Life is a Journey

Josie Gould


07768736323 www.josiegould@yahoo.com

Life is a Journey not a Destination:
In the spirit of the mystery, the Mystery of Spirit,
to live is to live as variously as possible,
to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred,
climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours,
life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. but, what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

Author unknown.
Title by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 

Life is a Journey

 

Introduction:

In a world of constant change and uncertainty, where there is no fixed narrative or self to find, how can we know who we are and what our place in the world is? My art practice is an ongoing exploration into what it is to be displaced, floating in the space between many worlds. My experiences of this as an adopted person are of loss, absence, dislocation and vertigo however paradoxically also of connection, fluidity, adventure and freedom.

Modern quantum physics, (Havleka and May) Vipassana meditation (Goenka) and the philosopher Spinoza (Bennett 2010:117-9) agree that the universe is on a journey in which “unformed elements and materials dance...” in “vortices and spirals that shift, eddy and erode.“ We are all affected by a changing natural and social world, forces beyond our control which invisibly affect us as physical sensations, feelings, memories and stories. My work explores how nature and culture continually affect us by examining the intangible qualities of change found occurring in the mundane and everyday in a variety of places and spaces. I spend time where nature and the man-made interact using embodied intuition to observe, photograph and video chance occurrences. Exploratory processes and in-depth reflection on the recorded work often reveal strange illogical connections between the lyrical and the abject. Examining the affect of phenomena and the memories they recall, hints at the mystical and new perspectives on our possible place in the world.

 

Displacement:

My research explores the upcoming displacement of a traditional dairy farm in East Devon in order to create the first new town to be built in Devon since the Middle Ages.  Tillhouse, my Uncle and cousins’ farm where my family lived until I was 16, is to be developed into the new town Cranbrook. This will bring 5000 new homes and the possibility of communities and growth yet also involve displacement, chaos and disruption for the land, family and community.

 

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Fig.1 Tillhouse Farm, Broadclyst

 

 

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Fig.2 Tillhouse Farm, Broadclyst. Aerial view.

 

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Fig.3 Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Plan.

 

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Fig.4 Cranbrook, future development.

 

Like the history of the land, personal history for the displaced is often fragmentary and elusive with shifting narratives, self-development often meaning tracing ones history, even though inevitably there is no true, fixed narrative or self to find. Hence instead my investigation is into the nature/nurture balance, the impact of the social/cultural realm and relationships between people and places in the present. I therefore begin by researching Heidegger’s ethical approach which studies the ways we subjectively experience the world. Heidegger (1962: 80) called this experience of “Being-in-the-World,” “Dasein”, meaning being in embodied relationship with the world and the process of “Dwelling,“ (ibid 1980:1) an embodied approach to finding our place in the world.

 

Embodied Affect:

Most of us probably understand our bodies to be enclosed, personal and private. However it has been suggested (Weiss 1999:5) that our sense of Self, our thought patterns and physical embodiment may be co-created through the way we continually interact with other human and non-human bodies, how we affect each other. Therefore my interest is in affect, first defined in the 17th century by Spinoza. Spinoza (in Schmitter: 2010) suggested that whatever unconsciously affects us leaves an intangible, felt, confused memory indelibly carried within our mind and body. An example of affect is when we say something e,g, a picture, action or phenomena strikes us (Dewey 2005:51) and we notice physical sensations, odd feelings and confused thoughts before we have any understanding of the experience. For instance when we enter a particular place e.g a roomful of people, and experience an unsettling atmosphere. Affective information could be important (Brennan:2004:155) because just as being overwhelmed with emotions can swamp and disorient us so intangible, seemingly invisible affects can similarly confuse, demoralize and sap energy. Spinoza (Nadler: 2011) thought this negativity and passivity would inevitably result if we didn’t understand that everything is interdependent, determined by universal laws, systems of cause and effect.

