Source Materials: A proposal

dispathches from the source 009

In February we welcomed Christo Wallers, a film maker based in Northumberland, to the team of artists working on the Dispatches from the Source project.

This is Christo’s proposal for a 16mm film project in response to a conversation about the ideas we have been exploring so far around source materials. I had also recently discovered that the deep groundwater that feeds the source of Tweed also feeds the sources of Annan and Clyde.

This film project plays upon the shortcomings of primary source material. As you mentioned, the source of a river’s water is impossible to isolate, due to the plurality of sources of water that feed into a spot which is in itself only labelled as the ‘source’ because of a general agreement, as opposed to an empirically provable location.  The source of the river’s water becomes a mise en abyme, as each source has its own source, in an endless cycle of precipitation. 

Artworks are considered primary source materials because they communicate a creative authenticity, a record of a lived moment in time – so the film might stand as a primary source material even if the subject matter can’t be verified as the source.

The film is a photochemical record of the location.  It is more too, because the 16mm film negative will be buried on the spot which the lens focused on, for 6 weeks, resulting in a partial decomposition of the image (deleting source material) through contact with the ‘source’.  It will be the oxygenation, uv damage and micro-organisms living in that very spot that will be responsible for the decomposition, but is that not source material of a degree further veracity, the previous being only an image, the latter being a material record of the place.  Celluloid film, as opposed to digital, is considered indexical, because there is an inherent truth in the fact that light bounced off the pro-filmic object (the spot of ground agreed to be the source of the river) and chemically changed the film frame – as such it is an index of reality.  Digital video, with its translation of the same phenomenon into data that is distributed to a matrix of pixels, cannot make the same claim.  It is an old theory, suggested by Andre Bazin, a French film critic in the 1950’s predominantly.  It feels interesting here because of the notions of source material under investigation.  

Submerged Film Reel

Submerged Film Reel

I would shoot 400′ of 16mm colour negative, at the source of the river Tweed, or the source of a nearer river to you, if that made sense. That would be processed and printed, and the print sent back up to you to bury.  After this time, the print should be exhumed, dried very carefully, and then either run through the projector if it is stable, or I would have an interneg and a print made at the Star and Shadow Cinema, with the help of Mat Fleming.  This print would, if projected at 24fps, last approx 11mins.  For the processing of the print, it occurred to me that the chemistry required could all be made up using water from the same location, including rinse water.  This plays too on the ritualistic quality of the project – burying and exhuming film for the purposes of a quasi-scientific project is kind of a clash of ideologies – the mystical or the ritualistic.

The resulting film would I expect be full of cracks, mould formations, and other signs of decomposition, showing layers of contrast that will be unexpected.  It could be creatively projected in relationship to the choreography.  (Christo Wallers)

So that’s what we are doing.

Christo went to find the source on February 4th.

Dispatches from the Source

Dispatches from the Source

He returned with film documentation, several litres of Tweed Water and a china figurine of a lady with a parasol that he found lying on the ground.

I returned the developed film to the source on February 21st.

I also came back with Tweed Water but for a different purpose. Neil Manning, the farmer who works that land, tells me that it is the best water to add to whisky.

I’ll return in April to find the film and pass it on to Christo for the final process.  In the meanwhile I left a note in case anyone came across it .

Thanks to Neil Manning, farmer at Tweedshaws for permission to bury the film.

Claire Pençak

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Sounds from the Source

As part of a Creative Scotland Artist Bursary project awarded to choreographer Claire Pencak, she went with her collaborators, dancers Merav Israel and Tim Rubidge to find the source of Tweed on June 3rd 2014.

This was a journey towards the beginning of a new piece of choreographic research – Dispatches from the Source. Working with the source of the Tweed as an inspiration, our project is asking questions and exploring ideas thorough improvisation, about source materials in terms of choreography as well as more generally. As one of us remarked, before we see a movement, there are lots of other things that have already happened – so too with rivers.

The first bridge over the Tweed

The first bridge over the Tweed

Here is some source material we gathered – a short field recording. It is the Laverock’s song at the source – in the foreground we hear the Larks and in the background lambs and traffic from the A 701.

