Thursday, 25 March 2010

Writing exercise: Rachel, This Year in minutes...

apologies for the delay. may have slightly misplaced my writings, but I discovered them like a lost treasure and now you get the pleasure of experiencing them! yaaaaay!

4 minutes
"This year I've been pretty much the opposite of what I resolved to be - not that I'm not happy - at the moment I love the way I live - it's not healthy and clearly it's detrimental to my work - but my marks haven't noticeably changed. Which is somewhat depressing. Apparently the amount of effort I put [sic] doesn't actually have any impact on end [sic] product - my grades are too similar to warrant the month's work I put in. This year, one resolution I'm making now - having made it half arsedly many times before - this time it's official - despite being 2 months and 7 days late, I'm going to get more sleep. I need to be able to concentrate more, my skin's better if I sleep properly - my body can't really make it more obv"

2 minutes
"This year I've been somewhat detached from reality - I've been at uni - the obvious bubble - and I've been so busy I've barely spoken to my parents, in fact I need to call my dad today. But it means I don't think about the lovely house that's not my home - that we're leaving on friday - after I changed my 'home address' details a year a go [sic] - I've only lived in that house a total of a month. To Dorset"

1 minute
"This year I've been mostly eating baked beans. That's just a lie. I hate baked beans. I have to always make a multitude of BREAKFAST BAPS (£1.90) unbelievably early on a wednesday morning."

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A tower of memories

I saw this short film and thought it was really relevant to that concept of building a tower of memories. I like the wall of photos, reminds me of Up, which I suppose is also about holding onto memories.

Also, it's just a bit beautiful.

In my dream after seeing this I was trying to capture/ take hold of my stream of consciousness; everything I thought of I tried to hold in an image. Then through my dream/sleep I was carrying a string of images which sometimes seemed like a wobbly tower and sometimes like a row of washing all tied together,and I kept trying to reflect,look back,make sure I still had all the memories. It was a kind of anxious recollection, as if I knew I wouldn't remember-like trying to say my lines when I definitely haven't leart them. I could never really see what the images were, and though I thought I'd collected all my thoughts, when I woke up I remembered nothing...apart from this.

Monday, 8 March 2010

group writing exercise: Louise

...brace yourself, my mind is riveting...

4 minutes

The last ten years I have grown up. Not only in size but also in mind. Ten years is a long time. Wow. What has happened. Well ten years ago I was a little girl, not that little. Eleven, ten years ago I was eleven. I'm old. I wasn't the same person. I was a massive nerd who found it hard to make friends. But then I made some friends and things changed. I don't like writing about ten years ago.

2 minutes

The last ten years have happened. one. two. three. four. five. six. seven. eight. nine. ten.imagine those numbers are a whole year long. That's ten years. I was alive ten years ago. Were you? Well you all were because you're older than ten, but some people aren't. They are small. They have little hands and feet and have to stand on tiptoes to brush their teeth. I remember doing that. Mum gave us a red box...

1 minute

The last ten years are just ten years in many many more years. years. 365 days. lots of hours 24 in fact in one day.60 mins. shutup this is obvious. nervous laughter. yes because when you read that will happen. anyway.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

group writing exercise: Ed

We were lucky to have Ed Atrill to join us for the group writing exercise. Here are his responses:

Attempt 1: 4 Minutes

Take not by that end the other one there you go like that you act as if you never held one before

What is it exactly

It is a universal debris trapper and transporter with a beach wood shaft stainless steel radials and plastic hand grip.

You mean a rake?

Yes but you asked me what it is exactly and I told you exactly what it is

Right so what do I do with this rake...thing

You see those piles of leaves. I want you to sweep them up into an even carpet that covers all the grass.

Attempt 2: 2

Take this. Or that. It doesn't really matter to me you see either way you'll have to choose something but which one. I can see you're still undecided your eyes frantically sloshing from one choice to the other. So many feelings to consider - size, depth, breadth, price, tax, transparency, consistency

Attempt 3: 1 Minute

Take this...go on, you no you want to. its all shiny and i'm pretty sure its got chocolate in it somewhere, probably in the middle of it, yes thats usually where the chocolate lives.

group writing exercise: Ben

We did a writing workshop this Sunday using group writing techniques. Each cast member was given a few words to begin with (such as "I've collected", "take this" and "this year I.."). Everyone had to write for 4 minutes without stopping. We'd all read them out. Then we repeated the exercise with a duration of 2 minutes, and again with 1 minute. We'll publish all the results on this blog. Here are mine.

Attempt 1: 4 Minutes
Tall buildings I walked past one day the sun shines of glass windows a lady in a window watering a flower pot she sees me briefly for a second and then looks away twitching curtains an eye through a hole camera shot snap instant 60th second recorded moment photos of a tree taken every month for ten years you watch it grow little blur beside one picture girl running skipping rope jump over playground noises and roundabouts here we go round the mulberry bush dinner bell woman in blue tabbard waves me in a snapshot of a blue school I jumped off that roof there once. We drank fink brau and made promises we'd never keep but it was

Attempt 2: 2 Minutes
Tall buildings with windows that I look through, secretly. 6x4 windows like photographs. A building built of photographs. All the things i've seen. All lights, all lives. Towerblock. Hi-rise. A building of all the things i've experienced. Except all the things i've really experienced. They hide in little drawers out of sight.

