I do enjoy digging in the ground, it appeals to my methodical side and also allows for time for all sorts of reveries. One of the appealing things about digging at this time of year is how quickly the birds get involved. Not good pix, but birds are already taming to the spade – splendid ‘entanglements’.

While the purpose here is obviously bringing a new bit of land into production I’ve also been deep digging to extract some clay to play with. This, and the sorting out of the boulders in the ground and the masses of bits of broken pot and old bottles etc seems to resonate with the recent readings we’ve been doing for the seminar programme – Hodder and Heidegger etc. and as Mr Ingold may say, it really feels as if the ‘earth is earthing’ while I amass my own little ‘standing reserve’ – digging naturally being punctuated by trips to rake out the charcoal pit where the collection of winter deadwood is being ‘enframed’. How satisfying it feels to have the physical and philosophical in tandem like this!

A day that kept on giving though, as if the above was not delightful enough….. this evening while doing a bit more ‘materiality’ oriented art research, I came upon this – WOW!


Art Research

Back to a foundation sketchbook.

Some new pointers from tutorial discussions to follow up

1.We Form Geology (2012-13)

2.Physical Geology (2008-9)

1. ‘Ripple-Marked Radience (After Hertha Ayrton)’ 2019

2. Keepsafe (I) 2019. Keepsafe (II) of the pair pictured in installation shot 3.

3. Core Values

4. Ghostly

1. Nigredo Laid To Waste (1992)

2. As Above So Below (1992)

3. Flammable Solid- Flammable Liquid.(1994)

4. Mossers, Rebels and Wolves. (2000)


Inspiring range of practices in terms of materials and processes.  With Donna Haraway’s ‘Staying With The Trouble’ in mind…. Papova tapestries = particularly interesting and appeal to my interest in the  haptic aspect of textile work and possibly the gendered ones too? Stimulates thoughts of possible developmental work in textiles. artists’ practices in this context are enviro-ecologically motivated in quite a political way. I am also interested in a sort of spiritual perspective too – the Laniakea sort of notion from Tom Chi perhaps?”…. Evoking a spiritual materiality – is that an oxymoron? I suppose I mean finding ways to articulate the sense of awe and wonder – the joy – of ‘being stuff’ (nature) rather than purely anthropocentrically cultural. Here back to thinking about Latour and his arguments against simple binaries like this.

Shared with RW, in tutorial, the sense of pure green-eyed-monster envy that Onwin’s practice raises in terms of working at scale in such inspiring locations – ‘As Above, So’ Below’ project going onto my jealousy list along with Penone’s massive bronze and gold trees, Eliasson’s Turbine Hall Sun installation and the whole of Little Sparta. Aspirations to make work at scale even more squashed by this lockdown and lack of space to make anything very much at all!

Of Halperin, noted how much I enjoyed her sound installation at Glasgow (GOMA –  CIA trip last Autumn) and that the geologic/personal unity of  ‘The Eldfell Birthday Event’ work resonates with me quite deeply. Something about how different ‘timescales’ interplay ….


Following -up some of the mind-mapping in the sketchbook has opened up new reading avenues and we have a list of texts for close reading to prepare for a forthcoming seminar programme. This keeps the mind busy though the body, in truth, is most happy at present being outside doing the allotment. PEAS and BEANS are ‘in’ though under protection and more tender things are migrating to the poly tunnel or the new cold frame we’ve built, leaving window sills for the second round of germinations.

Bennett,J. (2010)”Vibrant Matter: The political Ecology of Things” London, Durham. The Duke University Press.

Murdoch Mills, C. (2009) ‘Materiality as the Basis for the Aesthetic Experience in Contemporary Art.’  ScholarWorks, Universtiy of Montana.

Ingold, T. (2012) ‘Toward an Ecology of Materials’. Annual Review of Anthropology, 2012, Vol.41 (2012) pp427-442

Hodder, I. (2012) Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships Between Humans and Things. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Margulis, L. 1998. Symbiotic Planet. A New Look at Evolution, New York, Basic Books

Cohen, J.J. Ed & Duckert, L. Ed. (2015 ) Elemental Ecocriticism. Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press.

Irigaray, L. , Marder, M.   (2014) Through Vegetal Being Columbia. Columbia University Press.

Jane Bennett lecture  Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter(2011)

Jane Bennett lecture Material and Visual Worlds

Gregory B Sadler  Philosophical Reading of Heidegger with ……  – The Question of Technology Pt1 and Pt2


Exploration of the practice themes with ‘movement’ came up from crit and assessment in the last module and thoughts have turned to this relating to the gathered materials collage – life materials that are brute materiality of geology’s external world contrasted with softer materiality of inner worlds of biology’s living things (Ellsworth & Kruse). It harks back to the ideas at the beginning of the Gnosis Project and the contrasts between ‘fluid’ and ‘crystalline’ mark making experiments that were realised in the prints. Somehow these ideas fused into a really enjoyable session of photographic experimentation using my new toy – an endoscope! The idea was simply to mingle the soft, hard, liquid, mineral, materialities of the things in the materials collection. Some rather pleasing, uncanny and eerie results I think….

Then playing with different camera effects..