Click here to listen https://soundcloud.com/working-the-tweed/source-of-tweed

Young Tweed

Young Tweed

Other questions that have emerged so far through improvisation are :

What comes before a river?

How do you find the source and what are we looking for there?

Can we know anything about the source? What do other species know about the source? Could we know that too?

Here is a second field recording – the sound of Tweed emerging – in the foreground the sound of water dripping from peat with lambs and traffic in the background.

Click here to listen  https://soundcloud.com/working-the-tweed/tweeds-well-lambs-and-traffic

Peat at Tweed's Well

Peat at Tweed’s Well

The source is an emerging place, fed by deeper source material – groundwater – that is not visible to us and shared by other sources.  As the Border rhyme tells us ‘Annan,Tweed and Clyde rise oot the ae hillside‘.

Layman’s Guidebook on how to develop a small hydro site

Archimedes Screws at PhiliphaughAnother rainy day and the Tweed Rivers will be running high – so here’s some ‘light reading’  to help you to to harness some of that hydro energy .

The Layman’s Guide on how to develop a small hydro site: A handbook prepared  for the Commission of the European Communities, Directorate-General for Energy by European Small Hydropower Association (ESHA).   Download the publication here EU_layman’s_guide_to_small_hydro

An updated guide to the above by the Thematic Network on Small Hydropower (TNSHP) includes the developments in engineering and science that have taken place since the first publication. Download here Updated Guide to Small Hydro

We also found this slightly slimmer publication – A Guide to UK Mini Hydro Development by the British Hydropower Association. Download Here A Guide to UK mini-hydro development v3

Be inspired by watching this short video of the Hydro Scheme at Philiphaugh.  https://vimeo.com/121903013

 

Approaching Choreography

Improvisation, Meeting of Ettrick and Yarrow Dancer Tim Rubidge. Photo Kate Foster

Improvisation, Meeting of Ettrick and Yarrow
Dancer Tim Rubidge. Photo Kate Foster

Approaching Choreography is an attempt to articulate a more ecological approach to dance making and choreography through the frames of Placing and Perspective; Pathways Through; Meetings and Points of Contact and Working with Materials and Sites.

It emerged through a series of improvisations and conversations in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland with dancers Merav Israel and Tim Rubidge, environmental artist Kate Foster and writer/researcher Dr. Wallace Heim.

Improvisations, Ettrick Water, May 2014 Photo Kate Foster

Improvisations, Ettrick Water, May 2014
Photo Kate Foster

The idea was produced into a small booklet as part of a collaborative Speculative Ground Project with anthropologists Jen Clarke and Rachel Harkness for the Anthropological Association Decennial Conference, in Edinburgh June 2014.

You can download a PDF of the booklet here:Approaching Choreography

Approaching Choreography is a Tabula Rasa collaboration.

Text and idea:  Claire Pencak

Design: Felicity Bristow

Video Images: Kate Foster

Dancer: Tiim Rubidge

Proposal for Engagement: An action score for place making by Claire Pencak

I had been wondering if there were other ways of considering how we use land that made it easier for more people to be able to engage with ideas around Land Use and feel able to contribute to debates and consultations around these issues. The Scottish Borders along with Aberdeenshire was selected to develop regional pilot Land Use Strategies which will ultimately inform the  revision of the national Land Use Strategy which is to be published  in 2016. In the Scottish Border this regional framework was developed through mapping and a series of public consultations to seek the views of communities. I had been to a few of these and found it tricky to know how to engage with it as someone that isn’t a land manager or land owner.

I wondered what might be a choreographic response to thinking about habitat and Land Use?

Current ideas around place-making seemed like a good start and I wanted to think about it from more than just the human perspective as it is an ecological issue.

What emerged out of several days of improvisations beside the Ettrick and Yarrow Waters in the Scottish Borders and the East and West Allen Rivers in Northumberland was the idea of habitat as action places and being a score for improvisation.

Improvisation beside dry river bed, River Allen,  May 2014 . Dancer Tim Rubidge.

Improvisation beside dry river bed, River Allen, May 2014 . Dancer Tim Rubidge.

What do I mean by score? A score suggests ways to proceed. It is a framework to assist imaginative engagement, a way into improvisation and playful encounters.

