‘Warm up’, opening exhibition at Forest Centre+

Earlier this year, I took up a residency at Forest Centre+ for a month. I blogged about my activities here on this blog. Mainly I was writing about my Emily Dickinson reading performance. Now that I’ve been asked to contribute to the opening exhibition of Forest Centre+’s gallery space, I’ve gone back to a different aspect of my residency.

The work I’ve put into the exhibition is from a collaboration with Leiza McLeod. We’ve worked over a long period of time on a text called This Is Not The Place, which records walks taken simultaneously by the two of us. Instead of walking alongside each other, we either converge on a point or diverge from a point. It’s literally an exploratory process, and we record our thoughts and observations of the things we see as we go into a dictaphone, to be transcribed and edited, then turned into a performance script.

When Leiza was last up in Edinburgh from Bristol, during my April residency, we performed a version of this work inside the empty Forest Centre+ in the space which is now partly the Interview Room 11 Gallery. After reading the This Is Not The Place script, we unravelled two long paper ribbons of text (one with Leiza’s words, one with mine) out of the windows of the Forest Centre+ building into the ever-present wind pushing up the tall building between it and the castle rock.

The April This Is Not The Place performance was filmed, and in the exhibition I’ve put in an edited version of the footage, alongside the retrieved paper ribbons, now attached to a printed pamphlet of our text.

I’ve been in the gallery, installing over the weekend and am delighted with the quality of work I’m showing alongside. There’s a good range, including sculpture, painting, film and interventional installation. One thing that’s already apparent about the new Gallery space is how much more is possible with it than at Forest’s previous, tiny, TotalKunst art gallery. It really gives everything room to disclose itself, and allows conversations between the different work in an uncluttered way.

The exhibition opens on Tuesday night, 5.30–7.30pm 1st October 2013. It would be lovely to see any of my Edinburgh folk there. The entrance is at 38 Castle Terrace, EH3 9SJ.

 

Here’s the poster,

Forest Centre+ Warm Up poster

 

here’s a working shot of my piece during installation to give you a flavour,

Iain Morrison This Is Not The Place

and more event details are on facebook here.

(West Port late on a Saturday night. Someone’s making monkey noises outside in the street, not threatening. Not sure what that’s all about.)

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Swinburne says it in lines of equal measure

o

o

Hendecasyllabics

by  Algernon Charles Swinburne

 

In the month of the long decline of roses
I, beholding the summer dead before me,
Set my face to the sea and journeyed silent,
Gazing eagerly where above the sea-mark
Flame as fierce as the fervid eyes of lions
Half divided the eyelids of the sunset;
Till I heard as it were a noise of waters
Moving tremulous under feet of angels
Multitudinous, out of all the heavens;
Knew the fluttering wind, the fluttered foliage,
Shaken fitfully, full of sound and shadow;
And saw, trodden upon by noiseless angels,
Long mysterious reaches fed with moonlight,
Sweet sad straits in a soft subsiding channel,
Blown about by the lips of winds I knew not,
Winds not born in the north nor any quarter,
Winds not warm with the south nor any sunshine;
Heard between them a voice of exultation,
“Lo, the summer is dead, the sun is faded,
Even like as a leaf the year is withered,
All the fruits of the day from all her branches
Gathered, neither is any left to gather.
All the flowers are dead, the tender blossoms,
All are taken away; the season wasted,
Like an ember among the fallen ashes.
Now with light of the winter days, with moonlight,
Light of snow, and the bitter light of hoarfrost,
We bring flowers that fade not after autumn,
Pale white chaplets and crowns of latter seasons,
Fair false leaves (but the summer leaves were falser),
Woven under the eyes of stars and planets
When low light was upon the windy reaches
Where the flower of foam was blown, a lily
Dropt among the sonorous fruitless furrows
And green fields of the sea that make no pasture:
Since the winter begins, the weeping winter,
All whose flowers are tears, and round his temples
Iron blossom of frost is bound for ever.”

Up late, writing

…and the last line of this poem by Cavafy (trans. Keeley/Sherrard) came into my head.

 

My work, I’m very careful about it, and I love it.
But today I’m discouraged by how slowly it’s going.
The day has affected my mood.
It gets darker and darker. Endless wind and rain.
I’m more in the mood for looking than for writing.
In this picture, I’m now gazing at a handsome boy
who is lying down close to a spring,
exhausted from running.
What a handsome boy; what a heavenly noon
has caught him up in sleep.
I sit and gaze like this for a long time,
recovering through art from the effort of creating it.

 

It’s an old favourite, and I always love the circularity of the relief the poem brings even while it implies a complaint about the effort of its own creation and shows the writer in a long moment of delicious distraction. It shouldn’t work, but it deeply does.

Thanks to the official Cavafy archive for posting it up online.

Drafting on the move, Scotrail-style

I like writing on trains. Nice to be back with a pen in hand for redrafts too. This is me back in June working on a poem about the Forth estuary and industry on a train from Fife to Edinburgh, appropriately enough.

Iain Morrison writing on the train

I read a version of this poem, Tied, at David Faithfull’s recent Earth, Wind & Fission exhibition in Haddington at the Peter Potter Gallery recently. Also reading was Samantha Walton, and we interleaved our poems on related Forth valley subjects. We’re hoping to get them into print together at some point. TBC.