Friday, 23 December 2011

tilting@windmills - artist's book

tilting@windmills (2010) limited edition artist's book, 131 pages, 180 x 126 mm, print run 100 copies. Printed on recycled paper (100% post-consumer waste) with vegetable-based inks by Cambrian Printers, Aberystwyth. Self-published with some sponsorship from Caplor Energy.

A few copies are still available for sale £10 plus P&P. Please email me hedgesprite AT googlemail DOT com if you would like to purchase a copy.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Falling out of the sky.... or the morals of art in a changing climate

Incredibly to me - ever naiive about the baffling passage of time - it's 7 months since I walked between the wind farms of mid-Wales, talking to and recording the people I encountered en route about their perspectives on changing landscape in a changing climate...a film, a book, a dissertation, an MA graduation, two terms of teaching later and last Saturday I returned to Bryn Titli windfarm between Rhayader and Llangurig.

This time I'm in the company of Sara Penrhyn Jones - my friend and film-making collaborator - and journalist Marsha O'Mahony to do a radio interview for BBC Wales about the experience of the walk, the making of the film and what we hope(d) to achieve.

Even through my typically British self-effacing reluctance to acknowledge my own work, I do sense there is something very important in what we've done but I've been woefully poor at disseminating this - life and winter having overtaken me in the meantime - but I am slowly returning to it now with what I hope will become spring-like zeal.

It is weird and wonderful to be back here....especially with Sara who first experienced this landscape through my rough Flip camera footage (though the immediacy of it impressed her enough for us to use a lot of it in the resulting film too) and also to be talking about her experiences in the meantime, filming at Cop 16 in Cancun, hearing (to us baffling, inconceivable) stories from the Maldives and other Pacific countries under immediate threat from climate change, in one case drinking water supplies limited to days few enough that they can be counted on human digits... [20 if this tangled allusion is too cryptic!]

Red kites circle overhead as I watch in bewildered awe as Sara talks with absolute fluid articulacy and vehemence about this and the utter disconnection between this bleak reality and our own awareness and actions - or lack of - to tackle climate change. I'm scared to misquote or weakly paraphrase such impassioned and articulate thought but I want to say she talks about how there is an immorality in an age of climate change to be an artist and yet not to use art as a novel and ultimately more persuasive means to bring these issues to the forefront of a public conciousness saturated by media jargon about climate change with increasingly little awareness of its reality... As always I am inspired and utterly grateful for this collaboration...

Later and with a visceral thrill I stand underneath a wind turbine again and look up at the blades, frightening myself again with the illusion that they are about to slice down on us. Like lying on my back on our vast lawn as a child and feeling like I was falling out of the sky. It's a perspective that, wordlessly, always gave me an immediate sense of the planet, its roundness, its vastness, the infinity of space and minuteness of our lives. Minute as we may be however, I still feel passionate that our contribution to collective consciousness and redressing the balance of lost connection - between our actions and the global environment - can be just as valid, significant and vital.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The sound of silent summer

I've been thinking through my legs & ears on this trip...the walking & the sound recording making me as much aware of the contours of the aural landscape as the visual one (which tends to dominate for me). The brush & swish of walking through rushes & grasses, the brush & swish & sometimes beat of turbine blades, my shod feet crunching over stones, streams & rivers, drips, the incessant shove of the wind, but layered onto or behind all this the hum, buzz & grate of insects, the bird song & sharp calls, animal cries.

So there's a paragraph in Mark Lynas's Six Degrees that disturbs me greatly & somehow makes sense of this trip for me... It's in chapter 2 oC (pp 95-96) with 'only' two degrees of warming (a level George Monbiot's Heat suggests we may already be committed to) is a response to Chris Thomas's 2004 Nature paper which revealed that, according to their models, over a third of all species would be committed to extinction by the time global temps reach 2oC including a quarter of European birds (red kite, starling 'near the top of the list'). Lynas writes:

'Consider the thought that living species, which have evolved on this planet over millions of years, could be destroyed for ever in the space of one human generation; that life, in all its fascinating exuberance, can be erased so quickly, and with such leaden finality. As the biologist Edward O. Wilson has suggested, the next century could be an 'Age of Loneliness', when humanity finds itself nearly alone on a devastated planet. In tribute to Rachel Carson, I call this our Silent Summer - a never-ending heatwave, devoid of birdsong, insect hum, and all the weird and wonderful noises that subconsciously keep us company.'

What on earth is that crashing loss set against the relatively insignificant presence of wind turbines in an already changing landscape?