Here then are sixty ways that habitat might be considered by the diversity of species that use it –birds, fish, insects, mammals, plants and trees. They suggest potential zones of action – on the ground, under the ground and over ground; on the water, underwater and in the air.

Consider them as a way in to thinking about land use.

Resting Place                    Feeding Place                   Reflecting Place

Meeting Place                   Parting Place                     Growing Place

Fishing Place                    Nesting Place                    Gathering Place

Watering Place                 Flooding Place                   Grazing Place

Drowning Place                Building Place                     Crossing Place

Flying Place                      Exploring Place                   Swimming Place

Washing Place                  Hunting Place                     Waiting Place

Stalking Place                   Dying Place                         Passing Place

Seeping Place                   Learning Place                   Singing Place

Teaching Place                 Dancing Place                    Mating Place

Calling Place                     Swinging Place                   Perching Place

Hovering Place                  Playing Place                     Sheltering Place

Disputing Place                 Flowing Place                     Healing Place

Fighting Place                   Dividing Place                     Joining Place

Listening Place                  Hiding Place                       Lingering Place

Trysting Place                   Climbing Place                   Overhanging Place

Killing Place                       Digging Place                     Birthing Place

Flowering Place                 Falling Place                      Catching Place

Leaping Place                   Sowing Place                      Harvesting Place

Storing Place                     Burying Place                     Drying Place

How to use the score.

Cut them up, share them out, read them out.

Explore them through drawing, dancing, mapping and conversation.

Use them as a starting point for writing, photography, music making, walking or quiet contemplation.

Add to the list by creating your own.

Pass them on.

Download the ‘score’ here Action Score for Place Making

Claire Pencak, March 2015

This work is being supported through a Creative Scotland Artist Bursary.

A Gathering of Waters: catchment poem

A Tweed Catchment poem

Read them aloud to really taste the waters.

