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  • Ann Rutherford

Stay at home - and think about art


Earlier this year I was very lucky to receive a bursary award from AN. This is to do 2 things, receive coaching from artist Luce Choules and secondly to attend the Explore conference at The Royal Geological Society in November 2020.

The visit to the Royal Geological Society may not happen, but the coaching is underway with Luce and already I feel more connected and inspired to experiment and try out ideas. One of the big ideas we have discussed is Caves. This is an environment hardly explored by artists - perhaps in Victorian times by artists such as John Martin, the Cave is an underworld, further away from heaven and nearer to hell. In fact, Satan brings chaos from a fantastic cave.

Caves can have fundamental effects on those who are not familiar with the environment and can be quite addictive to those who are. The subterranean world is one of the last places on earth hardly explored. What interests me is the idea of the cave as a deeply meaningful place of ritual and shelter for our ancestors. Caves do have a spiritual quality and this could be interpreted as being nearer to the core of being, nearer to the source of the creation of the earth. Even nearer to the darkness, our state before and after we are alive. Caves could be seen as a nurturing place that we can return to. And then of course, there is cave art.

I heard about one person who emerged from an underground cavern, blinking into the sunlight, to declare she's ‘never felt more alive’. Others are frightened by the thought of being in a small enclosed space. But only some parts of some caves are like this. The rest of the time there is caverns, wondrous and large, small and intimate followed by linking passage ways. I am looking forward to getting some sound equipment into the depths to make some soundscapes. Caves are far from silent. Often water passes below you in other passages, breezes pass through, indicating the passage ways, water drips and pools, stalactites form. Experimenting with sound recordings in the cavern and passageways should be interesting. Sounds echo and echo. Pod casting is another thing I’m going to have a go at. Just got to tie it all together to make something that’s not just for cavers!

Following online conversations with Luce I look up artists and arts organisations - some of them in Spain and

I fall into a trance of fascination, sucking in images of sunshine, poetic words, stories of change and process, and unexpected results. The idea of a residency starts to look less frightening and more of an experiment.

Some of these people I know their work and have met before, but I look at them again with fresh eyes noting how they structure their web sites, the words that they use to describe their work. I am reminded again of how isolated I feel. The need to talk over Zoom or Skype reminding you of that. I sign up to newsletters, and wonder whether I should be producing a newsletter myself.

Here’s a few artists that excited me:

Lucy Bleach

The slow seismogenic zone - core samples - sound recordings of slow earthquakes

Art Catalyst

Based in Kings Cross and moving to Sheffield - Art, Science, Technology

Laura Harrington - HAGS - beautiful lonesome drawings as isolated and desolate as being left on a moor, alone.

Henri Louis Bergson - a latent belief in the spontaneity of nature

Ludwig Berger

Listened to melting landscapes

Freezing - the glacier freezing

(While the wind boomed outside)

Limbs 2018 - branches pressed against the skull

1959 - a linear narrative in sounds - love this idea

Somewhere Nowhere

Rob and Harriet

Creative ways of seeing and making

Connections in the natural world

Journey-pause-reflect-respond-connect

Experiencing natural environments (not landscape)


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