Boundaries, again!

Boundaries, right here! – and the end of a line.

On commemorating the Roman Festival of Boundaries, we found that we live at the end of an ancient boundary-extension, without knowing it! We have marked the occasion before – Psychogeogeography marks the occasion , as well as Women who Walk:, and more. However, we have never marked the day here, where we live now – and this place turns out to be the hidden southerly outpost Hadrian’s Wall! – the end of the ‘wall’ behind it the Wall.
What we (that is, Simon Bradley and me) knew already is that there is a milefortlet near us, which is part of Hadrian’s Wall’s lesser-known outer defenses, erected to capture those who come or escape via the sea-route. These remains are of ‘Milefortlet 21’. Now if it’s the 21st milefortlet, it means there must have been at least 20 more fortlets between Hadrian’s Wall and here – and, furthermore, that this milefortlet is 21 miles away from the actual Wall. What we didn’t know is that there are, in fact 25 milefortlets, and the end of the line is exactly where we are, in the little town of Maryport, called Alauna in Roman times! I reel in amazement: here, right here, in a little, and little-known, unassuming and often unheard-of village ‘out in the sticks’ – here is exactly the outer outpost of the whole of the Roman Empire! A little village on a big big line! Like a Roman Meridian greeting.
So we are 25 miles away from the Wall, but connected to it by a line of milefortlets, which are said to have been connected to each other by a fence. Imagine a 25 mile-long fence! Immigratiion was tough back then even!
The Roman god of boundaries unbound
Even this best kept Milefortlet 21 (in the line of fortlets per mile to the wall) looks like less than a ruin, with only tiny walls and outlines left on the ground.
To see the fortlet, the best meeting point near-by is the little car park outside Crosscanonby Carr Nature Reserve, (the first in the Solway Plain AONB: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). – which itself was once a car park – from Car to Carr!
From there the coastal path, next to the coastal road, would take us to the milefortlet. But on the way, literally across the forlet, at the edge of the beach, are two medieval saltpans – which we included in our walk. They are two circles, ringed by a low stone wall,

around one of them. As you step out of the circle you are already on the beach, and there we collected 21 pebbles, for the 21st Milefortlet! When we got there, sunset-time approached, and after looking around the fortlet, which was familiar to us from previous visits. We then walked out of the forlet, to the wild grass next to it, and then walked back 6 steps in a southeasterly direction. This was to emulate the 6th milestone outside the Roman city of Laurentum, where the Romans placed their offerings to the god Terminus. This too is what we learned this time: the offering towards Laurentum at the 6th milestone – and it was Laurentum because that used to be the border of the Roman Empire. Was this offering made to guard the border, or to overcome it? Was it for or against immigraiton? I hope it was for immigration and against the border. It’s in this vein that we celebratee Terminalia – as a critical act.

Moreover i found out was that there is also a tree called ‘Terminus’. A whole family!
And to top this up, i found some news of that day regarding the surpassing of boundaries, which was the opening of a new raiway station! That’s Worcester Parkway, Briain’s youngest railway station (which was strangely hardly mentioned), opened on the 23rd Feb 2020, our Termin-inter-alia Day!




English Borders / It Brex

  1. English Borders

We know Scottish Borders, – it’s the county next to England, it shares its border with it,

and that’s what it’s named after. Yet there is no county called English Borders. As if there is no common border, as if Scotland is not next to England. And that’s impossible! Obviously, a border always has two sides. But one side doesn’t seem to talk about it.
They used to, in way: old maps show that where I am now in north-west Cumbria, was once part of the ‘Scottish Marches’, – but they were so-named as an area of battle, not in an affectionate way, not as place to meet in the middle, half-way.

An unspoken border, in half. Ignoring a frontier could be a good thing but what if it’s at the cost of ignoring one’s neighbour? Is the idea that the bigger country doesn’t need to refer to the smaller one?
There’s unequal stuff and unfair history around borders between quite a few countries, putting constellations out of sync, I think. I remember as a child I found it unfair that Denmark was too small compared with Germany. Denmark should have had more land (it’s not fair otherwise!), because once upon a time I believed that all our countries are of the same size. That’s what equality meant for me, totally idealistically, I assumed everything really was equal. But reality wasn’t that straightforward to start with.

Being where we are then, at least size shouldn’t matter, we need a seismic change! There should be diplomacy, recognition and friendliness that would acknowledge the border on both sides of itself, so to make it a common border, a meeting point, a connecting line of a union. A union must be respected, mutually, otherwise there can be no union.
A union, what’s that now? – United Kingdom, Trade Union, European Union? Respect?

Within them tales of two halves in different ways. Splits in Britain between and within the countries in its union. Since uni- !?- fication, Germany has a similar situation with east and west Germany. It’s probably not going off in the same way at the moment – although it could get worse – because there isn’t Brexit in the way.
Is Brexit the most extreme form of ‘The Divided Self’ (R.D. Laing) in a nation, not just an individual?

2. It Brex (Brexit): Eng – land

A story of two halves – here once again. So now it’s Britain that’s in the ‘middle of it: and all its parts: Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England – that’s 4 times 2, at least: so many bits and splinters. “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold”, as the Irish poet W.B. Yeats rightly said. But on top of that the centre is now stuck with itself: unlike Scotland or Northern Ireland, it can’t break away, – it’s stuck, but only one half of it might think it is stuck: in the picture below this is the ‘land’.

