Friday, 27 June 2014

The Pilgrim: Mapping Reality - Thoughts of this Day in the Present Moment

 Our reality is a world we take for granted as we look around ourseves and take in the image of the world.  A world we can not entirely be sure of, yet accept as the only way in which we can negotiate and try to understand in its complexity.  Through the natural elements we gain an understanding of what IT is that lays before us, even though what we see is only an interpretation of what our minds' think is real.  What is real and how do we place upon a two dimensional surface the response and reaction to the reality we see before us?


 Throughout the ages society has sought to map reality, to grasp the world and contain it on rock (rock art), walls (cave art), Art, minds (myths passed on through the ages containing vital information - Hamlet's Mill), paper (scrolls, Atlases), globes, monuments (Stonehenge, Great Pyramid, Henges) and now satelite GPS (Google Earth, Street View).  Mapping influences the way we view reality and how it is presented to us, changing the way we see the world and giving us insights into the way our ancestors viewed their world (Hereford Map, Piri Reis Map).
  Yet, we can not be sure what is actually outside of our mind because we can not see the world without our mind.  We can only create a simulation/ simulcra, a copy, a mime, a creation of symbols that have replaced reality.  [For example:  Alan Watts, a British Zen philosopher points out that money is a symbol we have come to believe in, forgetting it is nothing more than a symbol akin to 'inches'.  Not having enough money is like saying we haven't enough inches... an absurd reality when dealing with the econmic system that ultimately affects lives].
  Through various ways of interpreting the world, using symbolic representations we re-construct the world-view and reveal something about the negotiatiated reality.  I have been following these ideas over the last two years - trying to understand how we interpret reality and the ways corporate media presents the world to us.  I did get lost in this world of the media and the facts and figures.  These symbolic constructions that replaced the very reality we are gradually losing, due to giving over true reality to a symbolic reality of order which now destroys the very environment we depend upon.   A time-loop, a 'Groundhog Day' of repeating imagery and information fueling the very fires which seem to consume the real - and we await a new birth of the Phoenix, a new age.  My Phoenix was to lose oneself in the landscape in another land and nationality, seeking the voice of nature - re-focusing and seeking another path to lead me back to the real.

 Moving to Cyprus led to new ways of seeing the world and in-turn gave me the opportunity to partake in the residency Flow and Art in Málaga, expanding on my ideas and here now in Belalcázar I have found my way to mapping.  Nature and the landscape presented new ways of seeing the landscape through the very ground I was walking upon; erosion, weathering, borders, religion and time.  The histories of another culture and the effects of the inter-mingling of cultures, the importance of immigration and emigration; their histories spoke to me about the layers of time, culture, art, mythology.  Time from the past existing through artifacts and language, left behind for future generations to research, see and understand - giving us the sense of times past and the influences these have upon the contemporary.


  I have become a Pilgrim on a journey of rediscovery.  We are all pilgrims through time.  Re-finding who we are each day and for me what my practice has been leading me to.  The realisation was having no expectations, no clear and set ideas, allowing the fluidity of time to create work, regardless of the outcome, and reaching some surprising stations along the journey.  The work in Cyprus at the Cyprus College in Lempa opened a new door - I walked through the portal into another reality.  A reality far removed from the one I had been living previously in Cornwall where I had bogged myself down in the media, internet and the realities of the news, consumerism and the endless debates of politicians who only seemed to love their soundbites.  I escaped the media and politics, seeking another way to comment on the world, without having any plan.  My last painting before leaving for Cyprus dealt with these issues and seemed so apt - a symbolic representation of my polemical death, which at the time was an attempt to claw back Michelangelo's La Pieta from a media image used to propagandise the U.K. government's attempt to have another war/ conflict based on their perspective of truth (Syria: The Final Image) [Though I make no comment on this area due to not living in Syria]
  Now I allow the polemical to come through the work subconsciously, natural via line, marks, colour.  The erosion, time, weathering, division, history and mythology - all leading to my current ways of mapping reality and the way I make sense of the world, and in a way as a symbol of the culture I grew up in.

 Through writing I am exploring these ideas on Pilgrimage - a passage way to greater understanding of who and what I am through the 'stuff'' I create.  The layering, the stratification of time via rocks, the abstraction from observation.  Two areas opening up to me - two streams of thought are beginning to merge.  Mapping and Abstraction & Reality and Imagination converging in work that explores 'Identity and Relationships', free to become with no expectations.  It has taken an investment of time to explore lands afar through various residencies - living, working and learning a way of living and learning through another language and culture, taking shape into a new potential futures for my working practice.

 Thank you Cyprus College (Stass, Margaret & Michael Paraskos), Málaca Instituto,  Málaga (Flow and Art Project - Ida and Nieves) and La Fragua in Belalcázar (Javi and Gaby) - you have all given me a valuable year of growth in time.