Sunday, 24 February 2019

“Sumak Kawsay” *

 A photo diary with a few words about our walk for Terminalia.  


This walk is now recorded through knotted ropes attached to a Vara. 

It's title: ‘Sumak Kawsay’.

A Walk for Terminalia on Saturday February 23rd with Thread and Word.

For this walk I invited friends, artists, writers and poets to join me on the day of the Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography http://terminaliafestival.org

“Neighbours gather sincerely, and hold a feast, and sing your praises, sacred Terminus: you set bounds to peoples, cities, great kingdoms: without you every field would be disputed."
                                                                     From Ovid’s Festivals Book II

Seasalter, Kent.

The setting for our walk, a photo/collage of Seasalter where our walk took place. I've looked at the signage which can be seen at the top of this photo/collage so many times on the sign in Seasalter  and had missed the 'Knot' bird. Thanks to Jonathan Skinner for pointing it out. I will always keep a lookout for it now.

We discussed  some Gods:
Inti - The Inca god of the sun.

Terminus - The Roman god of boundaries - 

Pachamama - the goddess of the earth worshipped by indigenous people throughout the Andean region.

We then discussed the weaving  technique and the meaning of the weave attached to our Vara made for the walk. 

Each walker chose a rope  ( some took two) to walk with and knot as a way to record their memories as we walked. There was some discussion about the history and provenance of knots and their association with memories, reminders and meditation.


Choosing some ropes which are hand made in my studio.

We had a little ceremony to honour Mother Earth, Pachamama.

Then,  eleven of us walked the  route by the Graveney Marshes where it is proposed to build thousands of solar panels which will be the height of double decker buses.  

We walked along the path next to the sea wall .

We stopped at various intervals to read the poetry that we had brought with us.  

We reflected and discussed the site around us and the complexity of making decisions about the site and processes which might  achieve the balance between wants and responsibilities.  We also talked about wider issues of personal responsibility with regard to our environment. 

It was wonderful to walk and share ideas with the wider group and also have conversations with individual walkers in such a beautiful surrounding.

Here a list of the poems fellow walkers brought with them and shared with the group:

Susan Emm : ‘White Hare’ from The Lost Words , Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
‘Circles and Curves’ by Heather Ovenden
‘Climbing the Sky in Colours’ - poems from Wise Words for Wellbeing.

Virginia Fitch:  The Burial of the Dead from TS Eliot’s The Waste Land.

Sue McClymont  : ‘Field Women’ by Thomas Hardy

Elspeth (Billie) Penfold: ‘A breath’ from Owen Lowery’s Transition Poems https://weareunlimited.org.uk/commission/transitions/  (read by Laura Shawyer ),
 ‘inverted’ and ‘promenade’ from ‘The Art of Wa;lking’ by Sonia Overall http://www.soniaoverall.net/publications/the-art-of-walking-2/

Susan Sciama :  ‘Volcanic Paradox’ written by Susan Sciama

Jonathan Skinner : ‘ Common Yellow Throat’  written by Jonathan Skinner  https://poetsgulfcoast.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/skinnerz3.png


We then headed to the pub for lunch and reflection. 

We wrote some poetry and assembled our vara - ‘ Sumak Kawsay’, attaching our ropes and knots. 

We also wrote some individual responses to the walk included in the photograph below.

Save the date:

  You can see The Vara ‘Sumak Kawsay’  as a part of an exhibition with several of the varas representing 13 collaborative walks from the last four years.
These  have been selected as part of an
 exhibition  titled  ‘Contemporary Art and Ritual’ at the Crypt Gallery at St Pancras. 
May 16th - May 21st.

This exhibition has been curated by Deborah Burnstone and Caro Williams. 

With thanks to Anna Bowman for the fab photography  https://vimeo.com/annabowman
A huge thank you to all who came and walked and contributed to this event; Anna Bowman, Susan Emm, Virginia Fitch, Diana Lane, Sue McClymont, Julie Pickard, Susan Sciama, Laura Shawyer  Katherine Skinner, Jonathan Skinner.

 * Sumak Kawsay ( a quechua word)  “sumak kawsay promotes  ‘good living’ and interculturality…..(it) is centred in the indigenous world view, and it aims at overcoming the Western model of individuals thought and the dominant concepts of development centered in the market” , MAR√ćA FERNANDA CARTAGENA  ( Collective Situations , Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art , 1995 -2010, edited by BILL KELLEY JR. AND GRANT H. KESTER)



Thursday, 21 February 2019

A Walk for Terminalia with Thread and Word. 23/02/2019 
(for more about this walk please see previous blog postings.)

sumak kawsay’*

This photo taken at Reculver , during a walk on Wednesday.
 A Playlist

Woody Guthrie - Waiting at the Gate : youtube.com. https://binged.it/2GQ2FJQ 
Carlos Valera: Muros y Puertas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-10VQQtAnw

Nina Simone : Here Comes the Sun. https://youtu.be/NJiC6cA3dUA

Cat Stevens/Yusuf “where do the children play” 
where do the children play
(contributed by Virginia Fitch)

Happy listening!