‘Eng – land’ is depicting its internal division it has had since the referendum. One half of

the country, the ‘Eng’ has gone over the cliff edge and is on the sea, the other half ‘land’ is still on land – though ‘Eng’ now assumes ‘land’ has gone with it, though the land has an infinite line after the last letter that connects the country to other entities.
‘Eng’ and ‘land’ have a dash between them – and extended hyphen. They are now in an uneasy symbioses: the ‘land’ can be dragged further down into the sea by the ‘Eng’, and it’s that first half of the country that has the capital letter (because it is the half that is in power / empowered. The ‘land’ cannot divorce itself from the ‘Eng’, and is left at its mercy.
The little island in the sea, and the big lake on the land show movement and mutual influence between the two. But the island in the sea is smaller than the lake in the land: the lake has more impact, and also the water is eroding the land by the coast – so it’s the ‘land’ in danger, whereas the ‘Eng’ is making the dangerous moves.
What’s next? I don’t know, that’s why my sketch is inconclusive. It’s a way of showing the danger, a sketch for thought.

And here’s the poem I wrote after receiving this new thing called “Settled Status”.

Quo Vadis?

I’ve now got Indefinite
Leave to Remain!
What are you
leave or remain?
I mean what do you think
Leaver or remainer
what’s left, what remains?

How odd is this
shifting sand of an island
that we live in
how old is our community
when did we reach out?
And when did we refuse
refugees, or become them
if ever we could
really do so
have enough experience
to say so?

How do you define
a settled status?
How settled could you
ever be and how
unsettled have I become?
How do we settle
the division between us
what’s left, what remains?

What do we leave behind
and how do we remain focussed
Foreigners and Friends
the Settled, the Unsettled, and
the as yet Undecided
Friends and Foreigners without frontiers
it’s about us
where are we now?
With a harder border in our midst, crusting
creasing, screaming.                                                      Ursula Troche, 8.2019

Art after a year

Art post 1 year: A reverse double countdown would take us into this new decade – I mean, count down from 10 twice, reverse this and so reach 20. On another time-scale,

the end of the last decade made a year in our upper northern location of the west Cumbrian pre-Scottish coastline, side by side with the Irish Sea. Sea-Sides and coast-Lines, and roundabout ways of getting somewhere has made me look at lines. So from now on we are in our second year here. There’s been a lot of artput, i mean art output since, and I like  to respond in it sto some of our urgent issues. For ex, how coastlines get eroded, and on my sketch here is a coastline which was a line and then got broken. So here’s the image of that. So here it’s decay, but it could be deconstruction as well: a porous border(line). Can you walk through the line, or do you have to ‘walk the line’?

Line art
Line of a Walk: this is a walk with a map and it looks like we tried to go up sky scrapers or so, but in fact they were piers in our little harbour.

One day we wanted to go for a walk around the pier – which is possible at low tide – and so, when the tide was less than three hours before its lowest point, we thought that the ‘outness’ of the tide was enough for us to be able to go around the pier. Once we got closer to the far end of the former shipyard beach where we started our pier-circle, we saw the tide was in fact not out enough! We turned back and decided to approach

Belly art, feminist
In my writing I often bring myself in, and I had the desire to do it in my art as well. I am interested in the body because it’s a feminist issue and because I am a life model too. So I

decided to us my belly for printing! The outcome was amazing: it looked like an ocean, or a galaxy: patterns echo! As for the ocean-association, it could even be my local Irish Sea, because my navel at the centre makes for a blank space in the print – just right for the outline of the Isle of Man! Belly button island then. And it’s here where women got the vote in 1881: how fitting to portray the island then with my centrepiece, my navel.

Since our residency at the Merzbarn, I have started on sculpture. Using found and

rubbish materials, such as those tomato-, orange- and onion-nets that I had been using before in my assemblages.

Art with words.
I found that often my art feels complete when I include words in it. I have here my ‘transition paining, because some of them are old, some of them I had only partially done and have now completed them all these years after: so it’s a meeting of the years. After a

while of figuring out how to put things together, I realised also I could mix techniques, and don’t have to keep to one at a time.

I had thought of including another layer into these paintings but haven’t got round to it yet, so the painting, and collaging, continues! Watch this artspace, so to speak, so to sketch… It’s still work in progress, but it’s coming along, and progress is always a nice development and unfolding of things and ideas coming together in some kind of materialised form and shape.      – – – …and there’s more, my Ursonate sketches, also inspired by the Merz barn residency, and of course, the old collages and asemblages, so there’s more to write and show, as always, and it’ll come (out) in the next posts…

Elective Special

My poster-notes for the occasion. There’s an election coming and the festive season is coming: Election + festive = elective.

Elective Affinities! But there’s more to it, for Elective Affinities was a novel by Goethe. All those years ago. And where are our (elective/ion) affinities in this election now?