Tweeds Well Cor Water Smidhope Burn Glencraigie Burn Pipershole Burn Badlieu Burn Old Burn Peddrire Burn Glenwhappen Burn Fingland Burn Hawkshaw Burn Hallo Burn Rigs Burn Fruid Water Longslack Hallo Burn Gala Burn Biggar Water Holms Water Lyne Water Manor Water Ugly Grain Langhale Burn New Holm Hope Burn Dry Cleugh Kirkhope Burn Linghope Burn Horsiehope Burn Mill Burn Tower Burn Hallmanor Burn Hundleshope Burn Ternies Burn Rae Burn The Glack Belanrig Ditch Glensax Burn Stakelaw Burn Shortstrands Meldon Burn Eddleston Water  Fairy Dean Burn Longcote Burn Whitelaw Burn  Dean Burn  Wormiston Burn  Gill Burn Edderston Burn Soonhope Burn Kittlegary Burn Common Burn Haystoyn Burn  Waddenshope Burn Linn Burn Kailzie Burn Kirk Burn Dirtpot Burn Fawn Burn Kay’s Burn Quair Water Kirk Burn Banks Burn Gumscleugh Burn Peat Burn Deuchar Burn Blair Burn Weil Burn Fethan Burn Glass Burn Violet Burn Redmore Burn Newhall Burn Curly Burn Paddy Burn Hannel Burn Dean Burn Blacksike Fingland Burn Campshiel Burn Taniel Stell Burn Armour Burn Leithen  Bowbeat Burn Craig Hope Burn Luce Burn Huthope Burn Purlukas Burn Back Burn North Grain South Grain Williamslee Burn Denly Burn Leithen Door Burn March Burn Glentress Water Dewar Burn Rothmoss Burn Whitecleuch Burn Gill Well Black Grain Wolf Cleugh Long Grain Middle Burn Kitty’s Cleuch Burn North Grain South Grain Rae Cleuch Blackhopebyre Burn Razorscar Burn Landlaw Well Glentress Burn Whitehope  Burn Woolhope Burn Hope Burn Perlego Syke Mousedean Burn Harpershiels Shaw Burn Lee Burn Middle Burn Blinkbonny Burn Pious Dean Walkerburn Thorter Syke West Grain Priesthope Burn Minchmore Burn Glenmead Burn Glenbenna Burn Bold Burn Scrogbank Burn Stonegrain Brummycleuch Caberston Grain Seathope Burn Corgay Sike Gatehopenow Burn Slade Sike Back Burn Perlooie Burn Hollylee Burn Caddon Water Lugate Water Hope Burn Fore Burn moveBack Burn Gately Burn Nether Shiels Burn Calfhope Burn Thrashie Burn Ewes Water Fernie Grain Sit Burn Cockholm Burn Nethertown Burn Pirntaton Burn Still Burn Comely Burn Howliston Burn Toddle Burn Brockhouse Burn Shoestanes Burn Brothershiels Burn Armet Water Heriot Water Tathiesknowe Burn Ladyside Burn Gala Water Crosslee Burn Halk Burn Crumside Burn Soonhope Burn Leader Water Linn Dean Water Headshaw Burn Mean Burn Hillhouse Burn Kelphope Burn Cleekhimin  Burn Whaplaw Burn Jocks Burn Earnscleugh Water Harry Burn Lauder Burn Snawdon  Burn Blythe Water Wheel Burn Wester Burn  Easter Burn Brunta Burn Boondreigh Water Strudon Burn Packman’s Burn Bogle Burn Kelly Burn Eden Water Redden Burn Yarrow Water Altrieve Burn Eldinhope Burn Whitehope Burn Wurtus Burn Black Sike Hangingshaw Burn Gruntly Burn Mountbenger Burn Catslack Burn Craigshope Burn Lewenshope Burn Ettrick Water Entertrona Burn Longhope Burn East Grain Coomb Burn  Broadgairhill Burn Glendearg Burn Phawhope Burn Kirkhope Burn Brochhope Burn Master Grain East Grain Back Burn Black Grain Cossarshill Burn Scabcleuch Burn Kirk Burn Tima Water Over Dalgeish Burn Nether Dalgeish Burn Tairlaw Burn Glenkerry Burn Dunhope Sike Stairlaw Burn Crow Burn Phenzhopehaugh Burn Killing Sike Stanhope Burn Warleshope Burn Dunhope Burn Shorthope Ske Rushy Sike Tinker Sike Boor Sike Deephope Sike Blackbird Sike Deloraine Burn Foster Linns Potloch Burn Whitehill Sike Blind Burn Whitehillshiel Burn Gilldiesgreen Burn Baillie Burn Dodhead Burn Dodhead Grain Little Thorniecleuch Burn Thorniecleuch Burn Bellendean Burn Crookedloch Sike Kingsideloch Sike Byrelee Burn Yoke Burn Rough Grain  Kings Grain  Hopehouse Burn Tushielaw Burn Smail Burn Rankle Burn Clear Burn Little Burn Priest Sike Milsey Burn Crosslee Burn Ale Water Boglie Sike Bleakhill Burn Gowdie Sike Black Sike  Mid Sike  Woll Burn River Teviot Worms Cleuch Ewesdown Sike Lambs Cleuch Allan Water Linhope Burn Frostlie Burn Corrie Sike Phaup Burn Limie Sike Hare Sike Black Cleuch Limiecleuch Burn Hazelhope Burn Lairhope Burn Dovecot Burn Nest Burn Weens Sike Borthwick Water Aithouse Burn Cromrig Burn Southdean Burn Northhouse Burn Back Burn Teindside Burn Newmill Burn Ropelaw Sike Hay Sike Rankle Burn Wolfcleuch Burn Northhope Burn Dirthope Burn Nitshiel Sike Wood Burn Camp Burn Hoscote Burn Merchelyton Burn Wilton Burn Cala Burn Boonraw Burn Hassendean Burn Grinding Burn Leap Burn Flosh Burn Harwood Burn Midburn Langside Burn Priesthaugh Burn Skelfhill Burn Dod Burn Allan Water Slitrig Water Flex Burn Horseley Burn March Sike Acreknowe Burn Pagton Burn Barns Burn Gibby’s Sike Lang Burn Brown’s Sike Rope Sike Grey Mare’s Sike Kiln Sike Steel Sike Long Sike Leap Burn Blind Sike Honey Burn Hawk Burn Tower Burn Rule Water Hawthornside Burn Hob’s Burn Hallrule  Burn Dyke’s Burn Wolfhopelee Burn Catlee Burn Hass Sike Bracken Sike Redstone Sike Common Sike Pench Rise Burn Cogsmill Burn Jed Water Bowmont Water Leet Water Lambden Burn Faseny Water Wedderlie Burn Mid Burn Edgar Burn Blackadder Stoney Park Burn Foul Burn Black Rig Burn Wellrig Burn Bogpark Burn Millknowe Burn Fangrist Burn Langton Burn Kirk Burn Lintlaw Burn Fosterland Burn Draden Burn Billiemire Burn Whiteadder Kale Water Eden Water River Till Finger Burn Simprin Burn Horndean Burn