This raises the question of how to understand these universal laws and free oneself from subtly negative affects? Spinoza suggested that “intuitive knowledge“ of universal laws, which explain why everything naturally is the way it is, could weaken the negative impact of these externally induced emotions. Awareness of how we are unconsciously affected by the world through daily intangible, confusing feelings could help bring freedom from our automatic responses. Accordingly if external influences are free of negative impact then their subtly affecting qualities could instead stimulate, motivate and enliven the imagination. Could body awareness therefore enable us to tap into this intuitive knowledge and become conscious of the intangible influences and universal laws acting upon us?

Spinoza (Nadler 2011) proposed that we consider the way our bodies act and feel as a matter of simple “lines [and] planes.“ The transmission of affect between bodies, (Brennan 2004:3/5, Deleuze 1988:xvi) could therefore be understood as connections and exchanges of bodily sensations and feelings interweaving impersonally in an interactive field of differing qualities and intensities. Professor of Humanities, Teresa Brennan (2004:140) moreover suggested more recently that the senses and informational channels of the flesh… are intelligent, aware and struggling either to subdue or communicate with a slower, thicker person who calls itself I.

Therefore, it may be possible (Deleuze 1986:102) that the senses, by communicating in a uniquely pure, direct way might reveal our conditioned responses to life whilst paradoxically opening us to new perspectives. These affects, as sensations, signs and messages felt in our bodies, could therefore be seen as invitations, opportunities for us to question what that experience was and how we responded to it. This suggests that rather than analysing what we think about people, places and things, awareness of subtle, embodied sensations and feelings might reveal intangible qualities subtly affecting who we are.

 

Affective Awareness:

My arts process therefore required plenty of patience to notice how being on the farm and it’s impending loss affected me. Even though I haven’t lived at Tillhouse for 40 years and can’t remember the field names, responses to the farm are still ingrained in me. Paradoxically then my “journey“ is a disciplined practice involving spending hours at Tillhouse strolling about or sitting, simply noticing what materials and things personally affect, touch and move me.

Roland Barthes (2000:27) in examining old photographs noticed that by pure chance tiny details of some images affected him, jolting his feelings awake. He called this way in which memories can enter and affect our present awareness, “the punctum… that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me.“ Barthes practise of noticing which details affected him could be applied to noticing those on the farm which affected me. I therefore kept my awareness open for the smallest, subtlest changes around me that by chance caught my attention. In particular anything that caused vague physical sensations; tensions, tingles and odd thoughts and feelings, fears or delights. I then used a small photography/video camera on a tripod to record these changing materials and a journal to record my feeling responses.

This meditative process requires an inner stillness, keeping a wide, softly focused bodily awareness open to the smallest changing rhythms and patterns occurring in light and material. Whilst noticing qualities ranging from barely present to the most intense including the subtle and ephemeral in-between. Bill Viola’s work (in Danvers: 2012:178) similarly uses a gentle, sensory overview, a field perception he suggests is “based on a passive, receptive position, as in the way we perceive sound, rather than an aggressive, fragmented one.” This view is underpinned by Buddhist practice and principles of acceptance and mutually arising universality.

My creative process similarly applies a Vipassana meditation practice to being in the world. Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is an ancient meditation technique from India discovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago. Vipassana involves self-observation, direct experience and awareness of the deep connection between physical sensations and mental conditioning. Gently, fully accepting whatever bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts and meanings arise and pass in the moment, allows the past, present and future to be as it is. This journey to the common root of inter-connectedness can result in transformation, being full of love and compassion for oneself and others. As Vipassana Teacher S.N. Goenka says in The Art of Living;

The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterized by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace.

