Contents. Introduction. Stratigraphy Lost ways. Lines of sight. Alignments.
Mesotopes Turbary. Liminality. Location.
Topography On foot. Wayfinding. In situ.
Geomorphology Gathering. Relocation. Cognition.
Sensorium Topophilia. Manifold. Boundary.
Introduction. Sensorium investigates the idea that our negotiation of data and reference points often brings with it a sense of dislocation and fragmentation, and how identification with our senses enables a deeper awareness and understanding. By adopting commercial mapping technology and combining it with traditional handmade processes an aesthetic is reintroduced to the digital seeking to offer a re-imagined perspective of spaces which maybe we have forgotten to see. Digital capabilities change our perceptions and understanding of the world around us; modern mapping technology offers a reconsideration of how we access, navigate and experience our rural spaces. In a world of fast moving technological advances and equipment which can locate us anywhere in the world, it is important to value places which sit quietly on the edges, shifting and evading our control. Opportunities for adventure are offered, however we are also reminded of the necessary interconnections needed for us to develop a relationship with space and in turn a sense of belonging to place.
â€˜Always, everywhere, people have walked, veining the earth with paths visible and invisible, symmetrical or meanderingâ€™ Thomas A Clarke, In praise of walking
Winter Hill, Lancashire
Stratigraphy - the analysis of the order and position of layers of archaeological remains.
Lost ways. Through previous projects undertaken, a new awareness of the historic pathways covering Lancashire and Cheshire and the increasing threat to their future documentation on the â€˜definitive mapâ€™, i I had an incentive to investigate these unique historical landmarks further. Connections with the Public Rights of Way office and the newly formed Lost Ways project at the LCC in Preston ii enabled me to begin to understand the processes of documenting and mapping these complicated and often emotive pathways. In order to understand these ancient pathways it was important to imagine the landscape before all modern modes of transport.
Lines of sight. In his preface to The Old Straight Trackiii, Alfred Watkins wrote: ‘some four years ago there stood revealed the original sighting pegs used by the earliest track makers in marking out their travel ways.’ iv He maintains that all subsequent investigations were based upon a single moment when he realized a network of lines. His publication The Old Straight Track followed his address to the Woolhope Club in Hereford in 1922 and provoked violent controversy within archaeological circles. Since this time our knowledge and research of prehistoric life and the movements of early civilizations has been expanded beyond Watkins’ revolutionary suggestions. Today we know that stone and mound alignments covered a considerable distance, aiding travel between communities just as Watkins had suggested.
Alfred Watkins, photographing Eastcombe, 1926
Radnor vale - Eastern end alignments, image from The old straight track Watkins believed that to understand the lands in which we live now we must look back to time before the Romans and build up knowledge based on archaeological evidence of the people who lived on and travelled in the landscape. â€˜Knowledge is only to be gleaned from three types of evidence...Firstly and chiefly from what exists or is recorded on or in the earth of the work or remains of man of that period. Secondly, from what can be gleaned and surmised in place-names and words, for it is often forgotten that words were spoken in Britain for more centuries before they were written down. Thirdly, from folk-lore legends; lingering fragments of fact disguised by an overlay of generations of imaginings.â€™ v
â€˜...standing out like glowing wires all over the surface of the country, intersecting at the sites of churches, old stones, and other spots of traditional sanctityâ€™ vi
Alignments. I began a series of investigations into possible tracks and pathways that may have been made by past communities linking Preston with villages and surrounding settlements. By mapping historical landmarks and archaeological monuments using Watkinsâ€™ theory of alignment I identified potential routes that may have been used for travel. Although purely hypothetical this exercise highlighted for me the possibility that from maps it was possible to trace the past in a way that we have forgotten. By looking for clues in the landscape now it was possible to spot signs of the past and a pathway which had been walked hundreds of years before. It was also possible to take existing knowledge and represent it making new connections to our landscape and altering our perceptions and possibly ways of seeing.
Tracy Hill, Imagined alignments, 2014
i. The definitive map is a map prepared by a local surveying authority which is a legal record of the publicâ€™s rights of way in one of four categories (footpath, bridleway, road used as a public path or byway open to all traffic). ii. The intention of the Lost Ways project is to provide an opportunity to record Rights of Way in your chosen area that may be lost beyond 2026. LCC are building a team of volunteers to assist in this project by training them in the appropriate manner in order to identify and provide suitable evidence. iii. The old straight track, First published in 1925 and remains the most important source for the study of ancient tracks or leys. iv. Alfred Watkins, The old straight track, classic book on ley lines. Page v. v. Alfred Watkins, The old straight track, classic book on ley lines. Page xv. vi. Alfred Watkins, The old straight track, classic book on ley lines. Page xix.
Mapping Lancashireâ€™s historical alignments
â€˜Out of one territory, one map, can bloom a thousand geographies, and all the technologies that have allowed those new maps have come to fruition in a relatively short time. One is tempted to remark about how rapidly our world has changed, but what has really changed, are our ways of seeing the worldâ€™ Stephen S Hall, You are here, 2004
Google map imagery of Astley Moss, 2014
Mesotopes - area or defined boundaries developed from one original centre.
Turbary. Although many historic routes are now lost to new road systems and an ever growing population I wondered if it would be possible to locate and walk some of these old pathways to gain a greater understanding of the landscape they crossed and the knowledge that these early navigators needed to find their way. Transportation links and the developing economic prosperity of the North West is a fundamental issue discussed by Dr Alan Crosby in his book Leading the way: a history of Lancashireâ€™s roads, 1998. i Precise lines of travel were chosen in response to local geological conditions and the knowledge of changing seasons. These routes were prone to change to accommodate transient conditions and were guarded by those who gained an advantage in business and trade. Routes were shared as communal memories and teachings of place.
