…a year on from the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland

On September 1st Super Moon will be in full view in Seoul, Korea. We celebrate the beauty of our ability to orbit our dreams and consciousness into reality.

Commissioned by Lotte World, Super Moon is a 60-foot inflatable sculpture surrounded by a garden of 8 symbolic planets of color and light that will float on Seokchon Lake. The installation glows and courses with life and color while holding us in its cosmic presence. Super Moon is a shared experience meant to induce a sense of peace and serenity in a communal way, as an experience of unification and stillness.

 

The ‘Moon’ – Super or not – this update by ‘FriendswithMe’ reminded me of my three day weekend in August 2015, in the Hills of Dumfries, with my tent pitched up near a 14th Century ruin…

On the saturday night we had an incredible display of the Moon (and the 14th Century ruin was some backdrop!), A blue moon-I think, regardless, it was very large and very round and very: bright!. So bright that at midnight our silhuettes were casting Picture2‘s along the landscape.

I stood at the lake around the Morton Castle, with five other people, learning all about night sky photography. After this night course on my way back to my tent I got side tracked by a group of people sitting around a camp fire, and joining their conversations. These were quite something, even though I can’t remember what we all talked about. The content wasn’t maybe that important, or communication as a means to exchange information and fact was replaced by communication as an avenue for sharing, painting pictures, being playful…regardless it turned a switch in my head which must have been out of action since leaving those innocent childhood years behind to become a teenager – and probably was only possible to re discover by returning to a setting similar to the one I grew up in as a child; nature.

During my first expidition to a ‘burn’ near by, earlier that day (in broad daylight) I got chatting to an artist from South Korea. Stomping and tumbling through the deep grass, and ‘abseiling’ down the burns side to get to the flowing river, to witness carbon off gassing with the environment (it is called the Environmental Arts Festival for a Reason!); we helped each other, not to fall over, or disappear down a mud slide, while exchanging our stories as to how we got to be there.

I admired her, as she simply decided she wanted to learn from meeting people accross the World and be inspired by them and their stories, instead of attending a dedicated training or study at  a prestigous institution to obtain a certificate. So she left and abandoned everything and just with herself as company embarked on her journey.

Her English was sporadic, my Korean language skills non existent; yet despite our cultural complexities and differences our brief encounter on Mother Nature’s terms and conditions provided a shared experienced connection.

I have no idea where she may currently be (physically and/ or spiritually), but the ‘FriendswithYou’ collaboration with Lotte World in Seoul for the Supermoon on the 1st of September; opened up that random connection as a memory in the present of that brief encounter in the past, a single fleeting interaction…

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Question 3: What is your experience of the journey?

Where to start?

What was the journey?

I decided to document the actual travel from Glasgow to Morton Castle with a ‘GoPro’ camera. Attached to the inside of the windscreen of my car, I positioned it so to capture the changing landscape, not so much the street (I also wanted to avoid filming cars number plates) but the changing ‘architecture’ (urban and rural) and the sky.

I am a fan of the sky here in Scotland. In Glasgow it is often hidden by what I call ‘a thick grey ‘mono cloud’, obscuring and blocking warmth and light from the sun. But when it clears up, the sun rises, dawn, dusk, incoming storm fronts, rain and sunshine simultaneously, basically when weather happens the ‘skyscape’ here in Scotland is a captivating, dramatic, tranquil, lush experience.

As a technophobe I expected a struggle with the cables and equipment of my documentation media (the camera), and ended up accidentally recording the quizzical expressions on my face while wondering if the camera is ‘on’…

Once the camera was ‘enabled’ to do it’s thing despite continuous interference through my human irrationality (Is it still recording? Is the battery empty? Does it record sound?) I started to re focus on the other things I had planned and prepared for.

This led after an hour and half way near the Festival to the realisation that I left all of my food nicely packed in a single bag at home!

Driving along I weighed up the pro and cons for continuing without food, including a bag full of cinnamon swirls I baked the night before- or to turn back and pick up the carefully arranged survival package for a weekend of Wild camping.

I drove back, which also helped re charge the battery of the camera (down to nothing after 20 minutes of filming) and picked up that bag of food, my children had already claimed into their possession and made plans what to eat first- so I got there just in time!

Once I was back on track, with food, and on a country road weaving along the river Nith through forests and hills excitement about the location, people, encounters, art and Nature started to grow.

To keep in line with being reliable on always being unreliable- the camera abandoned me just when I turned of the main road to follow the signs through ‘wilderness’ to the most stunning camp site: an open field embraced by a forest and mountains as the backdrop, a 14th Century ruin atop of a Loch. The battery was empty and the camera cut out just when I turned into the forest.

The first thing I did was to put up my tent, it was still light and dry. The tent went up within 10 minutes I am proud to say. I also did some material testing of my own on utilising two sheets of polyethylene foam we use in the museum for storage and packing of objects in regards to the materials insulating properties and performance, by covering the tent floor. The sheets are flexible and can be rolled up just like a yoga mat. I was also hoping for some provision of cushioning which lasted for about two minutes when embarking on a horizontal position with all my weight. I also ended up sleeping diagonally, arranging the shape of my anatomy accordingly to the undulated ground.

The conversations happening all around me into the dark night and the sound of rain (which started eventually) on my tent were somewhat comforting and I drifted into sleep, waking up just once when the sound of a single voice provided an impromptu ‘a Capella’ version of Nena’s 1985 hit: ‘Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann’ (see post)…in German, in the middle of the night, in the wilderness and presence of a 14th Century Castle, deer and other animals in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.

Here I am at the Environmental Art Festival Scotland.

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