The magnitude of this election – due to its impact on the Brexit-malaise – propelled me to compose little posters in my notebook, and then exhibit them on instagram. Exhibition is the word, so it’s not necessarily the same as campaigning – it’s about writing new ideas

down, and show with these the irrationality and sadness of the Brexit idea. Taking a fresh look at things to illuminate topics that affect us, such as this. So it’s the idea of art as a socially responsive and critical tool all over again.

I had started writing blog articles about new ideas against Brexit already at the time of the referendum – and now picked up on this thread again but this time in poster-style.

The issue at stake is too big not to comment on, I find.

I can’t make up my mind whether these little works are posters or notes – and that’s good because they are both.

All of these have been on my instagram (except one which is still to come) and some also elsewhere. As my little collection grew, I thought however, to put them all together in one place, so here they are. Maybe I’ll feel the need to add to them in the future. Time and the election result will tell.

The urge to engage on this level has been a conducive aspect of my art practice as a whole – it’s a coming-out and taking-sides process as well, and that is (once again) an exciting choice to make.

Beach 100 / Ortstory

a beach as project-space + a short story of place

Beach 100 is a little beach near me, which is located between two sort-of-piers, which used to be quays when there was a shipyard there. So now it has become a post-industrial former shipyard-beach. The stones on the beach still appear like boats in the harbour that once was: echoes carried forward! The two now-turned-piers are close to each other and the beach in between narrow, and when I first counted how many steps it would take me to get from one end of the beach to the other, I counted 100 steps! When I counted again the following day, it was only 95 steps, and the following day it was the same. But I stick to my 100 as this was the first count I did, so hence the name.

It’s great to have this unusually narrow beach as a local beach – it’s the perfect place for repetition and art-interventions. It’s got a view out – into the sea – and a view in, to a bit of the town behind the wall, the sea-wall. Beyond it on the land-side is a tree-stump in the bushes, which has become a place of intervention as well.

It is not kept well though: as it is so close to town, a lot of waste and empty bottles get thrown here. So at first sight the beach looks like a dirty bit of sand. I collect some of  the thrown-on-the-beach bottles, both as a beach-clean and for art projects: this is where most of my bottles for my eco-art project come from, which started on World Earth Day, the 22nd April.
Then the stone-and shell collecting began, limpets and objects both bigger and more bizarre: fishing rope, toys and pieces. All these have given rise to a number of ideas, play

and assemblages. The limpets, the Irish Sea round. I walked and worked the beach too with Simon, we found objects here and found sounds of waves and seagulls and more. So it’s become a concentrated space of collaboration as well.
It’s a beach one can walk out of – during low tide one can walk all around the pier on the right hand side, where the pier structure boasts a Scottish flag-look, with its St. Andrews-style cross.

It’s a beach between Rivermouth, Firth and Sea: the rivermouth is to the left and is the River Ellen, the firth is to the right, the Solway Firth, and the sea is all around: the Irish Sea. A sea not often mentioned but always seen.
From this beach you can our local lighthouse, and behind it Scotland, in the shape of the mountains of Dumfries and Galloway.


On the 26th September this beach once again gave birth to a launch my Ortstory-project. An Ortstory is a short story of place: ‘short’ without ‘sh’ leaves ‘Ort, which is the word for ‘place’ in German – so here is a term made up of two languages.
So Ortstory is one words in my series of language-images as well, but as it’s bigger than my other ‘bilingual’ words, as I think of this as a genre: a new kind of short story, which is rooted in place: so, very much a psychogeographical story with a linguistic twist.

On this day when I went down to my local beach, this beach-space felt like a canvas to me, so this is my inaugural Ortstory then:

Ortstory on Beach 100:

A beach like a canvas, like an ever-changing painting, made by the tides, with low-and

high tide marks making moving spaces in time. Sand, stones and shells being splashes of paint, tides leaving marks, making changes.
Limpets and cockles, scallops and winkles distributed across the wet sand, this time not just wet from the sea but wet from the rain as well: and so waters meet frequently. Seaweed too, and seagulls gallivanting or flying through the wind. Moves occur in the air and the sea, boats appear not so frequently: the port is of the past, just the pier remains and a little harbour with a marina. Much is missed though seldom spoken, the past is silenced over long periods with short intervals. The canvas of the beach turns out to have paintings under it, readings too, like a palimpsest. Words might emerge, a story might stay for the short while of the intertidal exposure. A short story then: it won’t be long until the tide comes to hide the land and the patterns on this its sometimes-sea-less surface. Look and listen whilst you can.