Mary Townley Loop, Lancashire
â€˜The surface, at a distance, looks black and dirty and is indeed frightful to think of, for it will bear neither horse nor man, unless in an extremely dry season, and then not so as to be passable, or that any one should travel over them. What nature meant by such a useless production, tis hard to imagine, but the land is entirely wasteâ€Śâ€™ ii This account by Daniel Defoe was written in 1726 when travelling north from Manchester and is a description of an area called Chat Moss. It represents an opinion of travelers and visitors to the area, which changed very little in over 200 years. I became increasingly interested in the miry ways and turf routes iii which were defined by communities and in areas where several townships shared a common mossland, as in Cheshire and Lancashire the routes by which people would cross the moss were jealously guarded. I discovered that the area of land Daniel Defoe spoke of straddles the motorways I travel along between Warrington and Preston. Land which I had overlooked and dismissed during my journey linking my daily commute. Was this as Daniel Defoe had declared a featureless and useless wasteland? Or was it a place of history and discovery linking the past and the present?
View across Little Woolden Moss, 2015
Liminality. Shaped and defined historically by its people the Lowland mosses of Cheshire and Lancashire are inextricably linked with their communities and the rivers which run through them. Today these spaces sit on the edges of the urban towns, linking and connecting people. They mark borders and define modern transport links but are mostly invisible to everyday life today. However, invisible though intact mossland provides a geological and archaeological heritage dating back over 10,000 years. iv The word ‘liminality’ is often used as a fairly generic term referring to spaces ‘in-between’. Les Roberts has investigated the idea of liminality and its original meaning. v Roberts suggested that Liminality alludes to a complex landscape of instability, one of a precarious and dangerous nature. These spaces are often left off the map and are exploited by industry or governments because of their instability and location on the edge of communities. His investigations into the River Dee vi shared many parallels with the area I was investigating. Connections between place and memory, narratives of place overlayed onto landscape allow an engagement from unique viewpoints. Peat cutting, Salford 1955, Salford Photos archive Opposite: remains of railway line on Cadishead Moss, 2014
The area of Chat Moss was once a long chain of mosses along the Mersey effectively channeling routes and roads through gaps in between them. The strategic importance of these mosses was huge, as the blocking of these road gaps would cause major problems for people travelling north or south. Added to this was the formidable obstacle of the River Mersey. The mosses acted as a gigantic barrier protecting and safeguarding the communities that lived amongst them. They were in fact liminal spaces in every sense of the word and remain areas of instability, transience and danger.
Historic map of Lancashire hundreds 1700
It was particularly noticeable that during investigations I noted the area of Chat Moss had a lack of recorded footpath provision through the deeper mossland areas, maybe reflecting the centuries through which the mosslands were impassable, or was it that the local communities kept their routes off the maps intentionally? â€˜Maps organise information about landscape in a profoundly influential way. They carry out a triage of its aspects, selecting and ranking those aspects in an order of importance, and so they create forceful biases in the ways a landscape is perceived and treated.â€™ vii Maps have always been a way of beginning a journey for me, a way into the landscape, striving to locate the spaces in which to explore. I returned to the maps of Warrington and Manchester to seek clues to the past shape and size of this once great mossland area with the hope of locating evidence of a forgotten path or route. OS explorer map 276, 2011
Views of the Royal Ordanance Factory site at Risley during WWII Image archive Warrington photomag
Dawn over mossland, 2015
In 1939 the government acquired Risley Moss by compulsory purchase along with 900 acres of prime agricultural land to build an ammunitions factory. The flat, damp, isolated area, which was often shrouded in mist, was perfect for hiding the Risley Royal Ordnance Factory and its roads, railways and housing. The moss itself could not be built on but was used as a test site and dumping ground. After the war the site was used for storage until in 1961 the MOD moved out leaving one of the largest derelict sites in Europe. Of the fragments remaining of the original Chat Moss, the Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT) now own and protect three of them. In 1968 Risley moss was purchased and redeveloped as an Educational Nature Reserve by Warrington Borough Council. Little of the original mossland is left but the underlying geological structure survives and the site now has international recognition as a SSSI site. viii
Risley Moss, 2014
Risley Moss sits on the edge of Warrington and the original expanse of Chat Moss. Like all liminal spaces Risley Moss is a complex landscape, often kept off the map it is a space which has now reinvented itself to accommodate the changing economic and social world around it. As this site was so close to my home it made a useful test site in which to explore.
OS Explorer map 276, 2011
Risley Moss, 2014 Marion Shoard, Paul Farley and Michael Symmons celebrate the idea that these liminal spaces are always on the move, spaces speaking of post industrialization, neglected and then reclaimed as our relationships to the land alter over time. ix â€˜Somewhere in the hollows and spaces between our carefully managed wilderness areas and the creeping, flattening effects of global capitalism there are still places where an overlooked England truly exists.â€™ x
i. Dr Alan Crosby, Leading the way: a history of Lancashire’s roads, 1998. In his book he discusses how the freedom of movement we now enjoy and take for granted as a society reliant on networks of roads and rail can be traced back to our ancestors’ fundamental understanding of local routes and their knowledge of landscape. ii. Daniel Defoe, A tour through the whole island of Great Britain, published in three volumes 1724–1726. iii. Miry ways, otherwise known as packhorse trails and turf routes, dominated the landscape for the transportation of goods and materials between villages and towns before the industrial revolution. iv. Greater Manchester ecology report: http://www.gmbp.org.uk/site/images/stories/lowland%20mosslands%20bap_08.pdf Lancashire wildlife trust online resource: http://www.lancswt.org.uk/wildlife/habitats/lowland-raised-bog v. Research interests and practice fall within the areas of urban cultural studies, cultural memory and digital spatial humanities. His work explores the intersection between space, place, mobility and memory with a particular focus on film and popular music cultures. He is author of Film, mobility and urban space: a Cinematic Geography of Liverpool (2012), editor of Mapping cultures: place, practice and performance (2012) and co-editor of Locating the moving image: new approaches to film and place (2013), Liminal landscapes: travel, experience and spaces in-between (2012), and The city and the moving image: urban projections (2010). vi. The Cestrian book of the dead: a necrogeographic survey of the Dee Estuary. http://www.liminoids.com/2012%20Roberts_TheSandsofDee.pdf vii. Macfarlane, The wild places, 2007. Page 10. viii. Initial conservation efforts attempted to restore water levels and remove the pyrotechnic waste left over from the MOD.
