Monday, February 21, 2011

"Why I stay in the provinces"

This is the title of an essay by Heidegger, declining the call to Berlin. Rural life at least here in TN is a strange mix. For families who have roots here, the past meant poverty, hunger, uncertain times. Despite Heidegger's promotion of peasant life, it cannot always have been possible to delight in the world they inhabited with disease, infant mortality, and hunger around the corner. But imagine that life without the anxiety! I'm getting closer.

Cabin Fever, Restablizing Horses

Today Randall started leveling the site for the new stables. Giant grey rocks sleep beneath the turf and are disturbed after thousands of years by the Giant Clunking BullDozer Machine. Later he will level a site for Cabin II in the top field, which will be wholly self-contained. Solar plus. Rohan sent this pinhole picture of me next to Cabin I.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Peripatetic Sunday

Going walkabout it is tempting to follow habit and walk accustomed paths. Today I broke with tradition and returned to some old ways. Up to the spring, where the pipe needs mending. Now the electrical connection to the pump needs attention. And the lid, which has rusted through. Lots of downed branches from storms etc. The impulse to tidy is real, if only to bring out lines. Is the picturesque a bad thing? I imagine a series of red painted installations to complement various mossy sites and their velvet green, especially damp 'waterfalls'. Need work parties to clear broken wood etc., and more benches to punctuate walks; benches could host sentences! (See Word Farm). (The Word Farm project could start on Vanderbilt's campus as a temporary exhibition.) YB the Gesamtkunstwerk needs some attention. The Airstream needs moving. Need to construct a focal end to L'Avenue de L'Avenir. The Lookout Hill site needs a small shelter - perhaps a good place for the rotating hut - using a truck axle/wheel, because of the changing wind direction. Then there is the red bridge on the right going up the hill from the house ... I was reading Gary Snyder yesterday, some essays from Back on the Fire (?). He spoke of the need for (in poetry and in life?) this and that, AND wit. Perhaps wit opens up a broader category I do care about - by which e.g. the picturesque could be interrupted. Bridges that lead nowhere? Unfinished sentences? New ruins (playing with Clough Williams-Ellis), architect of Portmeirion, who also built ruins in fields, gates to nothing. This is another kind of dynamism to that wrought by participatory activity, inviting people to engage, interact with an installation. Building in wit, or incompleteness allows the object to begin that movement itself, frustrating expectations etc. But then there are delightful and merely annoying forms of frustration. CWE was an interesting guy, wrote for the National Trust, lamented the loss of a former age, probably a Conservative in many senses: he wrote "I think that Beauty, The Strange Necessity - as Rebecca West once called it - is something that matters profoundly to humanity, and that unless the race of man perishes from the earth, it will increasingly value that Grace, will seek it, and will ultimately attain it." Perhaps we need the picturesque as a lure to what will enjoyably confound it. What if the Greek temple (not) at the end of the Avenue were a two dimensional facade? Can I use mirrors in the landscape? But perhaps all this talk of interruption is premature. First one needs to master, somewhat, the classical rules of form etc. This seems especially true of landscape.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A new ART PROJECT:: Wordscape (see YB webpage)

Poetic PereGRINation

Words in landscape.
Not signs, just words.
Like flowers or leaves.
stuck on sticks,
strewn across the turf,
sprouting from the ground.
English words
Spanish words,
French words,
German words,
Indian words
words from imaginary Borgesian languages,
words that might have delighted Joyce or Lear.

A cornucopia of word-smithery.
Word-birds that alight on your shoulder.

Slow down for a word
set under an Osage Orange tree*
Let images gather.

Wander freely
from word to word
with no map.
A poem may happen.

Plant a word.
Plough the Word Farm.
Walk the Woodbury Wordscape.


* Aka
Horse apple,
Hedge apple,
Hedge Ball,
Bois D'Arc
Osage Apple,
Mock Orange
Yellow Wood,
Palo de Arco, Ayac [Indian],
Maclura pomifera [Latin])