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#tendaychallenge - 3. What is the Earth an expression of?

Over the past few years I have been a member of the Scottish Centre For Geopoetics, which has proved to be an enriching resource for considerations regarding the place and purpose of humanity within the wider web of the 'more than human world.' One of its key tenets which has proved very useful for me is that of 'Expressing the Earth.' I like to think of this in creative terms—rather than making work about a place, instead we start with the place itself, which will likely involve a process of first becoming familiar, developing a sense of relating. In some respects the distinction here is subtle, yet significant. The difference between saying "I am from the South Downs," and "I am of the South Downs," for example.

So in one very real and grounded way, the earth is fundamentally itself, and we must be watchful for own projections. On another level we could say that the earth (and all of creation) is being expressed. So the question I keep close to my art is - what might the earth, and its particular forms and places, be expressions of? So this is where my work moves into its more magical aspect, in the sense that its forms and shapes are often not really 'landscapes' at all. As Robert MacFarlane mentions (somewhere in his work, I'm quoting this from memory...); "The landscape was here before we were even dreamed, it watched us arrive." I think this is a very useful line to bear in mind, to shift our human perspectives of time. My move into the imaginal is to ask - 'what was here before the landscape was dreamed, what watched that arrive?'

Before We Were Even Dreamed

Pastel, ink, graphite, on paper


About Geopoetics "Geopoetics is deeply critical of Western thinking and practice over the last 2500 years and its separation of human beings from the rest of the natural world, and proposes instead that the universe is a potentially integral whole, and that the various domains into which knowledge has been separated can be unified by a poetics which places the planet Earth at the centre of experience.

It seeks a new or renewed sense of world, a sense of space, light and energy which is experienced both intellectually, by developing our knowledge, and sensitively, using all our senses to become attuned to the world, and requires both serious study and a certain amount of de-conditioning of ourselves by working on the body-mind.

It also seeks to express that sensitive and intelligent contact with the world by means of a poetics i.e. a language drawn from a way of being which attempts to express reality in different ways e.g. oral expression, writing, visual arts, music, and in combinations of different art forms."



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