Here a pencil weave drawing of part of our route 

* Sumak kasway (quechua) “ ‘goodliving’ and interculturality….centred in the indigenous world view ,.. it aims to overcome the Western model of individualist thought and the dominant concept of development centred in the market” Interview with Pablo Sanaguano, Maria Fernandez Cartagena

Monday, 18 February 2019

A Walk for Terminalia with Thread and Word - Some context for our walk .

This walk takes place February 23rd in Seasalter, on the Kent Coast.

http://terminaliafestival.org you can check the festival out and find us under events.

As I prepare for this walk with Thread and Word there are some  connections that I have made over the last week that have contributed to my thinking about this walk that I thought would be worth sharing.  I mostly carry these ideas around in my head and have found that writing these ideas down does clarify my thinking as I try to explain them. Although I have to admit some ideas are a leap of faith and associated with feelings you carry in your heart as you will no doubt gather if you read this.

The first has been connecting my thoughts about the solar panels proposed for the landscape in Seasalter with the  Inca deity' s  Inti, the God of the Sun, and Mama Pacha, Mother Earth . I was born in Bolivia and grew up in Lima, Peru. At school we learnt about the Incas probably in the same way as children in England learn about the Romans. So I tend to draw on this bank of knowledge using the mythic method, a method identified  by TS Eliot and James Joyce, which draws on myth from the past as a way to help us connect with the present.

Today I walked in Seasalter and thought about how important it is to feel this connection with the earth and the sun. In Peru there are no figures for Mother Earth (Mama Pacha), aside for those made to sell to tourists, as Andean people believe she can be felt in every place, at every moment and in every living being.  Where do the thousands of solar panels proposed for this site fit in to this scenario, I wonder?

Andean people still believe strongly in the importance of living in harmony with nature and not taking too much from Pachamama. How will Mother Earth change if the rays of the sun are diverted from the land and harnessed as energy ? I am not against a greener energy but as I walked I wondered how much energy do we really need? Should we reflect on our role as consumers ? Where are the boundaries to our consumption?

There are ten of us walking to celebrate Terminus, the Roman God of boundaries. We will be reading poetry, listening to music and meditatively knotting ropes. I have made the ropes for this walk by hand in my studio , they are in the photo on the right.

This practice also derives from my knowledge of the Incas and the records that they kept through a system of knotted ropes called Quipus. To this day the village members, who are trained in their roles as  Quipucamayocs in villages in the Andes, are able to read the knotted ropes that our text based society is unable to translate. Although there are theories and explanations offered by researchers and anthropologists there is still a mystery in the artefacts which I love.

We will reflect on our thoughts at the end of the walk when we attach our knotted ropes to our Vara ( Pole) . Below is the Vara I have made for this walk with a strap that I have woven on an inkle loom . The weave is symbolic of the land we will be walking around and I will explain this on the walk.

A Vara for Terminalia

This Vara (Pole) will then join the collection of 12 Varas in my studio.I have been leading walks and assembling these Varas since 2015.  Each Vara holds the ropes knotted as a record of a particular walk which I have led supported by friends, academics and artists.

I would like to thank all those who are joining me on this walk and giving their support in making the Vara contributing to an exchange of ideas, meditative knotting and poetry writing in the pub at the end. This is the first time we will take the Vara on the walk with us and then put the ropes on to the Vara together as a group. I usually take the ropes back to my studio and then assemble it there on my own. I think it will add to the ritual of the walk and am looking forward to seeing how this develops.

I am hoping that our poetry writing will be taking a leaf out of ecopoetics as described by the founder of the ecopoetics journal Dr Jonathan Skinner (Warwick University)  who will be joining us on this walk. We will be locating our poem in and through  the 'site' rather than kinds of 'writing':

"Taking writing out of the classroom, the bookstore and the library even out of the book itself shifting the focus from themes and styles to an institutional critique of green discourse itself  and to an array of practices converging on the oikos, the planet earth that is the only home our species currently knows"(1).

 I'm looking forward to seeing what we come up with.

Looking forward to celebrating Terminalia with you all on Saturday!

(1) https://jacket2.org/commentary/jonathan-skinner