Archive | February, 2015

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 : 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.


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?


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


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


Miranda Creswell , Didcot drawing  2012