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.