This weekend I’ve been at Snape Maltings aka Aldeburgh Music for ‘Place‘, described as an enquiry into the cultural meanings of water. It appealed to me due to my love of open water swimming, inland waterways and generally getting wet. I wasn’t entirely sure what the nature of this enquiry would be but it was a mix of art, performance, films and readings. The highlights for me were:
Robert MacFarlane: On Roger Deakin; Robert knew Roger in the last few years of his life. It was good to hear a little more about Roger’s life and their shared experiences. I am re-reading Waterlog and looking forward to reading his other books and will hunt out Robert’s The Wild Places - readers of my twitter account will be proud of me for not buying a further mountain of books, but my wish list has grown considerably!
David Rothernburgh: Whale Music & Writing on Water; David was a replacement when other performers had to pull out and when he bounced to the podium like Tigger crossed with Paddington Bear I was not sure what to expect. He plays his clarinet to whales and they sing back. It was stunning, I was totally enthralled, he had also created a pair of films; underlying the film was the story of a man who has lost everything, his wife, children, possessions and sled through the ice (I wish I’d written down the reference).
Jay Griffiths: Telling the Sea; this really was narrative writing performed in a way which was lyrical and engaging. I took very few notes as I was wrapped up in listening to her use of language, it was beautiful and of all the pieces in the weekend probably the one that gave you the greatest feeling of being in water. Her book Wild is definitely on my wish list.
Olivia Chaney: Water Songs; the second replacement act, beautiful singing, haunting and plenty of drowning.
I would love to explain the evening performance of Swandown to you, but you really have to experience and decide that for yourself! [If you are an arts sceptic who wants to know 'can people really get funding for this stuff?' it could be a place to start, the audience were distinctly divided]
Today started with a showing of Derek Jarman’s ‘The Garden’, sadly the DVD playing was a bit mucked up and there were frequent restarts. The whole film is distinctly disturbing anyway, I’m glad I’ve finally seen it but will be happy to leave it there.
Manu Luksch: Kayak Libre; this was a delight. Manu carried out a project where she provided a Kayak taxi, with the fare being a conversation, which she captured. A great use of technology combined with the calm induced by travelling at low speed in water below the hight of the normal carriageway.
Simon Read: Seamarks; huge maps, hand drawn that interpret the rising of the waters and their potential impacts on the land. This work is both beautiful and informative, the detail aids understanding and creating the pieces helps Simon to question the landscape and imagine what will happened if various defences are breached.
So thank you to Aldeburgh Music and to Gareth Evans who curated the weekend. Also huge thanks to Linda @goodshoeday for light relief in the interval and the lovely cards, hot from her Letterpress Lab.