A ten day training in Vipassana teaches the meditator to have a calm mind, softly focused on the natural reality of the ever changing flow of breath and able to observe sensations throughout the body, understand their nature and develop equanimity by learning not to react to them. S.N.Goenka explains further;

Negativity starts deep in the unconscious mind and by the time it reaches the conscious level it has gained so much strength that it overwhelms us, and we cannot observe it… However… whenever any impurity arises in the mind, physically two things start happening simultaneously. One is that the breath loses its normal rhythm. We start breathing harder whenever negativity comes into the mind. This is easy to observe. At a subtler level, a biochemical reaction starts in the body, resulting in some sensation. Every impurity will generate some sensation or the other within the body. This presents a practical solution. An ordinary person cannot observe… abstract fear, anger or passion. But… it is very easy to observe respiration and body sensations, both of which are directly related to mental defilements… Whenever negativity arises in the mind, just observe it, face it.

As soon as you start to observe a mental impurity, it begins to lose its strength and slowly withers away.

Therefore however being in the world affects us, whatever sensations, thoughts or feelings arise, whether seemingly negative or positive, whether from fear or desire, freedom from our automatic responses and patterns is always possible.

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Fig.5 “Anthem”

Although the Vipassana process is taught for inner-observation I am applying it here to being in the world, a meditative arts process observing how materials and places affect me. Initially I spent time in the most familiar area of the farm, the very old wooden stables. My senses were aroused by the warm familiar smell of the hay bales which stirred up memories of playing in the stable loft on winter days when as children we were sent out to get fresh air. As I sat quietly my skin tingled in the warm sun, with all my senses enveloped by a peaceful glow I noticed the light catching the stirred up dust of a hay bale. Juxtaposing this out of focus dust pattern with the crack between the wall and wooden door behind it, this photograph combined my heartbroken feelings about the impending loss of this special place with a warmth, joy and appreciation of past memories of sunshine filled days.

 

Sense Memory Space:

According to Heidegger’s understanding of “Dwelling,” an embodied experience might be less a purely personal expression of common memories and more an enactment of actual lived experience of being in the world. Bennett (2005:27) calls this experience of social, cultural events and patterns affecting our bodily lived experience “the sense memory space.” Moreover she suggests that these bodily sense memories often reveal a different kind of “truth” challenging the understanding and coherence of our commonly understood memories. Casey (1993: ) also suggests that places themselves might affect our bodily experiences due to their being “prior to all things,“ part of universal molecular energy patterns and processes. Encountering the materiality of places through an embodied art practice might therefore reveal what already exists, carried memory patterns and ancient responses embedded in our bodies, the universal patterns that unconsciously affect how we live.

A creative embodied approach (Heidegger 1962:80) could therefore explore a different approach to time. If time is no longer seen as progressing in succession, (Deleuze 1989: 274) we could instead be participating in time in an eternal present in which past, present and future co-exist simultaneously. The world might then be seen as a productive, chaotic, energy field, flowing freely in an endlessly changing creative pattern of memories, moments and new possibilities. Bergson (1962:15) suggests this “virtual labyrinth“ means we might indeed “encounter a fundamental confusion over the truth.“ Experiencing negative or confusing sensations and feelings in the present therefore invites me to question how these disturbances might reflect actual lived memories of being in the world.

 

Affective Disturbance:

Bachelard found (1958:220) that

When we really live a poetic image, we learn to know, in one of it’s tiny fibres, a becoming of being that is an awareness of the being’s inner disturbance. Here being is so sensitive that it is upset by a word…

The poet Rilke thinks this sort of disturbance must go into creative work. Why? Because Heidegger (1962:273) suggests these qualities might be subtly undermining a sense of self whilst also calling for the letting go of a public persona in order to be “freely oneself in the world”. In this case, rather than re-iterating trauma, affective disturbances might create a critical yet productive relationship between a place, our sensations, feelings and memories.

 

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Fig.6 “Unland” Doris Salcedo.

 

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Fig.7 “Unland” detail. Doris Salcedo.