However by the late 1980s the delicate mossland was continuing to dry out. In 1994 in order to try and preserve the remaining mossland habitat and to protect the local housing from flooding, English Nature in consultation with local groups and organisations came up with an innovative new design for the once great mossland site. The first of its kind in the UK involved digging down into the water table to produce a series of scrapes, which would remain waterlogged for most of the year without the need to flood the whole area. This new approach was so successful in the reclamation of the mossland that a further 60% of the site was then treated in the same manner. The second major habitat on site is that of secondary woodland, dominated by Oak, Ash and Elm with an understory of Hazel, Cherry and Holly as well as creating a series of glades to encourage growth of ground flora. Today Risley Moss is recognized as a reserve which has successfully integrated the needs of recreation and education with that of conservation. ix. Poets Professor Michael Symmons Roberts and Professor Paul Farley, co-authors of Edgelands: journeys into Englandâ€™s true wilderness join Marion Shoard, author of the award-winning essay Edgelands to discuss the role of wildness in urban landscapes. Lecture series: The Country and the City. November 2012. http://www.cpre.org.uk/magazine/features/item/3119 x. Edgelands: journeys Into Englandâ€™s true wilderness, Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts. Page 10.
‘My eyes are in my feet’ Nan Shephard, The living mountain, 1977
Sphagnum Moss, Astley Moss, 2015
Topography - the natural and artificial physical features of an area.
Moss identification on Astley Moss, 2014
On foot. I find myself seeking to gain a greater understanding of these liminal landscapes through walking and trying to better understand how our relationship to the land and the way we travel is altered by modern technology. Robert Macfarlane seeks to reconnect with the idea of place and how our modern society preserves the narratives and experiences held within the rural landscape. He observes that on modern maps: ‘an absence is visible. The wild places are no longer marked…faded out like suppressed memories.’ i Through his walking journeys MacFarlane seeks to rediscover those forgotten spaces and ways of seeing, believing journeys made on foot offer a unique understanding and memory of place unlike any other experience. ‘Walking as enabling sight and thought rather than encouraging retreat and escape; paths as offering not only means of traversing space, but also ways of feeling, being and knowing…to make an impression is also to receive one, and the soles of our feet, shaped by the surfaces they press upon, are landscapes themselves…’ ii Perception of spaces and connections through movement is a view shared by James Gibson who writes that ambulatory vision takes place along a ‘path of observation’. iii However, I am also intrigued by how a new understanding of places can be brought about through new technologies, how it enables us to see and understand beyond our own visual and sensory capabilities. When I originally began looking at Risley Moss it was with the intention to walk and map the area myself, to rediscover the history and features now hidden on modern maps, maybe even to rediscover a forgotten pathway.
Risley Moss, 2014
Wayfinding. Karen O’Rourke calls this multi-sensory response ‘wayfinding’, in her book Walking and mapping. She believes: ‘We begin by making sense of our surroundings so that we can go somewhere’ iv And, that for a journey on foot one requires: ‘consistent use and organization of definite sensory clues from the external environment.’ v In many non-western cultures, ideas of walking as knowledge and walking as a mode of thinking are widespread. Tim Ingold offers the opinion that ‘wayfinding’ for him contrasts navigation as: ‘every place holds within it memories of previous arrivals and departures, as well as expectations of how one may reach a desired place from it’. vi He goes on to suggest that ‘wayfinding’ is a movement in time akin to playing music or story telling, that our world is one of experiences which is suspended in movement. Through our own movements we contribute to its formation and connections ‘along paths of action and perception’. vii Some of the best examples of such close relationships between landscape, music and stories are those of the Australian Aboriginal people. Songlines‘ viii use clues in the landscape which are virtually imperceptible to others outside of their culture enabling the Aboriginal people to move quickly and effectively between watering holes and hunting grounds. Without western restrictions of land enclosures and borders they work within an interlocking network of lines and pathways, which are preserved as stories, songs and dances passed down and shared through the generations. Even in unfamiliar surroundings their use of clues and cardinal directions allows them to locate and move through any space, day or night. Risley Moss, 2014
Part of what makes walking so interesting to me is that the whole journey cannot be perceived all at once. The path has to unfold over time as I travel along it; these paths make it possible to trace the routes of others that walked before us.
Barbara Glowczewski investigated both visual and aural signals which make up the components of wayfinding. She suggests that: ‘A place marked by a track…is an access to the whole, a key to investigate past, present and future actions.’ ix Glowczewski designed a multi-media tool linking images of rituals and landscape. x This stressed for her the essential essence of the mind map and how the elements connect with each other. Viewers are invited to link the different kinds of data through image, dance and song, allowing navigation between lines and layers of meaning.
Barbara Glowczewski, Territoires: L’exposition
In situ. Before beginning my walking it was important to consider the various technologies available to possibly help map the site whilst walking. The developments in GIS systems enable data to be represented spatially in map form. These provided many options for mapping my movements in cartographic terms but none gave me the depth of recording information about the physical land itself or my experience of moving through the landscape.