So this is what happened today when I walked down along the estuary, then the sea. I went past the point of the low tide mark, not in space but in time – the low end of the stretch of the tide has just been. I went forth by the Firth, make my way to the Solway Firth, my soul and I, like hand in hand we go, soul in body, body by sea, water to water, gathering thoughts and dreams down at this edge of return, and ever turning tunes like sea-songs.
With each walk to the beach a poem in reach, then written down in wavy fragments, reflecting ripples on the beach bed, casting shadows between light fields on the sand.
I find limpets next to my writing place, and collect them, together with other shells. I look at the pattern of stones and shells in the sand and try to guess what has changed since the last time the tide was high. That was a few hours ago, and that would have meant, as always in this rhythm played out on the beach, a rearrangement of the details it causes. Details: the way in which stones and shells and seaweed lie there, where they have their place: the lie of this tidal land. Changes we might never notice as to exactly where they are, changes like the subconscious. Only occasionally found. Found out now, as I write, I might catch the secret before it rolls down again like the next high tide. After this it might reappear, that secret, here but not quite here, and hardly to be found, situated on the edge of oblivion, if it wasn’t for attention paid to it. All this, and if it wasn’t for the close observation of tidal transformation which might just hold on to my consciousness beyond itself – or so it may seem in this wet sand.
This wet sand of a beach like a canvas.
I go home with my hands full of shells – this is my catch for today. I don’t catch fish, I catch exteriors, my catch is what has once held little animals: their discarded exteriors I have caught, it’s their shells I gather and keep. Sea-life to sea-shell, living to housing. Structures that become obsolete to the animals and of interest to me. I delight in this, identify with it, I, the has-been animal, connecting on the beach.

Collages and Assemblages

– art-interventions on and off canvas: Ever since living by the sea at the Solway – which

includes a lot of dimensions:1.) north-west coast; 2). where England meets Scotland, 3). where England meets Irish Sea 4). behind the Lake District. 5.) Cumberland-cum-Cumbria; 6). Hadrian’s Wall-land – my art -practice has expanded.

It has done that both collaboratively and individually: working together with Simon Bradley being inspired by his sound-art-practice, and delving into more art dimensions than I had previously done when my travelling land-and-place practice was mainly writing and photography.
I had been on the verge of things I do now: I had spotted sheep-wool in a tree in Sanquhar, Scotland, and was inspired to what it did to the view. I played with shadow and light, to identify moving lines, and shifting spaces, I collected pebbles on beaches and I was inspired by seaweed forms, as well as the accidental patterns and shapes that leaves would make on streets, or how signs could have an artistic impact on a certain scene inside or outside of a town. Through all this, my writing and thinking became more abstract, more experimental.

Practice expansion

Since moving here to the Solway however (7 months ago now), I engaged in all these and more practices more consciously and more deliberately. I started picking up more and different kinds of little found objects, and take them to nearbyplaces for art purposes. I took my found sheep-wool from the previous year in Ilkley Moor to the sea, and carried on from there. I called these interventions: So a line of artistic production emerged, and then a network – i.e. a development of one thing leading to another, and then several things interacting and happening at the same time. I often say it all started with the Ilkley Moor wool, but in a way it started with with Octy, my little soft-toy-mascot octopus – which I then hadn’t called interventions, so it had been an inadvertent thing!

After Octy (subconsciously) and the wool (consciously), I used pebbles and bottles, then I drew circles on stones, then I used nets, which let to using packaging – and thus the use of rubbish that we produce. My bottles so far had been glass bottles, and now, with using packaging in mind, I used plastic bottles, and that opened up the whole field of plastic, and eco-art! Taking them out in public for photos was another adventure, as I could play with the shapes I found on different kinds of ground, once again: a bottle photographed from the bottom looked like a mandala, and one bottle in front of a crack in a wall made the crack look like it was holding my bottle!
By early April, things had already expanded so much that I made this diagram: 20190725_162627

Ephemeral interventions to canvas collages

Then, in a further movement (the movements were coming like waves, but instead of receding they stayed, as if I am a collector of water, making my own ocean!) my collages developed. Partly because I always wanted to bring something onto a canvas – and also because I had found and collected so much wool left by sheep on fences and on the ground – that I wanted to bring them onto another platform which would be less ephemeral than my interventions. On a canvas I create ‘landscapes’: either oceanic collections with seaweed-simulation, or landscapes as in imaginative and abstract maps.

I also still had some old acrylic wool at home, and thought it would be interesting and kind of comical to bring the sheep-wool and the acrylic wool together on a canvas with acrylic paint on! Then I expanded the series with my nets collected from tomato- and onion packaging: I had by then realised that the nets I had strung together (I wrote about them two posts before this one) always got tangled up, so I had to do something else with them. In my typical continuous expansion and merging of ideas I added further layers: feathers, limpets etc.
In the first instance, I produced 5 canvasses – and I call this the original Pentatych – i.e. a triptych plus 2.
As for my canvas: they aren’t all traditional canvases, they are often the hardbacks of old notebooks, which are in perfect order and I felt I didn’t want to throw them away. So there’s another recycling-theme there too – let the cycle be unbroken and continue.

Interior and exterior psychogeography

Public and personal spaces merged in my art too, when I continued assemblages at home: clementines on my breakfast place surrounded by wool and pebbles. Unlikely combinations made great constellations.
Just like the personal is political, psychogeography is everywhere – even the word itself speaks of the two: psycho- as an interior space, and -geography as an exterior space.

Feather – raise one!

Carnival came to town and I picked up some carnival feathers afterwards, and found some on the ground.
They added to the feathers that can be found here on the ground on a daily basis –

mostly seagull-feathers. I’ve never seen as many feathers in a town as here, they are lying about all over the pavements. Picking some of them up and using them in art means to incorporate the objects of this town in my work. So it’s site-specific in that sense – or a sense of it – as well. At the moment I am in a feather-phase. I have also developed the thought of raising a feather instead of raising a flag. The idea of replacing flags with feathers! “Imagine there’s no country…” – and imagine there are no borders! Not in art nor in the form of countries. Let’s find different forms (of living) perhaps.