Attempt 3: 1 Minute
Tall buildings made of photographs. Windows like little portals. I see myself again and again. Too many. I don't want to go's too tall. I pre

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

A Link or 3...

...Which you may find interesting towards the then and now concept, zefrank does a competition on his website in which he gets people to recreate poses of childhood photo's. See it here.

As well, for one week more on iplayer as part of a series, a series on Radio 4 about letters from young kids in the 60's as a part of an experiment being looked at by them now. Here's the link, and below is the blurb:

Forty years ago, 14,000 11-year-olds across Britain were asked to write about where they saw themselves in the future: their jobs, family lives, belongings, living environments and leisure pursuits. Those essays have now been followed up by the Nuffield Foundation as a way of finding out how far ambition at an early age shapes what happens in later life.

This is the first time that media access has been granted to those who have taken part in their research. As well as evidence of ambition the essays offer detail about how youngsters imagined life would be at 25, with one writing, 'My husband would have just won 200 pounds so we decided to go to the moon for our holiday while we had not got any children.'

The series covers jobs, family lives, living environments, leisure pursuits and belongings that the children imagined owning when first studied. The findings suggest that children who are ambitious go on to enjoy greater success than those with lower aspirations. Once background and ability were accounted for, children did better if they set themselves lofty goals.

It reveals that, even if a child is economically disadvantaged or less able, having high ambitions at around the time they leave primary school means that they are significantly more likely to have a professional job, though not necessarily the one that they predicted.
Broadcast on:
BBC Radio 4, 9:30am Tuesday 2nd March 2010
Finally along the same lines, check out this flicker page of photos from the past compared to the buildings now, which is here

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Augmented Reality

Have a look at this video from TED 2010. If we're thinking about how we experience space, I think augmented reality has to come into the equation. With this technology you can hold the world in your hands. It is not a static map, it is live and changing.

How does this affect the way we experience place? What benefits can this technology have? More importantly, what does it not include? If this is the way we record the change and evolution of place, does it perhaps spark a question about what gets left out? It sounds a bit like History with a capital 'H' . Will this technology conform to a particular narrative, or will the personalised content allow the action of mapping space to become a cumulative act: a space where both official and unofficial experiences of the same space get expressed?

This video reminds me of That The Science of Cartography is Limited by Eavan Boland (which you can read about in this earlier post) and Graeme Miller's

Lit Windows

This poem is from Glyn Maxwell's latest collection Hide Now:

Lit Windows

When I go home again,
when I know so many homes, but I mean the home
with the longest vowel, when I wander the old realm,
I pass them on the lane,
boys turned to men,

so I turn back to a boy
to pass them saying nothing. For it's death
to be where one is not, where every breath
is a heaving of the oars
alone at sea.

I could grow white and old
and I will, I am well aware, grow white and old
looking through lit windows of the world
for people in their rooms;
for the blue, cold

light of a TV on
in an empty room . . . girl at a light so bright
she's silhouette . . . a man who hangs his coat
and stands quite still . . . a mother
agrees with someone

over cake . . . the frosted light
of suppertime, of bathtime, of sex.
I don't have what I have from reading books
but stopping by your homes
to see these sights

and wondering forever
who is someone else? Who on earth
are all these people to have known this with,
this world? Whole skies of stars
are a lesser wonder

than all your lights at evening,
all your lives. When the lights go out I'm there,
moving on. When it's dark the stars are clear,
their immaterial eyes
believing, disbelieving.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

A little clarity...

So I was trying to clarify to myself the main thrust of this project. What is it about?
It started off around Christmas time with me trying to comprehend the decade. There were loads of articles about the "Top 10 X's of the Decade". I was trying to think how we experienced this country from 2000-2010.
I think the work that has come from that is a way of finding a microcosm to that idea. How do we experience space temporally? How do we define it, how do we pack it? Why do we need markers like 'a decade' to make sense of ourselves?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

A Trip #2

Make a better trip, find better memories.
A soundtrack helps. Pretend you're in a film.

I went to Roath Park Lake. I walked around here as a kid with my parents. I remember:
  • A photo of me in a green, black and purple all-in-one
  • Feeding the geese
  • Kissing Rachael on a park Bench: "Do you know that geese find a mate for life?"
  • A steep side leading down to a play park
  • A lighthouse
  • Boat rides
  • Cherie's Dog
  • An intersecting bridge, looking over the lake on one side, and the play park on the other.
Prepared. Observant. Waiting for the coup de grace. Waiting for the climactic film shot with a long zoom in and a slow fade out.
Prepare the soundtrack. Make the film momentous. Sigur Ros: Glósóli.