Downloaded maps of routes using GIS app
Teri Rueb’s piece Core Sample utilizes GPS systems and interactive sound installations to connect people with the history of Spectacle Island. xi Sounds play back automatically as the GPS senses the visitor’s movement in the landscape creating a metaphoric core sample exposing the space’s complex past through layers of sound. Each experience is unique as the visitors make their own journey and connections to place.
Through further investigations I discovered that architects and archaeologists use a form of mapping technology which allows accurate measurements of spaces using 3D infra-red laser scanners. This unique equipment provides accurate high definition images allowing the analysis of otherwise hidden geological and fragmented forms and structures.
i. Robert Macfarlane, The wild places, 2007. Page 10. ii. Robert Macfarlane, Path, The old ways. Pages 24 and 161. iii. The perception of the environment, Dwelling. Page 226. iv. Karen O’Rourke, Walking and mapping. Page 101. v. Karen O’Rourke, Walking and mapping. Page 103. vi. Tim Ingold, The perception of the environment, Dwelling. Page 237. vii. Tim Ingold. The perception of the environment, Dwelling. Page 242. viii. ‘Songlines’ are tools of navigation used by indigenous tribes to cross the Australian landscape and pass down tribal knowledge to future generations. They are effectively oral maps of the landscape, enabling the transfer of skills without the need for written language. In many cases, songlines on the earth are mirrored by songlines in the sky, enabling the sky to be used as a navigational tool. ix. Barbara Glowczewski, Lines and criss-crossings; hyperlinks in Australian indigenous narratives, Media International Australia 116 (2005):24–35. x. Working with the Warlpiri tribe Barbara Glowczewski’s Dream Trackers is a multimedia tool based on a mind map. It shows how elements of knowledge connect with each other. Using a sample of fifty places and fourteen dreaming tracks users are invited to link different kinds of data just as the Warlpiri people do. Hyperlinks appear as users navigate and build layers of meaning and narrative through image, dance and song. xi. Terri Rueb, Core Sample is a GPS-based interactive sound walk and corresponding sound sculpture that evokes the material and cultural histories contained in and suggested by the landscape of Spectacle Island. The piece engages the extended landscape of Boston Harbor as bound by the new Boston Institute of Contemporary Art building on the downtown waterfront and Spectacle Island, a former dump and reclaimed landfill park visible just off the coast. The two sites function dialogically, questioning what is seen versus what is not seen, what is preserved and recorded versus what is suppressed and denied. Image captured using FARO infra-red scanner on Risley Moss, 2014
â€˜We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first timeâ€™ T.S. Eliot, Four quartets
Opposite: Image captured using FARO infra-red scanner of Risley Moss, 2014
Geomorphology - the study of the physical features of the surface of the earth.
Gathering. The Forensic and Archaeology departments at UCLan both use FARO data capture equipment i in order to collect scientifically accurate data in the field, which evidences their research projects. ii Having access to such a scanner meant I could potentially record data of the mossland site and use it to accurately map the area, hopefully revealing aspects unseen and hidden from me.
Scanning Risley Moss, 2014
The information gathered from these site visits gave me data with which to begin to explore the potential imagery I could create. Data analysis is usually done within highly specialized industry specific software iii however I required the data to be exported into a form that would allow me to work with the imagery in a much more flexible way, something which went beyond the softwareâ€™s designed use.
Data captured from scanner viewed using the SCENE software
The idea of pushing industry-led technology and its accepted uses is something which Marliene Oliver explores within her work. She notes that for her traditional laws of perspective have been replaced with a more pivotal model with a ‘density of information around the axis’, such that the ‘more we pivot, the faster we spin, the more information we acquire…and the more impossible it is to get an overview’. iv She has suggested that in order to understand our world and the new technologies of data collection available and to get the information we want we have to go inside of it. Through her installations Oliver has attempted to reconnect with the fragmentation and dislocation she feels is associated with new medical technology.
Marliene Oliver, Orixa, 2007
The ability to digitally look within our bodies and dissect its parts creates library data sets, which no longer speak of the personal being, they become files of information and a promise of improvement. Oliverâ€™s choice of transparent materials and the handmade processes she employs work to reintroduce an aesthetic and sentiment to the slices of data. The works are life size, forcing the viewer to place themselves in the context of the data facing them. â€˜I am creating what feels like a library of clashes, impossibilities and paradoxes between the physical and the digital worlds we are all having to precariously straddle.â€™ v New partnerships have been an important element for this project. I needed to work closely with the technical support at FARO and UCLan, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Natural England. Building working partnerships with these organisations and individuals allowed me to engage in a dialogue, which pushed my ideas and personal knowledge further than I could have anticipated in the beginning. Access to protected sites and specialist knowledge enabled me to gain a better understanding of the spaces and how my images could reimagine them.
Marliene Oliver, Dervishes, 2010
Although access to the main site of Risley Moss is unrestricted to the public, the mossland area I was interested in walking through was restricted due to the sensitive nature of the nature reserve and its potential instability. Working within the permitted areas I was able to gather enough scan data and information about the site to begin working on some ideas. Through the captured test data I realized I wanted to create a sense of liminality, the layers of history which are all intrinsic to its character, to hint at the danger of the space and the challenges of early navigation. Any images needed to speak of the movement, the act of the walk but also of the physical land itself. I quickly realized that although I was excited about the results from the scanner I was only looking into the landscape from the edge, a visitor to the space. I needed to be inside the place, as Nan Shephard had observed in 1945 vi â€“ she believed landscape was not something to be viewed and reflected on from a distance. Rather than a passive object for our consideration, it is in fact an active partner.
