Katie Jo Anderson

Artist based in South West Scotland; interested in people, places, materials and collaborative practice.

Month: March, 2014

Residency. Part 3: Immerse

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DSC_1372.72dpiWeek 2 has been an immersive workshop week. Heads down, walking boots put away. Cabin fever had begun to set in by about Thursday and so we wiled away one tea time planning our next walk. Emily and I have both been reading Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain and both being from a reasonable distance away felt the need to make a day trip to the edge of the Cairngorms before our time here was up. The drive there was more arduous than expected, as we chose to go through Tomintoul (I counted at least 6 red phone boxes on the way there) and Aviemore felt like an outlet village for a European ski village, quaint but touristy, unsettling after our relatively rural stint in Lumsden. Not feeling ridiculously adventurous or in the mood for snow gear we settled upon Meall a’ Bhuachaille just up past the Glenmore Forest Park with great views across the bigger mountains.

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We passed just enough other walkers to not feel too disconcerted by the continuously changing weather or that we had to share our walking with much of a crowd, though our walking gear did not quite stand up against the full kit of most of the walkers we met, equipped with everything from poles and gaiters to pick axes and snow masks. Mediating on walking and looking, looking and walking, reaching the summit first gave us time to alter our goal for a more ramble-y route back.

Thinking about siting artworks, and looking, and the aims of walking out into the ‘landscape’, there is something of  a siting/installation/mounting tangle going on at the moment. A work that creates a pause in walking, a moment for ‘looking’ closer/deeper/wider. Potentially it could become a portable pause, an apparatus to be carried over and across the environment to create a new space for looking/listening/seeing. The word looking has become something else through repetition, though it is morphing into a slightly different concept. Seeing is too much about understanding, looking is too shallow, it has become the search for a deeper looking, a looking with more than one sense, an immersive looking, a feeling-looking.

The search continues. The last week is already upon us and the end is in tangible sight but there is a lot yet to be done. Back to the workshops. More updates to follow.

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Residency. Part 2: Absorb

Week 1: Day 6: Part 2: Absorb.

 

An exposed hilltop. 360° vision. Vast expanses – above and below. A sense of perspective. That human need to mark each passing moment.

 

Call the signal, sound the horn. Shout loud and ring clear.

 

We communicated out into the ether, broadcast each soul existence; sounding out across the vast unknown.

 

But then.

 

As breath falters, a pause. And within the pause a vast infinity of it’s own.

 

Listen out: to the wind, to the distant traffic, to the rain, to the grass, to the insect softly passing, to the next hilltop.

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The settling stage is nearing a close, and now is the moment for diving in – submerging and then, hopefully, acclimatising. The wind has been wild, and the desire to climb hills to feel the full extent of the breath is only tempered by the weather warnings. The workshops beckon. 

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The wind has been wild. The wind in the woods was wilder still.

Residency. Part 1: Awakening

Lumsden. Scottish Sculpture Workshop.

Week 1. Day 2.

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Tap O’ Noth complete with vitrified Hill Fort

 

Week 1 is for Absorbing. Awakening. Gathering. Accumulating. Planning.

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Trig Point S7136

Trig points have come up again. They are my main excuse to climb hills in good weather. 

Thoughts on broadcasting and sending signals outwards into the ether have all been on the cards. In lot’s of ways (other than appearance and the best weather I’ve seen in months) Aberdeenshire feels similar to D&G. I may have also found the quietest place ever, hidden away in the concave (?) shape of the Hill Fort’s remains. Nothing, not a breeze or distant traffic – only the odd insect.

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Breaking Inertia

Inertia.

The time between times when everything becomes still. 

We decided to take a trip to somewhere new and unfamiliar to jump start my failing motivation, and in the end went for Argyll, alongside Loch Long to the bothy there, Mark’s Cottage. It was wet, cold and beautiful. We got lost. A lot.

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Trailing through hours of forestry commission paths, we came across these remains sinking into the ground more or less exactly as they must’ve landed leaving the trail on a sharp and steep bend some time ago. My artist’s foraging head woke up, although unfortunately my backpack didn’t allow for substantial gathering.

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This was as much of the wreak as I could carry. Another time perhaps. It sit’s strangely well with my current slight car obsession (more to follow on that later). We also noticed the geology a lot. Walking for long periods makes you notice the unusually usual things.

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This particular rock (slate-like?) glittered in the wet. And it was wet more than it was not wet. There was a lot of quartz kicking about too. I don’t normally collect rocks, but this trip did seem to prompt it. This year will involve more trips, more collecting.Image