Reflections on/ during/ since the Landscape Quartet Symposium. Culture Lab, Newcastle University, 4-5th July 2013. Sally Jane Norman
The following text draws largely on our lively in situ discussions, recapitulating valuable points made by the other participants (the four Quartet members, and other critical friends Rachael Hales, Peter Nelson, James Wyness). It also allows me to clarify notions “brought to the table” individually, as exchanges roved productively across subjective engagements with creative practice and thinking, and cognate theoretical references.
Reflection on notions of place, physical wayfaring and wayfinding, sonic identities and kinship, both upstream and during the Symposium, brought to mind my homeland Aotearoa New Zealand, where a sense of letting the sea- or land-scape voice its songs aligns with the Polynesian belief of belonging to the environment, instead of believing that the environment belongs to us. We’re aware of having washed up as terrestrials in tribal canoes or sailing ships some time during the last millenium, if not during our 500 million year old prehistory when plants and animals began to migrate from the sea to rivers and land. Maori mythology recounts the battle of the sea god Tangaroa, who had to call his children to the ocean depths during a storm wrought by Tawhiri Matea, god of the winds and technology. Regularly since, Tangaroa hurls his waves against the land to try and destroy the realm of Tane, god of the forest, but once the storm has calmed, Tane’s earth children take to the waters to fish up and feast on the children of Tangaroa.