Archives for the month of: October, 2012

This ‘natural wilderness’ and the arable fenland of Wardy Hill (from yesterday) are of course both highly managed. The difference with Wicken Fen is that it follows systems of land management dating from hundreds of years ago, and allows for a far more sympathetic dynamic between the land and our use of it. I was fairly ambivalent about the difference previously. I considered the banks of the Wash – land drainage on a magnificent scale. Having visited WF, I feel very happy that this place is right. I think the ‘ecological dimension’ is becoming more meaningful to me, and the particular historic subtleties and environmental consciousness it represents seem to move me in ways the awe of brutality of the Wash and the land technologies of farming don’t actually. It seems I’ve also discovered something of the human scale I mentioned in the previous post. Read the rest of this entry »

Just returned from Jerusalem Drove, Wardy Hill, Coveny, nr. Ely. Went to explore open fen. On the East/Ely side of the Wash. Thought about walking along one of the banks of the Wash also. Alternative contender is National Trust site Wicken Fen. Bit of a dilemma about where exactly to go. Don’t have the luxury of listening walk led wanderings of the ‘Metis’ project because of the scale and time available. Although, if I warm to Wicken Fen that will afford (there’s that word again), more of a wander-explore-discover (unearth) kind of approach. Part of me loves the idea of mile-upon-mile of identical looking manmade ‘artificial’ drains, difficult tracks, inhospitable climate, etc. probably ‘difficult’ source material for this kind of thing. I like the challenge, the fact the it forces the work to be about the place and my relation to it, finding out what that is, and not pretty sounds.

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Early October, 2012 – We have had a bout five days on non-stop sunshine, clear blues skies, and almost no wind – unheard of this year to have such good weather. So, today I went off across the field and into the woods near the river and found two smallish trees to experiment with. One issue has been the strings coming off the bridge, and so last time I was out I tried making an extended bridge from some elderberry sticks – it is pretty primitive, but it works. The problem is, though, that the strings still slip, and when they do it sounds rather dull.

Today I thought about how to get more than two strings working – you need to keep a couple of regular strings on the violins in order to hold the bridge in place. Today i realised that the answer is to float the violin, on an extended bridge, on the four strings. see picture:


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Sept 23 we (Bennett & Stefan) made a first attempt at a guitar-tree sculpture.

On the way back we had a conversation on the topic of the affordances of instruments that incorporate objects from nature into their design. Rather than the highly modified nature, or technology, of say a violin or a guitar, a musical instrument that incorporates a naturally occurring object becomes a vehicle for interaction with nature in artistic production. The specific affordances offered can be deployed to radically alter the nature of the musical performance – the question becomes one of “what is the music that this particular structure” can engender, rather than importing a notion of musical structure which the object is only used to realise.

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