Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day Four: On Track

Yesterday was spent locating some of the sites and views as recommended by Rhian. Cwm Bycham was one of the places that Rhian recommended I go, and the one she felt was the most beautiful.
I didn't know what I was looking for, and so each time we came to a beautiful place i would say 'Perhaps this is Cwm Bycham? This is a great view.'
It turns out that Cwm Bychan is a lake and mountain area. Not a bridge, or a waterfall.
There are roman steps leading up to another lake, which we didn't see as we had to rush back to John's for the burning. But I got some good shots on the way, of the amazing mountain. I am not sure why but it reminded me of a Japanese animation.
Driving around the amazing countryside, it is really just a pleasure on the eyes. Before we went to Cwm Bychan I went up to the Slidey Rock area to use my 'How To Explore Kit'.
I am quite pleased with the results, and will work on putting the images into a new Health and Safety poster, to explain how to use the kit, just in case any artists wish to use it, as it travels around to the different countries.
First I used the thermometer.
The idea here is to measure the temperature of the place - is the place cool to you, or welcoming. If cool, find ways to make friends.
Next I used the binoculars. Instructions here are to make sure you look closely at the place, and if you are used to looking in, then try looking out.
Naturally the next idea is to look closely, and if you are used to looking out, look in. It is important not to ignore the tiny things, they can be very important. One of my favourite things about Harlech is the alpines and sedums growing from crevices and tiny gaps in walls.
They are so resilient, clinging onto the mountain top despite the wind. They are like minute worlds, the magnifying glass is great for really getting in close to them. I went on to use the fluorescent stars, the dots, the postcards, the pedometer, the compass, and finally the tent pegs and string.
This was in order to mark out a particular small area, and then explore it in detail to see what could be found there.
A variety of grasses, and plants, ants and other creatures, small pieces of glass. I look forward to making the health and safety poster later on.
The Burning of Art: we got to John's just as Antonio was in conversation with Casoria Art Museum, where he is director. They were smashing up a marble sculpture live on skype. We watched.
The Mayor of his city was there, and said he would commit to save the other works in the museums collection. Then in John and Celia's garden a new piece of work was burnt. Fernando and John had made the piece that afternoon for the purposes of burning it. I think it is a very different thing, to make work purely for the purposes of burning it, to me means the work is not the work, but the burning itself is. In this way the action is actually creating new art, rather than destroying something in a protest against cuts. This is  a very interesting notion - Activism is therefore a creative process.
They covered thepiece in petrol and it went up in flames very quickly, and turned to ashes. We were recording the burning on the ustream link here.
Antonio intends to take the remnants back to his museum and hold an exhibition of burnt works. 
In the evening Andy and I went to the Lion's pub quiz. I was keen to go and tell Rhian about my visit to Cwm Bychan. We came 3rd from last in the pub quiz, which I believe is very respectable. 
Rhian had another recommendation for me that she had thought of, to add to the brochure. I hope I have time to get to all of these places.
Then two local lads wanted to tell me what they thought about Harlech. They had heard that I had been working with Rhian, and wanted to let me know their thoughts. The first, works in the Spar and still lives in Harlech, he told me that most of his friends had moved away, but that he was determined to stay.
He wrote down simply 'This is my home'.
The second was in the army, and told me he had been around the world, and had done two tours in Afghanistan. He said that Harlech for him is a comfort, knowing this place, and its people are there keep him going. He said there is nowhere more beautiful in the world.
I had not intended to gather these thoughts, they were volunteered to me. What I am discovering is that though the people of Harlech are aware of the problems here (mainly a tourist trade which seems to be disappearing) they are all in love with the place. Rhian had said the other day, the young ones all go off to live somewhere else, but they all come back in the end, whether it is to visit or to stay.
I am now ready to go on Bethan's walk. I wonder if I will get lost?

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