Compiled by Claire Pençak and James Wyness for Working the Tweed in 2013.

Young Water / Old Water

We spent a sunny day last May working on the edge of the Ettrick Water at Philiphaugh, a stone’s throw from the hydro turbines. It was the first few days of a project working with dancers and movement improvisation to explore what an ecological approach to choreography might be.

Improvisations, Tim Rubidge at Ettrick Water, May 2014. Photo Claire Pencak

Improvisations, Tim Rubidge at Ettrick Water, May 2014. Photo Claire Pencak

The collaborators on this were Claire Pençak, choreographer, dancers Merav Israel and Tim Rubidge and environmental artist Kate Foster.

One of the questions that emerged from this process was – How long would it take for a droplet of water to travel from the source to the mouth of Tweed?

This was the fascinating email from Professor Chris Soulsby, Chair in Hydrology, University of Aberdeen in response to our question.

‘What may seem a simple question actually has a very complex answer!

 I’ll start simple, for water molecules (water may enter the catchment as rain DROPS, but it’s better to think of the subsequent movement through the landscape as individual molecules) to travel from the source to the mouth of the Tweed RIVER SYSTEM will – as you say – depend on flow rates. In really wet conditions, it would probably take only a day or two. In dry weather, it might be a week or two.

But, water is only in the river for a very short proportion of its overall “residence time” in the Tweed CATCHMENT. Only a tiny (<0.01%) proportion of rain falls on the river channel, most will fall over the catchment land surface. There it may follow a bewilderingly complicated spectrum of possible flow paths to the river channel (depending on where you are geographically and whether it’s wet or dry). At one extreme end of the spectrum, rain may fall on a road surface, rapidly drain down the gutter in to storm drains and get to the river in a matter of minutes. The same rapid transport could happen in mountains if rain falls over bare rock and rapidly runs off in to mountain streams. At the other end of the spectrum it may fall on dry soils and slowly drain into groundwater in the underlying bedrock where (in the sedimentary sandstones in the lower Tweed) it make take decades or centuries to reach the river channel.

So the water in the river channel at any point in time is an integrated collection of water flows from these different sort of flow paths (specialists talk about a rivers “transit time distribution” to acknowledge this. In the winter and during wet periods, the water “age” will be biased to the rapid, short term flow paths and may be an average of several weeks/months old (in other words, most fell as rain in the previous few months).  In summer low flows, the water in the river will be dominated from deeper groundwater contributions and might be – on average – decades old.  But, these “ages” are averages of water that has a spectrum of ages. So, almost at any time SOME of the water in the river will have fallen in the past few months and SOME will have fallen before – say – the Battle of Flodden. The relative proportions shift depending upon how wet the weather is (when its wet the water is on average younger, as it dries the water is older).

In other words the water in the river is not only integrating everything that has happened over the large area of the catchment, but (to get back to your question) it’s integrating through history. That’s why protection of water is so important; for example agricultural or industrial pollutants input into the catchment today, may still be draining into the river in hundreds of years’ time!

 June 1st 2014

Improvisations, Tim, Kate and Merav, Philiphaugh Hydro Ettrick Water, May 2014.  Photo Claire Pencak

Improvisations, Tim, Kate and Merav, Philiphaugh Hydro Ettrick Water, May 2014. Photo Claire Pencak

Improvisations on Paper:, Ettrick Water May 2014 Photo Claire Pencak

Improvisations on Paper:, Ettrick Water May 2014
Photo Claire Pencak