 

Artist Doris Salcedo’s work “ Unland “ about displaced children whose families where killed in the Colombian war illustrates the affective disturbance of embodied memory. Salcedo, (Bennett 2005:67) rather than treating materials as references to memories, uses them instead for “symbolic repetition – or enactment of the sense memory- of-trauma,“ by transforming and making them “strange.” Salcedo spent time with a young bereaved Brazilian girl who constantly wore a worn-out hand-made dress made by her mother, unconsciously acknowledging her loss whilst reconnecting with her mother. Salcedo (ibid:66) suggests we “pursue an understanding of what it is to be caught in a place that can make one over as victim, bystander, perpetrator,“ and that “we can only see in a full sense once we intervene in the flow of images, finding a way of slowing down and reactivating affective viewing“. Salcedo (Basualdo & Huyssen 2000:22) found that examining bodily sensations “Engages with the way we construct reality on the basis of our own day to day experience: a half-hearted wavering reality.“ Similarly these broken, severed tables are rejoined by repetitive, subtle stitches of ephemeral silk and hair. These invite awareness of the painstaking work of reconnecting with the threads and sensations of feelings which mend and bridge the wounds and numbness of traumatic loss. Recreating how culture imposes on a victims lived experience by reenacting it in a material process can reveal a wide variety of felt qualities ranging from intense to subtle. Their disturbing strangeness bypassing the logical mind and activating feelings and empathy.

 

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Fig.8 “Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved” Video

 

To explore sense memories it seemed that videos as time images could therefore assist my research. Regularly revisiting the farm during the summer inevitably involved being present at harvest, my favourite time. Accordingly I recorded video of wheat being pumped from the combine harvester into a trailer container for transportation to a silo. The noise, dust and sheer force of the grain gave me a strong feeling of overwhelm. To develop the work I reversed and slightly slowed down the grain video, projecting it full scale, very large, very loud onto a studio wall. Viewing this as symbolic repetition of my past gave me an immediate experience of feeling overwhelmed by the loud sound and confusion of the disappearing abundance of grain. Surprisingly however this led to a moments silence, an emptiness, then awareness of small subtle sounds spontaneously occurring in the space. Reenacting the shock of loss paradoxically created a productive absence, a timeless space in which a different, profoundly enhanced, intimate quality of awareness was available. John Cages exploration of chance and indeterminacy, in his 1990 work “I have nothing to say and I am saying it“ in which attending to “silence“ allows ambient sounds to be heard, felt relevant here. The abundance and overwhelming experience of loss I felt from this grain video created intense feelings and vulnerability bringing a subtler level of awareness. Video artist Bill Viola (Tusa: 2010) relates this to going through “various levels of the ‘Bardostates“, the transitional, liminal states in the passage from death to rebirth, where “in the last stage one passes through pure consciousness almost dissolving again into the universe to be reconstituted again“. This passage (ibid) “defined by sound, like a roaring waterfall… a deep roaring sound“, leads to transformation, new ways of relating to the world. Personally this experience brought deeper understanding of how interactions between nature and culture are unlimited, change continually and universally disturbing everything in the world at every level.

 

Provocative Meditation:

Recreating disturbing experiences has been described by London gallery Mummery and Schnelle as “provocative meditations“ such as those created by Ori Gersht. Gersht

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Fig.9 “The Clearing.” Ori Gersht. Video.

 

(2005) examines sites of war, reworking experiences of displacement into dream-like abstract images, “creating“ he says “subtle tension between formal beauty and political violence.“ Gersht’s holocaust video “The Clearing“ very movingly records trees falling in a luminous forest, some silently, others loudly yet off screen.

The intensity and force of affect has been asserted as essential to change. Freedom from unproductive patterns (Colebrook in Powell 2007:3) requires attention to be shifted from conditioned thoughts to the tempo and quality of feelings and sensations. In these videos, as with the punctum in a photograph, (Iverson 2007:155)

… a detail triggering a particular affective response… breaks through the confines of the frame and at the same time, like trauma, punctures the spectators psychic protective shield.

Something from past experience breaks through our normal facade and touches us deeply. Therefore using a material process to reveal the full force with which something subliminally hidden in bodily memory affects us does matter.