From the City to the Sea

City to Sea – London to Cumbria’s Coast

In my last four blog-posts I have talked about the amazing transition of leaving London

and moving to the sea up in the north near Scotland – as well as art that has happened since then! (1. Coastal Collaboration; 2. Introducing ArtCouple; 3. Easter, Eggs, Box, Beach; 4. Words and Nets). So the two big themes that have been happening are these: city to sea, and art. I’ve always written about both in each post because they so influence each other.

So I’ll add some more stuff about the theme of City to Sea here, and more about my art in the next. Here are some notes from my notebooks about the thrilling experience of comparing those spaces, moving between the two, and finding ever more angles on the subject of social space – it’s psychogeography in ‘social movements’.

My movement from the city to the sea meant going from London to a small town in the north. Hence there are more movements included here: city to small town, south to north, inshore to sea. That’s three subject-areas within the overall topic then. Had I moved to e.g. Liverpool, I wouldn’t have been confronted with the subject of small town. Had I moved to Bristol, I wouldn’t have been confronted with the north, and had I moved to nearby Cockermouth, I wouldn’t have been confronted with the sea.
So all of these changes happened for me together, and that’s such a rich combination that only a lot of writing and art on this theme could bring out some this dense conglomerate of experiences.

Come Full Circle?!

There is even more to it, because my previous location is not my origin – my origin goes back to a location across the sea, i.e. Germany. Here the sea comes in again, because my childhood holidays by the sea had become some of the most significant aspect of my memory – so much so that the sea, where I live now, now goes back to my childhood-memories! As if I had come back, as if I had come full circle! So I feel a going-back aspect not by referring to the land but by referring to the sea!
A circle, in reference to the sea, but not the land/country then!


Leaving the city, and the south at the same time, means under current economic structures, that somehow this is some sort of periphery! As if this is being the opposite of an economic migrant! Though I am poor, and I have art to pursue! If it wasn’t for my art, would it be possible to even go against the grain? The system does not make it easy, and on my own it would have been too difficult, both me and Simon did this move together, which appeared against all expectations for many! Simon, unlike me, had lived in the north before, but it was city-north, and Yorkshire-North, so much more on the map! And here we are in small town and in the far-north, wild-west of coastal Cumbria. The oddest place to be? Why would we want to be ‘out in the sticks?’ On top of that this particular town isn’t known for its artists either, so we would stick out like sore thumbs? Economically and otherwise. That’s how predictable this system is. One is expected not to make this type of move. And we did. Because we loved the sea here, its forgotten character in comparison with the better-known east coast. And we loved the location between the Lake District and Scotland. We are in the middle of everywhere here, rather than in the middle of nowhere!

Experiences, Economics and Escape!
For all the beauty and open space outside the ciy, people are forced to consider economics, which so reduces ones options. There is little written on this, here’s two great articles from The Guardian: Carmen Fishwick writes about northern experiences about moving to London: ‘At first it was a disaster – northern readers on moving to London’ (21. Nov. 2016). and ‘The great northern braindrain: I daydream about moving back (also 21. Nob. 2016).
So regional applied in this country is quite unequal – we know this but it might even be getting worse, where it should be getting better.

London is not just a city but a bubble, a capital, a destination that the world desires. Migrants everywhere are attracted to London, inside this country and outside of it. For 27 years I seemed to be no exception to this but now I am all too pleased to be bucking the trend! Londoners can’t often think of leaving – and neither could it, for a long time – but now I am all too excited to have left!

City to small town

Hyper-urban space versus small-urban space: city versus ‘sleepy town’.
Other factors come into this, like north/south, and seaside versus in-the-country. ‘Country’ is associated with ‘sleepy town’ but in this case, the sleepy town is by the seaside and the city (Leeds), is in the country.
Here I want to attempt a dialogue between these two modes.

Here I was, in Leeds, the city, again!
I had an intention to bring the small town to the city, and so I brought geese feathers.
But it turned out that I became totally absorbed in observing the accidental arrangement of found objects in the city – i.e. an upside down bottle pushed into a barrier; the reflection of traffic lights in a broken glass window. Observations like that kept me too busy to bring my found objects from my little seaside town in. That mean that in the end I didn’t perform an intervention.
Therefore no urban-rural dialogue of objects occurred.
At this point I realised that art-intervention, in the way I operate it, means dialogue! I hadn’t thought about it like that before, but now the association seemed to be clear.

I think there is a social echo about this!
If two groups, or communities (i.e. the city and the seaside town) have such strong and manifold voices, there is no time and space for interaction between those two groups! I was listening to these internal voices like a non-participant observer.

Dialogue with Leeds

When in Leeds, a curious merger of new, old as well as different experiences come together.
Leeds as a surrogate city,
with a curious sense of anonymity, for my personal perception.
Anonymous like London never was because I had lived there and grown into it, before I reflected on it.
And so London developed for me as a person somehow, and it grew into me. I, as person, had London in me, and London was a person too.

