Thursday, 8 May 2008

Diary 7th May - 6th June 2008

7th May 2008 - First dig experiment, and imagery trial.
Sketch book photos and title photo - Becky Bowley.

9th May 2008 -

When I first had this idea I wondered about reversing the process, so that I would replace all the earth back into it's original earth, leaving the land as it was. This has come back up for me today, as the meaning of the ritual is deepening and becoming clearer to me.

From the beginning I have been aware of it's absurdity, that true peacefulness between lands, countries and people is in the acceptance of the differences, the embrace of individuality, and the embrace of things just as they are, without trying to contrive, or control. The Performance is reminding me of, in part, trade of goods between countries, which causes many problems in the world - including the effect on the environment through transportation.

I'm also aware of the absurdity, of merging the land, when in reality it already is merged, it is in harmony, it works best by itself, it is perfect and whole and peaceful just as it is, and all too often it is the desires of mans control that disturb it's harmony. But in contemplating this I contemplate how nature and humanity do and can work and play together harmoniously, each as sacred as the other and without separation.

There are some questions in ritual and performative acts that can't be answered until it is taking place, until the communication between materials, imagery and body are engaged in that moment. So the question for me, as whether to reverse the process, leaving the land in it's original places, can't be answered yet, but I am beginning to feel that the earth understands the performance and is embracing it, and I shall let that engagement speak for itself.

"And so I write a tragedy about how a blade of grass becomes more and more difficult to offer. And about how as you grow older A blade of grass becomes more difficult to accept." Nasz - The Gift.

11th May 2008 -

Yesterday I spent the day looking for some of the sites along The Hope Valley Line. Some things came to mind whilst hoping on and off the train and choosing sites that spoke to me, I had an increasing sense of vulnerability about the performance and couldn't help think of refugees, who are forced to leave their homes and land, but the necessity to move on from something we love happens on many levels, for whole groups of people and for the individual.

The land and the soil are becoming representative to the lives and history of the world to me, because the earth has seen it all, the earth knows all of our experiences, and holds our lives in its beauty without judgement.

My sense of homelessness whilst looking for meaningful places to pass through also lead me to think of nomads, and travellers, travelling by train from place to place, living the meaning of transience and embracing it's poetry.

6th June 2008 -

I have completed the site search for the performance of Transmerge and I'm getting to know Hope Valley and the Hope Valley Line more intimately.

Transmerge has been unfolding in front of me with every train stop along the way to Manchester, the chosen sites have been perfect finds for the performance, and surprisingly immediate to select, the landscape of Hope Valley has been very directive, and has been communicating the meaning of Transmerge to me, and the meaning of being in Hope Valley.

I'd unconsciously developed a system of looking at the landscape passing on the train, and walking around the immediate area to see what the site was saying, with a rule of looking at it's immediacy, and not wondering away too far just to find a spot where it would be nice to be in and easy to perform at, if the landscape and site spoke in a difficult way, or was uncomfortable to be in, I didn't want to avoid what it was communicating to Transmerge. Keeping to this initially unconscious system helped me to keep to a truth of the meaning of Transmerge, and Hope Valley, and helped me to just let it unfold.

Along side the landscape and the train route the people on the train and on the sites have become an increasing integral part of Tranmerge, people leaving cities to walk in nature, people leaving there villages to go out on the town at night, lovers parting and uniting, trainspotters, nature photographers, and people unravelling their stories to each other along the journey, or stopping to pray, or just watching everything pass by.

As the landscape changes along the Hope Valley Line, so do it's people, as trees turn into concrete, as small villages turn into estates, and then into cities.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Transmerge - Introduction - 7th May

Becky Bowley will take the train from Sheffield to Manchester. In Sheffield she will dig a hole and take the earth to the next stop, Dore, where she will then dig another hole and fill that hole with the earth from Sheffield, she will then take the earth from Dore to Grindleford where she will then dig another hole, and fill that hole with the earth from Grindleford, and this process will continue along the Transpennine train route until she reaches Manchester and then goes back to Sheffield to fill the original hole with the earth from Manchester.

Transmerge is a ritual that communicates an artistic desire to merge body and land for creative peaceful purposes without boundaries of ownership. Prehistorically land and rock art may have been used to define boundaries, and ownership of the land to certain ‘tribes’ and to indicate their beliefs and rituals. These boundaries of land and people continue today causing global and personal conflict between individuals. Land and people are separated by differences that can be transformed into a merger of unique parts at peace with each other, which is ritualised in the performance of Transmerge.

The performance will be two days long and take place on the 27th and 28th of June, Becky will work closely with arts photographer Julian Hughes to document the performance. The photographs will be exhibited alongside a diary of the process and mapping of exchanged earth holes at on this site where details of times, and stops will follow shortly …..