Tracy Hill, data drawing, 2014
Tracy Hill, Infra-red scan pictures of Risely Moss, 2014
Relocation. Problems with full access to the site at Risley Moss forced me to reconsider my intentions and requirements from any new potential site. Working again with members of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, specifically project officer Elspeth Ingleby, we identified Astley Moss, Cadishead Moss and Little Woolden Moss as potential new sites on which to walk and gather data. Owned and protected by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT), Astley, Cadishead and Little Woolden Mosses are collectively remnants of the historic Chat Moss complex. Designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Astley Moss is also designated as a SSSI site, vii Cadishead is a Site of Biological Importance (SBI) viii and all are monitored and maintained by LWT volunteers. In order to gain a better understanding of these spaces I became a volunteer and have been working and walking alongside Elspeth Ingleby, Chat Moss Project Officer and her dedicated team of volunteers, learning about the complexities of both the geology and the wildlife which now occupy them, collecting information and data during site visits. This access has given me a greater understanding of the relationship and knowledge needed to navigate such spaces.
LWT Volunteer days, 2014â€“2015 Photo, LWT Chat Moss project
â€˜What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better and endow it with valueâ€Ś If we think of space as that which allows movement, then place is pause, each pause in movement makes it possible for location to be transformed in to place.â€™ ix
Cadishead Moss, 2015
As a visitor to the space I had recorded initial observations along with photographic documentation of the visit in order to later locate and map my journey. However, as I gained knowledge of the place I was able to locate myself based on experiences and memories of previous visits. â€˜Places do not have locations but histories. Bound together by the itineraries of their inhabitants, places exist not in space but as nodes in a matrix of movement.â€™ x
Tracy Hill, sketch book records, 2015
The geological damage created by the commercial exploitation of peat extraction and farming has left the land scarred and dangerously unstable in places. As the peat dries out it shrinks, compresses and collapses. Seasonal variations in the water levels however mean that the stability of the ground can change very rapidly and without knowledge and understanding of this geology and history, anyone crossing the space can become disorientated and misguided by visual clues, making navigation difficult. Observing how regular volunteers and the rangers moved around the site gave me an insight into how their connection to place gave them the advantage to move over land which was hidden from sight but which they knew to be safe. They have learnt to map their physical environment in terms of shapes and relationships. They mapped as they moved through the space, drawing on experiences and an internal awareness, which is gained with familiarity.
Opposite: Astley Moss boundary, 2014 This page: Hydrology survey, Little Woolden Moss, 2014
Reading the land through my feet was one of the first ways in which I learnt to alter my walking. The need to test the stability and the ground under your feet is a basic and instinctive act but understanding how the ground responds is not so easy and demands an awareness of our own bodies that most of us have no need to use on any daily basis. After more visits to the space I began to appreciate the layers of understanding necessary to fully see the space as place. ‘Touch is the most complex of our senses…that covers the surface and permeates our bodies.’ xi
Examples of moss, 2015 Hypnum, Sphagnum Fallax, Polytrichum, Sphagnum Subnitens
Cognition. This idea of making sense of our surroundings and the use of several sensory clues to aid navigation and self-location is one which William L Fox has explored widely in his investigations of cognitive dissonance in isotopic spaces – why humans get lost in spaces that appear much the same in all directions. Like Watkins he believes that we rely on different sources of information around us, which are decoded and interpreted in order for us to move around and find our way through spaces. ‘We locate ourselves in space by coding one or more of four kinds of information.’ xii
Little Woolden Moss, 2015 Photo, LWT Chat Moss project
As humans our sense of sight dominates and we rely primarily on the visual image as reference to provide visual clues for navigation. When we do not have key points of visual reference in unfamiliar surroundings we quickly become disorientated. In Astley Moss the lack of visual reference points forces you to search the horizon for lines of sight further afield. Winter Hill is visible from most parts of the mossland giving you a set orientation points from which to navigate. Many have sought to demonstrate the idea that as one builds a relationship to space or location then space becomes place, which in turn determines our experience and feeling of belonging. â€˜When you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back; the more one comes to know them, the more one seeds with the invisible crop of memories and associations that will be waiting for you when you come back, while new places offer up new thoughts, new possibilities.â€™ xiii
Little Woolden Moss, 2015
i. FARO develops and markets portable CMMs (coordinate measuring machines) and 3D imaging devices to solve dimensional metrology problems. Technology from FARO permits high-precision 3D measurement and imaging. The ultra-portable Focus3D enables fast, straightforward and accurate measurements of objects and buildings. ii. Making paintings in south central California: a qualitative methodology for differentiating between in situ red rock art pigments using portable XRF, Proceedings of the Society for California Archaeology 28:268–296. Bedford, Clare, David W. Robinson, Fraser Sturt, and Julie Bernard.
http://www.academia.edu/10397684/Bedford_Clare_David_W._Robinson_Fraser_Sturt_and_Julie_Bernard._2014._MAKING_ PAINTINGS_IN_ SOUTH_CENTRAL_CALIFORNIA_A_Qualitative_METHODOLOGY_FOR_DIFFERENTIATING_BETWEEN_IN_SITU_ RED_ROCK_ART_PIGMENTS_USING_ PORTABLE_XRF_Proceedings_of_the_Society_for_California_Archaeology_28_268-296
This technology is supported by a UCLan cross-disciplinary 3D imaging group dedicated to promoting the use of 3D technologies and assessing the suitability of using different technologies in a variety of applications. This equipment provides a very useful tool for examining crime scenes as well as historical/prehistoric rooms and landscapes. It has been used extensively by staff and students in UCLan’s fire investigation department to record experimental fire scenes by forensic science researchers. It also has been used by members of the archaeology department to record the site of a First World War military hospital in a cellar in Auchonvillers in France. This temporary hospital was directly connected to a trench system and still contains graffiti relating to soldiers who were taken there. In addition to the cellar, the museum on site was also scanned with a view to developing an interactive online museum. http://www.uclan.ac.uk/about_us/facilities/3d_scanning.php
iii. SCENE 3D laser scanner software is specifically designed for the FARO Focus3D. SCENE processes and manages scanned data easily and efficiently by using automatic object recognition as well as scan registration and positioning. iv. EVA 2007 Abstract, Resurrecting the digitized body: the use of the ‘scanned in’ body for making artworks. v. Marliene Oliver, http://www.marileneoliver.com/writings/writsartiststat.html vi. Nan Shephard, 1977, The Living Mountain.
