that the previous state is not recognized , is this when humans feel that some part of their identity has been attacked , or reinvented for the better, depending on the previous state ?

‘If you can imagine the one family continuously occupying the same land for 40,000 years or more, using it not just to sustain life , but as a place to worship, where every tree , rock, and water hole has significance, you will get some understanding of the importance of land to indigenous people.’ ( Tania Major, Kokoberra people 2010 )

‘ The history of the earth’s crust , then, has a rhythm. Denudation weakens it , the mountains are rucked up and the molten layer below forces itself towards the surface, then the storm dies away and denudation begins again. If the movement could be speeded up , as in a cinematograph, we could see a rise and fall as though of breathing.’ (Jacquetta Hawkes, A Land )

Reculver, Isle of Thanet

8 Apr

Reculver towers

 

 

Reculver, the Isle of Thanet, Kent

If you were to further describe the rich and diverse history of the Isle of Thanet, you could maybe say that it has a creative and resilient culture. The identity of a place and its people, as the EnglaID researchers all agree, is difficult and slippery to define; yet as I visited the Isle of Thanet, the words creative, diverse, resilient, kept emerging in my mind.

An immediate and obvious example of this, can be seen when you visit Turner Contemporary in Margate, and look at art works by windows looking out to sea. If you were to dig directly down from where you stood, you might arrive at the exact spot where Turner spent time gazing and painting, from the boarding house on the harbor, which he came to live in.

Six miles away to the west, in the coastal village of Reculver are two towers from a medieval church that can also be seen from Turner Contemporary and perch on a cliff protected by sea defenses.

Green Creswell 1

Christopher Green annotated map, Miranda Creswell photograph and drawing

Reculver by the window

If you were to make a simple list of the uses of several historically interesting sites, without any analysis, it could make you question why some sites seem so ‘active’, while others stay ‘still’, in that they remain (to some degree) what they were originally created to be.

Reculver, it seems, would be the former:

1.    A Roman fort AD43.

2.    A Roman settlement, 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

3.     A larger Roman Fort, built against Saxon raids, 3rd Century AD

4.    An Anglo- Saxon monastery 669 AD.

5.    A parish church, 10th century.

6.    New modeling of the church with twin towers 12th century.

7.    An Air Defense look out and reporting station, 1934.

8.    A testing sight for the bouncing bombs 1943, (watched by Barnes Wallis in the nearby Mill house where he lived).

9.    An English Heritage site.

10.       Part of a country Park with visitors center, Kent Wildlife Trust.

11.       Possible future plans: to be incorporated in a coastal Kent walk.

This is a rough list and does not touch on other uses such as a sea marker for sailors (named the Twin Sisters) or as a defense for the Wantsum Channel, which has only been silted up since the Middle Ages, invaded by the Vikings in 839AD; or uses in the pre Roman Era.

Reculver Letty Ten Harkel

Letty Ten Harkel and Reculver Towers

 

Having made this list, I spent five days observing Reculver, in January, on the coastal path. Despite the wild weather, producing what a writer friend of mine described as ‘running’ seas and skies, I recognized and tried to respond to the intense beauty of this landscape, and the depth of its culture.

IMG_7594

Drawing by Miranda Creswell , Reculver coastal path and Letty Ten Harkel in the background.

Talking to people who walked passed me on the coastal path; I felt that Kent has, a wide and plentiful admiring audience. They recognize that part of the identity of this region is the energy and creativity, which makes its cultural sites spin in different directions, according to the times that they are in.

 

(1), (2), (3) National Library of Scotland , online map collection.

http://maps.nls.uk

www.english-heritage.org.uk

www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk

www.bbc.co.uk kent

www.turnercontemporary.org

OS One Inch 1885 1900 outline

(1) OS one inch 1885 1900

OS 1 25000 1937 61

(2) OS 1 25000 1937 61

reculver os 6 inch 1888 1913

(3) Reculver OS 6 inch 1888 1913

No Rest

9 Feb

 

 

‘The big difference between the ideas of Aristotle and those of Galileo and Newton is that Aristotle believed in a preferred state of rest, which any body would take up if it was not driven by some force or impulse. In particular he thought that the earth was at rest. But it follows from Newton’s laws that there was no unique standard of rest ‘.

Stephen Hawkins , A Brief History of Time p19

   Rodchenko 

Rodchenko : Oval Hanging Construction no12 1920 Wood

When an artist observes a landscape, they may notice that everything within that landscape is moving at a different rate, each cloud, tree, river.

They may reflect that even a standing stone is moving to some degree with the earths rotation,  the rocks underpinning the landscape are moving in their slow geologically way too.

Attachment-1-9

Van Gogh Starry Night with Cypresses 1889 ( drawing lost in World War 2)

 If the artist were to then observe a single plant, maybe to simplify things, they might observe that even within parts of that plant, there is movement at different speeds.  A sprig with buds, a fully matured plant, a seed head, may all move differently, maybe due to their different height or volume, and the different strengths of breeze or wind around them. A flower head may  move towards the sun within a day, gently closing as the light fades.

Echanacia 1

Miranda Creswell Echinaeca 2014, plant biography Horatio’s Garden

Within all this, the artist cannot help but move themselves as they are observing. They breathe, the head knods very slightly, their neck twists. Despite, and maybe because of these complexities, the artist resolves to make some work, which results in a kind of a code to what has been experienced, and thought about.

 As an artist working alongside the team of researchers for EnglaID, I am interested as to whether the idea of ‘no rest’ could also be applied when observing archeologists working and the materials that they work with.

Norest englaid meeting

EnglaID Meeting 2014

  When the researcher looks at vast amounts of gathered information , (to take one part of the very varied work that can be described as archeological ): there seems to be no fixed platform from which to do so. They could say: At this moment in 2012, I can analyze this amount of data, but my analysis will be finished in 2016. Meanwhile the data will have been added to: so I will be making an analysis about sets of data from 2012 even though in 2016 these data bases might have changed, been added to.

The data is not jumping around physically but has evolved over time, it is not fixed and changes as it is observed in different times, could this be described as ‘movement’ of some kind?

Attachment-1-8

Gerhard Von Graevenitz; Series 4 (15) 1971

Just as even the individual plant will be moving its different parts at different rates, even within the different data bases, there are different individual ways of gathering information, which have been gathered at different times but put into a single data base by very individual people. (1) 

Morphing data sets

Miranda Creswell : Morphing Data 2013

rainstorm-over-the-sea-1828.jpg!HalfHD

John Constable Rain Storm over the sea 1824-8 Royal Academy of Arts

These observations could show some of the impossibilities of the task of making observations from a ‘solid’, ‘stable’ base .

 I do not think this is a negative, constant change or movement is exciting . We seem to  grapple with complexities in a positive way , with what is all around and also part of us.

(1) CooperA and Green, C. 2015. Embracing the Complexities of OE Big Data 1 in Archaeology : the Case of the English Landscape and Identities Project.  Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

wind sky norest

 Miranda Creswell ,Early Evening , Port Meadow 2015

Didcot

Miranda Creswell , Didcot drawing  2012