Leeds is different as I hadn’t lived here, but compared to the small seaside town where I live now, the city-ness of Leeds is familiar to me! So it’s in part a replica, and in other, further and gran?der parts new, northern, another dream come true, a looming northern nirvana. What’s it saying to me? How do I dialogue with this city, that I know on account of its city-ness but not otherwise?
How is the knowing and city-ness revealed?
For example the buildings, the rushing people, the big railway station that has a world-flair: this could be anywhere big too, Hamburg maybe, for example, even. This could be anywhere specific.

Silence Anonymous Home

Anonymity produces silence, because you aren’t at home yet.
And anticipation, for the same reason
And for your enquiring mind, what this would feel like if it was home.
The journey as an amazement! Something I used to do and even then enjoyed.

Back to the Sea  (Sea-child, the North and “London Island”)

Here at the Solway it looks like how it did when I was a child at the sea. The Sea then has surrounded my many years in London on either side – even though I didn’t grow up by the sea, the relative vicinity of it, time spent by it and similarity to this sea I am presently at the side of (sea-side!), is so overwhelming that the sea has moved closer in my mind even retrospectively. It’s the knowledge I had developed there through being by it, the tides that had impressed on it over time! That prior and early knowledge about the seaside I am at now, even if it’s a different side, is thrilling as well, it creates a unique bridge, a deep communication and it is, I think, a deep mapping tool.
Sea-Child I am perhaps then! With the longest time spent in London between my sea-sides, the centre then, is London, in an unusual way though! How can think of decentering London and promoting The North, even the far north (it’s different from ‘known north’ i.e. Manchester!) if London is the island at the centre of my two lived-by sea-sides? But then geographically this is how it happened – so I have to enhance the sides: maybe this could be where outlines are more visible, intersections more fluid, and forms take shape! So this is the task then. Another edge to consider for psycho-geography I propose.
It’s the Sea-All and Be-All! There’s a being-connection then, an existential thing about being here: from one side of my life to another. Sea to the Centre!

Words + Nets (entanglements + internets)

Word Nets: if could catch words with nets! This sounds like one project but it’s two!

I had started with words long before, and then I got into nets! The idea was developed from my whole eco-art intervention stories. I played with wool, then with circles, then with bottles, with pen tops and with shadows, then with shells, boxes, and with seaweed, and eventually with nets. They are by-products of selling produce, packaging, holding items like bags: for tomatoes, onions, oranges, plums, garlic and so on. I kept those nets when they got empty, and put in pebbles instead of produce, as an act of (over)throwing (out) capitalism.

The Nets
I photographed them and I filmed them, and was amazed by how good those ordinary

pebbles look inside one of those colourful nets – and vice versa! They made great pebble-holders, display-structures. Next I thought of putting those nets together, to make a network. A whole network, with the spaces in between being the internet-spaces! I used

a skein of wool I had bought years ago, to string some of my nets together. A skein so sloppily kept that it got entangled to itself! But the wool didn’t look old, it was just its multiple entanglement within its skein which was weird! I found that these entangulations actually really looked good, and liked the message that it suggested: in theory one could disentangle this skein of wool, but it practice it is impossible! Once  entanglement occurs, it is there to stay, it seemed to say. We work with enmeshments on a daily basis. There is no straight path, and it’s not narrow either: it goes to so many places! And this theme of entanglement indeed has been coming back to me even in my work, as it developed and continued.

The Network
So I cut a piece of string from the wool, and used it to string my assembled nets together, to make a Network, as planned. I loved the pun of it (pun intended, double!): this was my

network! This is what networking can be! To take a nets from fruits and veg, put inside a different catch, therefore sugegest fishing nets, and then open it out into a work of nets.
Next I took my Network out, and with each time I did it, I realised that this Network in itself became entangled, just like the wool had done before! And so the theme of entanglement returned! I could have anticipated this, but didn’t think of it. So the network itself became an entangulation. With those, the spaces in between became more solid, and in these places, i.e. these gaps between the nets, a kind of internet developed!

The Words
Quite separately from that, I had been making a sort of word-game series. They consisted on the one hand of extended words on a theme, and their mutations of association and meaning, and on the other hand of a kind of image-based inter-language I developed, between English and German. For example, how, by phonetic resemblance, the ‘I’ and the ‘egg’ become associated across these two languages: the pronunciation of ‘I’ would suggest an egg in German. So a meaning-space opens up between languages, which happens purely by sound-association – (I have posted a pic of the I-egg in my last post, the one with the egg-box). Another kind of space between those languages (or

any two or more languages) is that of literal translation, and where they lead: for example, ‘roundcast’ is the literal translation of ‘broadcast’, which makes for a totally different word and meaning, which is interesting, and therefore a different space opens up. So instead of playing the right-or-wrong game, I let spaces develop. In these spaces, totally different words and new meanings are created, and I find that thrilling. It’s a kind of international dadaist thing perhaps, a bilingual dada-do.
My word-games, however, didn’t start here, they started with a different kind of dada, or para-dada – the extended words on a theme, with their associations and/or mutations of meaning. Examples of these are: “Cuppa on Cupboard”, “going home then”, “post-urban”, and so on, where I write down free associations on a theme, some thoughts. In this example I was inspired by moving from London and Leeds to Lake District borders, in one of my ‘word-tricks’, I have morphed the London Underground District Line into the Lake District Line. This, and the other plays, some of them achieved by separating words and bringing them together differently, are creatively brought forward into an altered meaning. Word-plays that makes a meaning-movement.