vii. Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Notified features include: M2 Sphagnum cuspidatum/recurvum (fallax) bog pool community, M20 Eriophorum vaginatum blanket and raised mire, M25 Molinia caerulea - Potentilla erecta mire, M3 Eriophorum angustifolium bog pool community. viii. Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs) is the name given to the most important non-statutory sites for nature conservation in Manchester and provides a means of protecting sites that are of local interest and importance. SBIs have no legal protection, but do receive some protection through different policies and they must be taken into consideration by the planning authority when planning applications affect the site. Sites are selected using a number of attributes that include; habitat type, diversity and rarity of the species present, and the site’s naturalness. The Greater Manchester Ecology Unit currently classifies Sites of Biological Importance. ix. Tuan Yi-/Fu, ‘Place’ an introduction, Space and Place, 2015. Page 15 x. Tim Ingold, The perception of the environment. To journey along the way of life. Page 219. xi. Mark Paterson, The senses of touch. Page 3. xii. William L Fox, Walking in circles: cognition and science in high places. Page 19. Fox believes that by using: Clue Learning, remembering one object in relation to another; Place Learning, memorizing the distance and direction of landmarks; Response Learning, remembering motor movements; and Dead reckoning where we code where we are in relation to the direction and distance to landmarks, we are able to structure and store spatial information. xiii. Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust. Page 13.
â€˜For the right understanding of a landscape, information must come to the intelligence from all the sensesâ€™ Thomas A Clarke, In praise of walking
Dawn on Cadishead Moss, 2015
Sensorium - the bodyâ€™s management system of the senses.
Reed beds on Astley Moss, 2015
Topophilia. Geographers and philosophers have engaged with writers and artists, often drawn to liminal landscapes and the discussions about haptic perceptions and our relationships with space and place. Studies in phenomenology and existentialism have been central to a new approach in thinking. Deleuze and Guattari offer ideas of smooth and striated space in their essay â€˜A thousand plateausâ€™ i in which they offer ideas of how thought and human relationships are interconnected; in order to achieve understanding of a whole, one must connect with many different elements. Specifically in terms of landscape, smooth and striated spaces are used to describe the nature of human relationships with place. They propose that these two spaces do not sit in opposition but rather there is a constant movement between the two. They suggest that smooth space is achieved through the intimate understanding of place, an awareness and acceptance of the complex nature of places and personal responses to that place. In opposition to this their model suggests that the more a person relies solely on visual interpretations of place to the exclusion of other senses, the more striated the relationship.
These suggestions of understanding and awareness of interconnections to place while walking helped me to observe my own response and decisions whilst walking and subsequently decisions about imagery within my work.
Mossland grasses on Astley Moss, 2014 Detail of The Boundary, Tracy Hill, 2014
Manifold. Tim Moseley cites influential texts and theories with specific reference to haptic perceptions in his paper on the haptic touch of artist books. In this he suggests the idea that there are between 8 and 21 senses making up what is termed a ‘Manifold of senses.’ Moseley identifies that the scale of tactile, aural and visual sensory information produced and received by humans at any one time exceeds our conscious capabilities. Therefore to enable the processing of this information we limit and manage combinations of what we sense depending on the situation: ‘This management occurs across the entire sensory and intellectual apparatus of the body; a space termed the sensorium.’ ii How we determine the combinations of these senses is dependent on the senses available to the individual, the cultural shaping of those senses and the nature of the environment being sensed. Tim Cresswell offers a straightforward definition of place as being: ‘a meaningful location’. iii James Bulley and Daniel Jones explore meaningful locations through the boundaries of sound art, music and place. In ‘Living symphonies’ compositions of sound draw on systems and patterns from the world around us as ways of organizing and creating a relationship between the space and the listener. They state their aim is ‘to provoke some thoughts as to the overwhelming amount of data that is present in our everyday lives and the way in which it is exponentially increasing. The work also allows the viewer to acknowledge the process of listening.’ iv
â€˜Places are very much things to be inside of.â€™ v
The experience that Bulley and Jones provided of being inside the forest invited a focusing of the senses. By being encouraged to pause in the space you were able to use sound and vision together thus experiencing the many layers of the forest eco system. Through physical touch of location and time invested looking and listening you share in moments of heightened awareness and understanding of the many layers of that place.