If affects are internal (Deleuze in Powell 2007:142) then perhaps they may be questioned self-reflectively. John Cage (1990) therefore suggests “ask[ing].. questions instead of making choices” when chance situations affect us. Experiencing strange, disturbing feelings and sensations can naturally cause self-reflection, a common response to provocative art being to ask “what was that?” and “why am I feeling that way?” This also occurs naturally in a Vipassana meditation practice. Sitting and being present to bodily sensations without being able to move away from them spontaneously causes connected thoughts and feelings from past and present to arise so that awareness is unavoidable. Affects are consciously felt, eventually losing any negative strength thereby creating space for new perspectives.

Reflection led me to consider that this video re-enactment had possibly activated unconscious childhood sense memories and feelings, my embodied lived experience of loss. Recent cultural changes causing the loss of the farm had caused me to re- experience the overwhelming and disorienting affects of change. Questioning the appropriateness of these embodied responses to my current experience enabled a repetitive pattern regarding loss to be distinguished. This understanding brought a new perspective, a sense of letting go and and of playful possibility about the future.

 

Affective Spirit:

Video can offer a particular mode of paradoxical approach (Bazin in Barthes 1967:166) in which the frame creates an inner contemplative space for the viewer whilst simultaneously the changing image moves forward in the imagination, beyond the frames boundary into the future. Moving image (Barthes 2000:55) (Gallop in Batchen 2009:50) might therefore offer more perspectives than a still photograph in having a continuous life. Images moving within the frame touch us, inviting memories and self-reflection whilst moving through time beyond the frame, the qualities also enliven the imagination stimulating future potential.

 

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Fig.10 “Book of Hours, Love Songs to God” Video projected on milking apron.

 

Time spent observing other chance encounters on the farm in the late summer brought me back to the stables, recently empty and full of steaming straw and dung. Slowing down this video of abundant dirty, buzzing, seemingly chaotic dung-flies gave me awareness of their circling pattern, a naturally spontaneous interaction. Deleuze (in Powell: 2009:115) suggests that the movement of things and their time spent outside the frame could introduce “the transpatial and the spiritual into the system which is never perfectly closed.” The flies continuation outside the frame might therefore imply a spiritual element of emerging from and disappearing into the unknown. I accentuated this by digitally manipulating the flies movement traces into segments to enhance a sense of ambiguity and playful mysteriousness within and without the frame. Rather than chaos the new perspective reveals flies delightful and mysterious ability to spontaneously interact in a self-organizing process inspiring me to trust in my bodies natural instincts in moving forward into the unknown.

 

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Fig.11 “Become Becoming.” Video projected onto wall.

 

 

Bergson (1912:319/20) suggests this multiplicity of view occurs due to the past inserting itself into “a present sensation of which it borrows the vitality” in which a quality of intensity experienced in the past reappears. My initial experience of a torrential autumn rainstorm was of pounding intensity and penetrating noise however it was the rain bouncing off a metal beam in a barn wall opening that attracted and affected me. Slightly slowing the video down enabled it’s intensity and vitality to be experienced with a subtly different quality. The rain splashing in and out of the frame accentuates a transpatial, spiritual feeling. Fluidly, endlessly the viewer is immersed in a translucent, spacious, ethereal light in a playful, dancing tempo. The drama and imposition of the storm now emanates a softly fluid, dynamic vitality causing a different response in me, a light-hearted aliveness of spirit.

 

Affective Assemblages:

Photographing and videoing Tillhouse farm’s everyday occurrences had revealed strange illogical connections, the natural, man-made, mundane, lyrical, chaotic, intense, messy and mysterious all vibrating at differing tempos.

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Fig.12 “Now IBecome Myself.” Video onto zintec box.

 

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Fig.13 “ Morning Offering” Video onto wall.

This magpie, possibly enclosed but potentially free, energetically hopping up and down and a bullocks delicate yet dribbly breath were both found in the cold midwinter. Shifting focus, careful editing and slowing videos down revealed the beauty, unease, strangeness, messiness, ambiguity and mystery these combine.