At the roundabout near the north-west most point of the park I see a small green dark path. I press play and head for
it immediately (nearly getting run over in the process!) Create a narrative, follow the film.

Things seemed to happen in sync with the music. Feet walked to the drumbeat, birds flew away to the precise timing of a violin interlude. This was a good film.

So where to film my climactic moment? I headed towards the bridge that overlooked the play park, the river and the lighthouse. I decided I would roll a cigarette and sit on a bench there. A great place to ponder the project. to recall ghosts. To reconcile my younger self.

The song was ending. The cigarette was wonky. When I got to the gate, it was closed. I could just about see the bench, but
I couldn't reach it. The epiphany moment wasn't to happen. Rather fitting, actually. So my souvenir is my unsmoked cigarette, which sums up nicely the failure in an attempt to connect with a memory of myself. Not so slow fade.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

An illusion of tomorrow

This Pirandello quote is a nice way to frame the letter writing exercise:

"I’m only asking you to try and find out if you really see yourself now in the same way that you saw yourself in the past, with all the illusions you had then, with everything inside and outside yourself as it seemed then – and not only seemed, but really was! Well then look back on those allusions, those ideas that you don’t have any more, on all those things that no longer seem the same to you. Don’t you feel that not only this stage is falling away from under your feet but so is the earth itself, and that all these realities of today are going to seem tomorrow as if they had been an illusion? I only want to make you see that if we have no other reality outside our own illusion, perhaps you ought to distrust your own sense of reality, whatever you touch and believe in and that seems real for you today, is going to be – like the reality of yesterday – an illusion tomorrow."

Friday, 22 January 2010

Shit Souvenir

We stayed too long, they were closing the gates. I had to make a dash for the gift shop. Supermarket Sweep.
I have a strange love of souvenir gift shops. In the Tate Modern you can buy a miniature model...of the Tate Modern. You can hold it in your hand. "look, I went here, the Tate Modern. Here, hold it in your hand".

"To collect photographs is to collect the world...miniatures of reality that anyone can acquire"
-Susan Sontag

There was, sadly, no model of this place. I roamed around looking for anything that stood out. I ended up buying a 'heroic Knight's Dirk' from a collection of 'British Made Role Play Toys' made by Tyme Again LTD - a company that, according to their website sell 'make believe and historic adventures'.

Shit souvenir. Make another trip, find better memories.

A trip #1

Plan a trip. Follow Old Steps. Much bigger now of course. The feet in the shoes from the old step step step
Step out of the car to

Croeso I Sain Ffagan amgueddfa Werin Cymru

The Museum of Welsh Life: a regular sunday walk. I remember hating it. Missing the TV, the inside air. Today is cold and fresh.

I never realised the peculiarity of this place: old houses, dug up and transported. Here. A village of stolen houses. From different times. Strange photo album. A church from St. Teilo's, and here, a windmill from Ryd-Y-Car. Here are 5 houses from Merthyr Tydfill: 1890's, 1930's, 1960's, 1980's. All on one street. Terraced housing: gardens next to eachother, weeds overlapping.

Not what I expected. No mourning, no ghosts. Just curiosity. A culture I just sort of...bypassed. Words I can't get my tongue round. Strange little town, recycled houses.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Writing a letter to myself... but not myself. Who knows what I'll be like in 10 years time? I sure as hell don't. I don't even have a clue what I'll be doing in 3 years. I quite like that. Right now I feel like I will be exactly the same, because I don't really see what I would change. Maybe lose some weight. Maybe smoke less, work more and of course stay in touch with everyone. But I also know that's definitely not going to be the case. I'll know so many new people by then. I'll have lost contact with some of the people I see the most now. Essentially my entire world will be different. So of course I'll be different. I'll still be me, I'll just be dealing with those new circumstances. So I may be completely different, but be the same person.
Is that actually possible?
Well it has to be, otherwise there would be far too many people to deal with in life. Facebook would be ridiculous.
If I read a diary I kept when I was younger I find it completely mortifying. I utterly disgust myself. Which is why I don't read them. That's the difference between this letter and a diary, a diary is literally just being written for the sake of it, it's theraputic, it's arty, it's just good to vent. It's not written for anyone. Not even me later. This letter was for me later, but writing it I knew I'd probably find my 20 year old self somewhat heinous. Or maybe I've peaked. Maybe this is me. I feel like me. 14-year-old-diary-writing-me didn't feel so much like me. Maybe 30 year old Rachel will read that letter and be proud of 20 year old Rachel. Remember 20 year old Rachel. Maybe even like her!
Have to wait and see...

Monday, 18 January 2010

Deep Mapping

Searching through my email's today I found an old image I made from my last project 'You Were A Giant Once' in response to a deep-mapping exercise from Dolores Wilber. I'm not sure I like the image that much, its a bit too brazen. But hey-ho.