Living Symphonies, Bulley and Jones, 2014
Boundary. The relationship between technology and human instinct is explored by Eno Henze. By combining traditional media such as drawing with technology which has the capabilities of perfection such as lasers, he can exploit the way the machine is governed by true/false and yes/no rules. Through the application of his own set of rules based on aesthetic judgements he breaks the logic and rules of the machine in order to create his art. With this idea in mind I began selectively removing certain areas of data from the original scan images. This meant the ability to accurately measure the space and map the area was removed, which in mapping and scientific terms rendered the data useless. However visually and aesthetically it provided a greater value; a feeling of movement and depth was created which went some way to sharing the experience of place. Eno Henze, Der Wirklichkeitsschaum, 2007
Experimentations with the size of the dot and the depth of field within the composition also produced interesting results. This abstracted the image further, demanding the viewer look for familiar clues in the shapes and forms. By considering various theories about navigation I began to re-think my intention and how to reimagine these places. Do the viewers need to be able to locate and orientate themselves? When in the landscape one must move through and around to get a full sense of place so should the viewer be made to change their vantage point to read the image? I explored some of these questions by producing a series of intaglio prints. vi
Tracy Hill, Data drawings, 2014
In â€˜The Boundaryâ€™ I split a digital image into sections to create individual panels from which to make etching plates. The traditional intaglio surface of the print was key to the success of the images. The rich matt black surface of the ink creates a depth of saturation within the paper so the contrast between the velvet surface of the black and crisp white detail of the digital image creates a contrast both optically and texturally. The relationship between the aesthetic, handmade surface and the information of the digital image explores the wider relationship between artist and new technology and how it can affect and reimagine a wider understanding of our place in the world. By altering the position of the panels on the wall it was my hope that it would encourage the viewer to move around and across the image looking for the connections, forcing you to observe from a distance in order to visually piece the whole image together. Just as in the mossland itself you must find a vantage point from which to assess the shapes and navigate your route allowing the space to reveal itself a piece at a time. Opposite: The Waste, Tracy Hill, 2014. This page: The Boundary, sketchbook, installation and detail, 2015.
My original intention was to explore the spaces between the residential locations shown on the map – to somehow visualize the hidden histories and geologies of the mosslands – but during the course of this project I have realized that it is not possible to accurately record and map these mossland sites as fixed places and actually I no longer wish to try. If I am exploring my experience through multi-sensory clues as suggested by Moseley and Paterson, should I rely purely on the visual with which to view my art? My experiences of walking in the mosslands of Astley, Cadishead and Little Woolden continue to be full of discoveries. Personal expectations of the spaces and the reality of place through walking are best described by Karen O’Rourke’s of how walking alters our experience: ‘The walk rearranges the landscape and shows us things that from force of habit we have forgotten to see’. vii
Previous pages: The Boundary, Tracy Hill, 2014 Detail from Reclaimed Presence, Tracy Hill, 2015
Cotton Grass in bloom, Cadishead Moss, 2015
Reconsidering again the relationship between digital technology and the aesthetic of the hand-created mark I realized that this would be fundamental when considering new works. It is also important to consider the wider context of exploring the relationship we, as individuals, have with the wider world of technology and data which surrounds us on a daily basis, and how this determines our potential understanding and interactions with space. The experience that Bulley and Jones provided from the physical presence created within a space made me think about my opportunity to work within the final exhibition space. Rather than producing works to be placed in a space I needed to create a sense of location, encouraging the viewer to, as Tuan suggested ‘pause’ and as Cresswell instructs ‘to be inside of’. Deleuze and Guattari remind us that in order to achieve true understanding of place, we must understand the interconnections of human relationships to places. One must acknowledge the complexity of places and personal responses to experiences encountered. The opportunity to work on different perspectives within the space was an exciting consideration; the space chosen offered surfaces reflecting natural light and unexpected angles. As in previous works but specifically, in the ‘The Boundary’, I would have the potential to invite viewers to move around and across the images. I considered creating a series of permanent printed ceramic structures which would invite the viewers to navigate around and over surfaces and imagery simultaneously. This seemed much more appropriate to the experience of navigating the mossland. However, restrictions with production time and process began to impact on the freedom of the work. By working directly with the space without the restrictions of paper or process I would be able to explore the scale and aesthetic interpretation of the data. Through the investment of time and a willingness to explore what is presented, an understanding beyond our normal visual capabilities is offered to the viewer. Through a reconsideration of perceived ideas, connections and imaginations of place can be revealed.
My final decision to present ‘Sensorium’ as a hand-drawn installation reconnects the data with the aesthetic and the surfaces within the space. As the title of the installation implies ‘Sensorium’ draws on combinations of your senses, personal experiences and memory in order to make connections with the visual clues presented in the space. The visual imagery is informed by digital data collected whilst walking in the mossland, offering an analysis of the physical. The decision to create the drawing in charcoal connects to the underlying geology of the place, the view unseen. Finally the hand-drawn mark allows me to reintroduce a connection to the aesthetic, to draw on my personal memories of place and experiences of touch. The very act of making the mark on the surface of the wall carries a connection of place through touch. Textures, boundaries, stability, pathways walked are all transferred experiences of place.
Sensorium, installation, 2015 Photo, Martha Oatway
The transience of the mossland is a characteristic which requires its visitors to draw on senses and an internal awareness of touch. Sensorium is a temporary installation, a brief encounter with an imagining of place. The drawing, not fixed, is slowly moving across the surface of the space and under certain conditions could disappear. This fragility is a direct comparison with the relationship we share with these mossland sites. It is not a fixed view, it is an offering to explore and reconnect with these liminal spaces. This new understanding of how my work can reimagine and engage with place offers exciting future exploration and consideration for presentation. It is my intention to continue building on partnerships, which encourage a cross-disciplinary approach to visual interpretations and imaginings of place.
Sensorium, details, 2015
i. Deleuze and Guattari ‘A Thousand Plateaus’ 1980 is the second part of a philosophical project, Capitalism and Schizophrenia. It is a contemporary philosophical debate offering alternatives for thinking about philosophy and culture. ii. Moseley, Haptic, haptics and the haptic. Page 42. iii. ‘Place’ second edition. Page 12. iv. www.livingsymphonies.com v. Tim Cresswell, Place, second edition. Page 17. vi. A process in which a design is engraved into the surface of a plate so that when ink is applied it sits below the surface and the excess is wiped off; ink remains in the grooves and is transferred to paper through printing on a press, as in engraving or etching. vii. O’Rourke, A Map no directions. Page 68.