 

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Fig.14 Exhibition including red heat chick lamp.

 

A glowing red heat lamp used for warming young chicks likewise invites and repels simultaneously. The red glow seduces whilst ambiguously warming an empty space, inviting questions about relationships between passion, warmth, life and death. If as Belsey (2005:149) suggests we are not masters of but instead are in a dynamic relationship with life then here meaning is left open to interpretation. Rather than reconciling and fixing meaning therefore my art works remain open inviting the viewer to reflect on their position within the universal flow of the world.

 

The habitual division of the world into social, cultural and natural domains (Latour in Wylie: 2007:200) generally keeps us “untainted by materiality or animality“ placing “agency, will, creativity and the capacity for action“ solely within humans. However if (Deleuze 2004:280) the unifying quality of existence is that everything, “inanimate, artificial and natural” is located somewhere on a level of intensity and tempo each could then be distinguished by their speed or slowness. This “assemblage” (ibid 280/3) or hybrid of human/animal/manmade qualities being like an abstract machine comprising an unlimited number of interconnected relationships continually interacting. Awareness of the quality, tempo and intensity with which anything affects us can therefore reveal our place within these universal interconnections.

An embodied experience of relationships (Bennett 2010:23/4) might therefore be of mixed groups of differently vibrating materialities. Each materials emergent quality causes interactions of varying intensity and frequency between participants suggesting that power is distributed unequally in this open-ended collective process. Interactions then, (Wylie 2007:201/2), rather than occurring in spaces, continually create spaces in lively networks of dynamic relationships. The quality and intensity of these interactions (Bennett: 2010:104) can therefore potentially open up greater channels of communication between different positions and powers. In this way different bodily registers i.e. touch, taste, sight, sound and smell cause a range of subliminal sensations and feelings inviting the experiencer to question their place within the ebb and flow of the universal interplay of relationships.

To enhance the sensual intimations of embodiment, projection materials such as rubber aprons, plastic containers, zintec metal boxes and baler cord were used. These containers also invite conscious negotiation of universal lived space, the ability to move freely through an ambiguous, mysterious and powerful environment.

 

Embodied Intuition:

How can we know who we are and what our place in the world is? In the end I ask, like Cerbone, (ibid:172) whether, “homelessness is ultimately a problem to be overcome or a state to be cultivated?“ Spinoza (Bennett 2010:117) describes life as a process continually interweaving passive, inert material, “having a purpose and destination” with active material, the chance causes that “ceaselessly generate new forms.“ Nowadays we know that even seemingly solid forms and structures all move and flow on a microscopic level in a lyrical, shapeshifting dance. Embodied awareness reveals the emergent, fluid, mundane, everyday processes of material change through mysterious qualities that touch and affect us. Re-enacting these disturbing feelings of loss; repetition, restriction, chaos, overwhelm and storm, paradoxically reveals stimulating new perspectives and feelings of warmth, spontaneity, vitality and lightness. Curiosity may invite us then to go beyond seemingly negative logical thoughts and reactions to consciously listen to our embodied intuition. To reconnect with our feelings and spirits, those qualities that instinctively inspire us if we can feel and embrace their vitality. Thus we emerge anew, as a fluid network of changing, affective relationships moving within the open flowing nature of a dynamic universe.

How can loss and pain be meaningful? Language such as bittersweet, “blessing and curse, sacred and tragic, holy and abominable“ (Cerbone 2008:159) hint at where openings may arise. If as Bennett (2010:111) suggests the artists task is to “engage more strategically with a trenchant materiality that is us as it vies with us“ then this creative process combines forms of vitality with feelings arising from chance interactions of various groupings in different registers and tempos. Recognizing the quality of a thing, the active and passive tempo and vitality of materiality (Deleuze 2004:289) brings new understanding and expression of our changing identity and place in the world. This is not thing as “symbol, projection or fanciful imagining” (Heidegger in Cerbone 2008:168) but what is “gathered,“ felt through recognizing ways in which life may be shaped, and ways our being in the world might really matter.