I have also framed word-observations, such as the ‘boy in the body’: this could be a feminist critique, and it’s a big topic, and has thus started a whole other project, which I am in the process of writing about. And so the projects continue, as they always give birth to more projects, like a tree branching out.
Another word-observation with a gender-aspect is the MoorMoon (MaMars) project, which started with the Moo-similarity and then went on to knock on the idea of a masculine Mars, which was at odds with its similarity with ‘Mama’! So words can say a lot of things, not just the things we make of them in a standard way: language says a lot, language speaks!

Now what name could I give those manifold word-play displays, which I do on paper, and are meant as art-pieces? Though I have these different types of approaches, I think the inter-language type of word-play is the most unusual, in a way, so I had to find a word for this technique! After a while, I came up with ‘Wordworts”. It sounds a bit like ‘Wordsworth’, or like ‘forward’, or like an almost-repetition. It is a repetition actually, but across languages again. ‘Wort’ is the German for ‘word’, so I just put it behind the English word, and then ‘the two words’ make a good double together! Even if some of them have nothing to do with German, ‘wordworts’ would still work as a description I think, because the two words differ by only one letter (-d in one, -t in the other), so that makes it quite interesting – also to suggest the idea that languages are just dialects to each other.

The musical factor
The branching-out- process did not stop with the naming of this kind of work. Even more styles of word-games developed, and I got into something I now consider to be a word-round, such as “(over)-thrown (out). It’s like an amalgamation of ‘overthrown’ and ‘thrown out’, and by writing the ‘thrown’ part of both words, which belongs to both of them, only once, I create a continuous loop. That loop, I found, is a bit like an inflected musical round-form, where two or more groups sing a song but start at different times, and therefore become locked in an exiting and harmonious loop. A loop also makes a tune entangled to itself. In particular, with my inflection, i.e. the only partial repetition of the motif, creates further entanglement.

So here is entanglement yet again, and that seems to have become a leitmotif. Now the next stage will be to entangle my nets with my words. Stop catching pebbles and start catching words! The possibilities of cross-fertilization, and therefore – yes, you’ve guessed it: entanglements – are endless. It’s the basis for new spaces, and therefore and within them, new ideas.
Here then, is another example to end with, a story: each word a pebble perhaps, pebbles as sentences, stones as bigger sentences, bricks as structured sentences, a house as a book! A town a library! The streets between the houses the network. An a-stone-ishing Stone Age Literatus. Now read this!

Easter, Eggs, Box, Beach

Art Intervention News: in my eco-art endeavours I looked through the stuff we leave behind around the food we buy: our packaging. There was the egg-box. Up until

considering the egg-box, one of the things I had done was working with stones, or pebbles rather: little stones – and I had given some of them eyes, i.e. I glued googly eyes on them. So I thought, how about putting the stones in the empty egg-places in the egg-box! I could thereby make a critique of mass-production – how all these eggs, maybe sometimes even the organic ones, were produced in dodgy conditions. Replacing the eggs with stones would make ‘them’ perhaps look like a totally free range example!
Stones instead of eggs! Or Pebbs: pebbles posing as eggs! With or without eyes, the stones in the egg-box were a great idea I thought: those with eggs would have hatched, and those without ones hadn’t. If some have hatched and some hadn’t, it was also a thing of birth in the box! So the story grew already then.

And then I did it: I took the box to the beach near me, and filled it up with 6 pebbles where once there were half a dozen eggs, as planned – some of them with eyes put on, some without. As I was doing it I found, to my surprise, that they had a look of Easter Egg about them! And it so happened that this intervention coincided with the Easter season of now! This I hadn’t planned, I didn’t think to do an art intervention in an egg-box because it was Easter, I just thought of the box as a kind of package I hadn’t used before. It was all a good coincidence and timely. Happy Easter! May you find egg-citing surprises in my box!

Choosing an egg-box for eco-art was like a double-whammy as well, because an egg-box is already an environmentally friendly kind of packaging: it’s made from pulp! And here comes an art-link: on the subject of pulp, my artcouple partner and collaborator Simon has produced a pulpture! – a pulp-sculpture, which will be the subject of our next post on our artcouple blog. Back on the egg-box, I discovered it has an interesting name for its structure, which is called a monocoque or shell structure (meaning it has no frame but is like ‘structural skin’, what this type is referred to technically) – so it’s ideal on the beach, to add to the theme of shells…
And then there was the primal theme of eggs! Especially because the I is the Egg in my childhood language German one may say! So whereas there is primal stuff about the egg anyway, it is heightened when one translates the English I into German on a soundbasis, which sounds as if one had just said ‘egg’.

I filmed my box as well:

A few days later, I took my box to the forest, and then again to the beach. This time on the beach I filled one egg-space with a red button. So there’s the odd one out! Egg out. There’s another thing I did: I didn’t place the box on a stone but on the bare sand, for it to be totally on the ground. But then I found that the sand was wet, and the box got wet, and eventually it broke apart! Here the box came to a natural end then, having been well used, and not thrown away except when its bits got torn!