Bibliography: Ancient paths, Graham Robb, 2013. Ancient tracks, Des Harmnigan and Simon McBride, 1994. Edgelands, Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, 2011. Ley lines: early British trackways, moats, mounds, camps and sites, Alfred Watkins, 1922. Lines, Tim Ingold, 2007. Medieval roads and tracks, Paul Hindle, 2012. Mountains of the mind, Robert Macfarlane, 2003. Off the map, Alasdair Bonnett, 2014. One place after another, Miwon Kwon, 2004. Packmen, carriers and packhorse roads, David Hey, 1980. Place an introduction, second edition, Tim Cresswell, 2015. Seen on the packhorse tracks, Titus Thornber, 2002. The art of walking, David Evans, 2012. The lie of the land, Ian Vince, 2010. Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane, 2015.
The living mountain, Nan Shepherd, 1977. The map as art, Katherine Harmon, 2009. The old straight track , Alfred Watkins, 1970. The old ways, Robert Macfarlane, 2012. The perception of the environment, Tim Ingold, 2000. The right to roam, Marion Shoard, 1999. The roof of Lancashire, Herbert Collins, 1950. The wetlands of Greater Manchester, North West Wetlands survey 2, 1995. The wild places, Robert Macfarlane, 2007. You are here, personal geographies, Katherine Harmon, 2004. Wanderlust, Rebecca Solnit, 2001. Waterlog, Roger Deakin, 1999. Walking and Mapping, Karen Oâ€™Rourke, 2013. Remaking the landscape: the changing face of Britain, Jennifer Jenkins, 2002. Edgelands: journeys into Englandâ€™s true wilderness, Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, 2011.
Websites and on-line resources: Walking transformed: the dialogics of art and walking by Simon Pope http://cmagazine.com/2014_121_pope.htm On speculative walking: from the peripatetic to the peristaltic by Randy Lee Cutler http://cmagazine.com/2014_121_cutler.htm Walkscapes: Walking as an aesthetic practice, Francesco Careri http://www.walkinginplace.org/converge/iprh/index.htm https://walkart.wordpress.com Presentation by Dr. Les Roberts ‘Liminal landscapes: assembly, enclosure and the West Lancs coast’ (practisingplace.org) http://incertainplaces.org/projects/liminal-landscapes-assembly-enclosure-the-west-lancs-coast-david-jacques-in-conversationwith-les-roberts/ http://www.wigan.gov.uk/Docs/PDF/Resident/Planning-and-Building-Control/Mossland.pdf Interpretation of the carbon landscape – greater Manchester wetlands partnership http://www.healthywaterwaystrust.org.uk/index.php/latest-news/41-interpretation-report http://www.walkingartistsnetwork.org Final report on Carbon trail feasibility pdf. Our beautiful edgelands: A dark light on the edge of town – this Britain UK The independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/our-beautiful-edgelands-a-dark-light-on-the-edge-of-town-2217071.html http://www.geoinvestigate.co.uk/site-investigation-liverpool
Papers and presentations: The art of dwelling: exploring long-term approaches to public art and place. One-day symposium. Birmingham, 2015. The haptic touch of books by artists: Tim Mosely, 2014. PHD paper. Re-thinking the rural: One-day symposium. Preston, 2015. Rural modernity, everyday life and visual culture, Dr Rosemary Shirley. Rituals of extinction: manhunting games in the British outdoor movement, 1890–1914, Jonathon Westaway. Ruskin’s view, Abi Townsend. Freeman’s Wood, John Angus. Geographical imagination: interpretations of nature, art and politics: 4 day conference. Estonia, 2015 Imagining wetlands: geography between wet and dry: Anita Zarina, Imagining wilderness in and through the Pape polder in Latvia. Paolo Gruppuso, Keeping land wet. Tim Cresswell, Looking at spaces of tourism: place branding and spatial stories. Franz Krause, From dilemma to asset and back. Piret Pungas-Kohv, Impressions about mires in Estonian study books. Tara Joly, Growing Muskeg, narratives of reclamation. Les Roberts, Towards a spatial anthropology of wetlands. Caterina Scaramelli, Reinscribing Turkish wetlands. Simon Read, Towards cultural understanding of the value of the intertidal zone. Owain Jones, Within the tides. Andrew Whitehouse, Gull places.
Re-imagining rural mythologies, imagined ruralities and their consumption: Judith Stewart, Anxious subjects and small acts of madness. Abi Townsend, Ruskinâ€™s view. Andrzej Zieleniec, Tartan, shortbread, whiskey and the stag. Rosemary Shirley, Breathing spaces. Chai Sui Hsu, Contested rural in-migrations and myths of farmland in eastern Taiwan. Riva Lava, In(habit)ation of places lost. Richard Rinehart, Country living. Tina Louise Sorensen, Artistic re-mapping of rural. Key note presentations: Matthew Gandy, From Urban ecology to ecological urbanism. Professor David Livingstone, A matter of degree. Professor Karen Oâ€™Brien, Responding to climate change. Professor Stephen Hincliffe, The micro-cene. Professor Hans Joosten, International Mire conservation.
Special thanks: Elspeth Ingleby Anna Keightley David Crawshaw Neil Barnett Claire Bedford
Sensorium, is the resulting body of work created during a 2 year MA in Fine Art, Site and Archive intervention at UCLan. Tracy Hill investi...
Published on Aug 28, 2015
Sensorium, is the resulting body of work created during a 2 year MA in Fine Art, Site and Archive intervention at UCLan. Tracy Hill investi...