Acknowledging the embodied affect of natural, cultural and social mores, of farm and adoption issues affect on my life, has brought an appreciation of life’s fullness. I feel blessed with the wealth and abundance of feelings and experiences I have had on my “risky” journey through the “savage and beautiful country” of revisiting who I am and who I might be. T.S Eliot’s “Four Quartets“ speak of this process in which homelessness, loss and mystery become enlivening;

…I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

 

Summary:

Life ebbs and flows in a fluctuating world, continually moving on. Provocative art meditations can activate strange bodily sensations, feelings and memories revealing our subtlest hidden responses to changing materials and places. Slight shifts in awareness of the different qualities which subliminally affect us can transform understanding, opening up new perspectives on who we are and and our place in the world. As enchanting language and thought can resonate in our bodies, so senses and feelings also activate and energize, relaxing, renewing and stimulating. An embodied, felt, responsive enquiry into our encounters with places (Heidegger 1971:153) “as the basic capacity for human dwelling“ may redeem what enlivening qualities were once lost as Rumi invites in “Out Beyond Ideas;

Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down
in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language,
- even the phrase “each other” – do not make any sense.

A meditative arts practice can reconnect us to our place within the natural world, taking us on a nomadic journey of enquiry into our lived experience, who we are and what affects us, to recover a joyous freeing sense of continually living within a flowing mystery. T.S.Eliot’s “Four Quartets,“ expresses this timeless process and the feeling of celebration and abundant well-being this journey can bring

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time Quick now, here, now, always -
A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

 

 

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Rumi Jelladin, Out Beyond Ideas, Accessed 11.7.12 http://www.seasons-of-peace.net/rumi/beyond.htm

Schmitter, Amy M (2010), “17th and 18th Century Theories of Emotions“, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.) http:// plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2010/entries/emotions-17th18th/

Tusa John, Interview with Bill Viola, B.B.C Radio 3, Accessed 18.10.10 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/johntusainterview/viola_transcript.shtml

 

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to: Sarah Bennett and John Danvers, MA Faculty of Arts, Plymouth University.

 

Josie Gould Biography

A passion for challenging, new creative experiences has led Josie Gould on many adventures in both a personal and professional capacity. Since leaving East Devon and qualifying in Hotel Management (HND) Josie has travelled extensively working initially in 5* London Hotels then as a professional chef, sailor and Scuba Diving Instructor for 15+ years. Josie co-managed large private yachts around the U.S.A, Canada, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda and the Mediterranean including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey. Following a year in Maine, U.S.A enjoying Master classes with top international photographers Josie returned to the UK in 1995. There she retrained as a professional documentary photographer, (PgDiploma) a BodySoul Rhythms® Course Leader (Marion Woodman Foundation) and coach (Landmark Education Corp). From 1995 Josie was a Cardiff based professional freelance photojournalist specialising in editorial work and social documentary. During this time she won both the 1996 TV-AM Tom Hopkinson Bursary for Photojournalism followed by the MIND Millennium Award for her project The Art of Transition. Three years later Josie founded Wildfire, a voluntary group providing self development courses for girls and women using arts, therapeutic approaches and adventure throughout South Wales. Since returning to Devon in 2000 to care for her disabled elderly parents Josie has run a private practice as a Creative Coach and co-founded do-Be-do, a partnership using the creative arts to offer training and coaching in business development for women becoming the first arts organisation to acquire Membership of the Institute of Leadership and Management, London. Since then Josie has successfully completed a BA (Hons) in Fine Arts at Plymouth University 2010 followed by an MA in Fine Arts in 2012. Josie exhibits locally throughout South Devon. Josie’s interests include meditation, Five Rhythms Dance, hiking and body-centred spiritual enquiry.

www.josiegould.com