Field 500 word reflection

The things behind the sun project began with Pembrokeshire trip and 100 drawings I created. The tutorial after the visit where we displayed our work to the group helped me to realise that the majority of my drawings featured some sort of man made object, even though as I thought I was focusing on the natural environment. I became interested in the line where the sea meets the land and viewing this as an abstracted shape.

Jon Clarkson held a seminar on sublime, phenomenology and landscape in terms of economics and politics. There was a discussion about how this applied to Pembrokeshire. They were all topics I had thought about whilst on the trip; I became interested in the ecology of the area when I realised that in spite of the landscape appearing to be natural, it had been altered by humans. Climbing to the top of Garn Fawr there was a clear view across the landscape, this is what made me wonder how much was really ‘natural’. There is a superficial feeling of wildness but the fort I was standing on was man-made, the land was farmed, paths and evidence of smuggling. How humans impact the ecology is something I had been learning about in constellation as well.

I began to look at maps and geography, at the top of Garn Fawr there was a trig point which were used to plot ordinance survey maps. From the trig point you in theory can see two others at any given time, forming a triangle. This got me thinking about how lines of sight can be disrupted or the idea of focusing in on specific points in the landscape for the purpose of navigation. Being on top of the hill made me think about how Peter Lanyon used elevated viewpoints in his paintings. His gliding paintings, all have an aerial perspective inspired by his experiences as a glider pilot. They appear at first to be abstracted but closer inspection reveals them to be depictions not only of solid land, but of air currents and clouds which would’ve affected Lanyon’s navigation. Taking from this experience I sketched maps of the area, trying to be as accurate as possible, and then made some that were also from memory. I have also been comparing the differences between my drawings and google maps, my drawings are recognisably maps and function in the same way, but they are made up of expressive pencil marks rather than satellite imagery, which is more accurate. As an initial starting point for the project I created some monoprints of Pwll Deri based on a map of the area. I want to create more of these in series; the drypoint elements will stay the same and I hope to create small differences, depending on how my memory of the landscape changes, by varying the application of the ink to the plate. The trig points still interest me and are something I want to develop next term.

Looking at Guy Debord, and the theory of psychogeography in the context of Pembrokeshire. Situationists idealistically believed that public themselves should be allowed to design and choose what kind on environment they lived in. Debord defined psychogeography as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.” He advocated deviating from our daily routines and allowing ourselves to wander, people are so often focused on getting to their destination that they don’t pay attention to their surroundings. In Pembrokeshire when we were walking, there wasn’t a destination as such, therefore the focus was on the process of walking. (in the present) I have been drawing from memory, retracing the routes taken in Pembrokeshire, Neath, Port Talbot and Liverpool and also routes around Cardiff. They can be read as the documentation of wanderings around the city rather than as a geographically accurate map. In a way, this is a continuation of my summer work which documented in drawing and photography the demolition of the town centre and questioning how the changes would alter peoples behaviour and their relationship to the area.

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