Sunday, 27 September 2009

Navigation towers and bunkers

Clear skies and sharp shadows on the concrete blocks of the coastal defence installations. I saw one of the towers I've been sketching this year, in a field with some pumpkins nearby. I think it's being used for water or power and was buzzing loudly. Also a casemate with carpet lined plywood doors, a tangle of ropes and a whole heap of tyres - dark and damp. One defence structure has a refurbished shell shrine in it, statues, music and green lights - photos to follow.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Jersey bus timetable

Apart from losing my phone, I've been rounding off the travel arrangements for the research trip - 6 flights in total, all in tiny prop planes in which you can sit in the back and almost touch the pilot on the shoulder to offer him/her a mint. I think I've missed the boat so to speak in getting a Jersey bus timetable and a Guernsey Perry's Guide before departure. The trip makes me think of the whole journey as container for this research period. My thinking threads seem to trail through many distinct places and to physically take me to quite some destinations, albeit fairly close to home at this point. This map of Thomas Browne's environment, once he'd settled in Norfolk, captures this idea. It's from a leaflet about Browne in St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich, where (most of) Browne is buried. I cannot remember if his skull came back or not, it does tell you in the leaflet. Just checked, and it was re-interred in 1922 aged 317 years. The translation of the latin skull memorial begins, "O noble head lie safe in Peter's keeping,"
I might have an old bus timetable.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Arabesque & Honeycomb

I'm re-reading 'Arabesque & Honeycomb' at the moment by Sacheverell Sitwell, another mid 20th century (1957) travelogue of Iran and thereabouts. Naturally, some comparisons to "the Road to Oxiana". He talks disparagingly of Shirazi gardens visited but is more complementary of past Persian gardens, ," water-filled canals, orchards and cypress were the mainstay, and the favourite flower the rose". There's a lovely image of Seljuq Shahs giving audience next to fountains filled with floating red apples, "under a plane tree encased in silver, an image beautiful in itself as poetry."

Chatted to a friend just back from Damascus and Beirut yesterday, then read Mr Sitwell's account of his Damascene journey - somewhat different.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I've now met with the Garden of Cyrus photographer again, Pete, and we've finalised the photos for the DVD and leaflet. Pete's studio smelt a little of the dark room at Pemberton Rd, which was a strange transportation back in time. This image isn't one of Pete's. The writing (from Urne Burial) was part of Simon Raven's performance at the event, linking neatly to the "An Invisible Sun" show I curated in 2008.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Reviewed the publicity text for the 'Channel' show, which made me ponder further the implied position (as in role) of the viewer within the photographs. I had thought that the ambiguity of the framing structure within the image might suggest a more voyeuristic and passive but less aggressive or defensive perspective. Not sure.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

WWII - 1940 invasion of the Channel Islands

Lots in the news on the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland and it remains an emotive subject. I thought about the German invasion of the Channel Islands on June the 30th 1940 and the bombing of the Guernsey St Peter Port pier whilst my Grandpa, a stevedore, was among many working there.
In the photograph you can see the big boat cranes behind the bomb smoke - are they the same ones I snapped in the 1970's and still like to photograph now?

Persian textile pattern detail on House.