In the process of its ending interesting images, or rather associations, developed. The long bits between the egg-spaces stood out taller and taller, as the edges of the box lowered, and so a lighthouse-look developed. The the ‘lighthouses’ turned wonky and the box started to look like a sinking ship. Then the image morphed again: the remaining features mingled and bent like those concrete tetrapod sea defences you can see on some beaches. So there it was the image-association series: lighthouse, sinking ship, tetrapod.
The tetrapod image was telling because of the theme of erosion, by the sea. Erosion, decomposition. But there’s been a hatching. A story had been born, an imagination! Something was there, and something remained. It’s what one might call a sustainable story! Re-cycle: it goes on an on. I, egg, you, he/she/it..

introducing ArtCouple blog

ArtCouple blog! + video links

News update: in my Coastal Collaboration post, below, I announced the big new change

happening in my art practice and location (far out of London now): me and Simon working together on the Solway since we moved here at the end of last year, 2018 – the Solway being a borderlands area in the north of England, where we are, but also in Scotland, and bordering on the Irish Sea on seaside and the Lake District on lakeside. So we’ve been working on a blog about this big new project, and it has now gone live! It’s called Artcouple – we are ArtCouple! Here it is:

The idea of me and Simon as an Artcouple came about as our work unfolded together, in the same area, sharing similar concerns and interests. We realized we were not just a couple, but an artcouple too as it was about our work becoming more and more intertwined and coupled up.
For me there was an unprecedented thrill here, as Maryport, where we are, is one of the few towns in England that I hadn’t even heard of before! The idea of having moved somewhere one didn’t even know existed is intriguing to me. It’s such newland, newtown, and furtherland! Ironically, I know the coast behind the sea which appear on the horizon in the distance from here: these are the Scottish mountains of Dumfries and Galloway, where I had visited before and taken great walks: Annan, the Nith Valley, Dumfries, the Isle of Whithorn. It is thrilling to think that I know what is on my horizon but that what is in front of me is totally new! Tbere is a lot then, though this town is small. This town is smaller than anywhere I had lived before and that brings with it new experiences, new coordinates – an unknown unravels and thereby transforms into a known: though only in my mind, the town itself is what it is. My relations have changed, expanded yet again, acquired new dimensions once again!
This unprecedented adventure of being somewhere elsewhere, and on top of that doing new things, and on top of them working on stuff together: living by the coast, up so far north that Scotland is around the corner! Like Scottish Borders on the other side! Coming from down south, through this island’s centre-land-piece Yorkshire, the last big road to take to get here is the A66! Like 99 Red Balloons upside down, side by side with the sea.

Harbour behind my back at the breakfast table, seaside at backside, and therefore all that history that goes with it, too: a harbour past its prime, with no more of the big boats coming in (and mining too, has been undermined). Upon leaving the house, I walk into the setting of this plot of post-industrial decline, this declension, even if they don’t tell you, for it’s too hard and too long to say just by the way. You might notice it indirectly: when you feel like feminism hasn’t been processed yet. There’s some kind of stagnation somewhere in the air, though the sea is flowing. So I have been having a lot of joy getting my teeth into all this: here I am somewhere else! I love experiencing and dissecting this new old form.

New art forms
A lot of artistic development has been happening for me here simply through being inspired and taking on three new art forms: art-interventions, taking videos, eco-art! I can splash out here, make waves among the waves that I am already surrounded by.
My first new art-form I homed in on was taking videos: I had taken some before but rarely, due to a permanent lack of space on my phone-camera. With an SD-card that Simon put in my phone for me, I had a lot more space, and so I could dive in to my new video-art. This was about introducing movement, motion! That felt revolutionary, for now I could do a kind of a series instead of single photos, I could connect, and thereby able to tell a longer story! So movement was about story!

The ability to tell a story now led me to doing interventions – so one thing led to another. It all began with my sheep wool from Ilkley Moor, which I had carried with me in my bag ever since Simon introduced me to that moor last summer. I had already enjoyed carrying the Yorkshire-picked sheep wool out of its place in London with me – and now I discovered it consciously as an intervention! So this started the intervention-story, which is so long and exciting, that I will talk about it in my next Artcouple blogpost! So have a look there.

Then came the third art-form: Eco-art. This in turn came out of my interventions – when I thought about what meaningful objects I could use for my interventions: packaging objects seemed ideal because they are already there: in the stuff you buy – and instead of throwing them away I could make them tell stories, or serve as a warning of the excess of waste we have to process.

And here 2 my videos:
Below are two little videos I took.
1): Eco-art: Seaside Supermarket. The idea were these critical questions/imaginations: What if stones were commercially sold like onions? What catch is in the net? this is an eco-art vid I took in my locality, the Solway coast, England, to bring up questions about how our society operates in relation to ecology and consumerism.

2): a video against hard borders (and thereby against Brexit, in response to our current crisis): Sea no hard border! The idea was to show the continuity of the sea (and the land under it!) and how that makes borders become absurd. We are facing the Irish Sea here, and so a sea-consciousness arises. I wanted to document this, as the Irish Sea is not even only Northern Ireland, but borders on England itself, and so the issue gets very close.