1/7/22 (Safe Spaces)

Greetings! I’ve spent the last week trying to write three different ideas for today’s post, and have decided to leave them for a bit – more research required. You’ll find me at Hawick library reading bits of the Hawick Archaeological Society’s Transactions. I’ve been horrified to discover a few books in the local history section that are essentially copy-paste jobs from wikipedia from several years back. I get that it’s probably a good thing to have a paper record of stuff that might not be digitally accessible all the time, but they’re so badly done it’s unreal! There’s one on the people of Hawick, including only one woman from the town, who’s actually a living writer. There are whole columns of the section about her life and work that are sliced in two and therefore unreadable. Who buys these books? I could copy-paste better than that!

We had a Moving Image Makers Collective meeting last night, and although it was pretty quiet, we had a solid handful of folk with new work to share and to chat about. We’re finding ourselves talking about our environment and the land around us at recent meetings, about boundaries and secret places and how we relate to space and earth on film. I shared a work in progress that’s about 9 minutes long at the moment (but doesn’t feel like it’s that long, I promise).

I called it Location unknown, although where it’s shot isn’t a secret. Here are some stills from it. It’s in three sections and is about finding safe spaces within landscape and nature, and maybe also the importance of learning the names of nature stuff. It’s great that birdsong is nice and tweety and sets the scene for a woodland with dappled light, but it’s important to take notice, and think about the things that combine to make it possible. That sound of a curlew was a delight to hear, something that only a few decades ago, would have been so much more common. It’s important.
I learned later that the little cave is marked as the praying hole on a local map, and is still used for religious services. I as usual, am unsure I felt any great spiritual presence, but something did drip on me when I was in there.

So anyway, here’s something that’s a cross between the notes I was making as I started to put the bits of video together and a poem..

Location Unknown
I didn’t want the app to know
I was in that exact place at that exact time
The GPU is unavailable
I just want to add two words
To my film about the birds
Made on a course
For writing.
What’s a location, as opposed to a place?
sterile, or just digital, but not
Specific enough either
Restarting. Again.
Please work this time.
I don’t know the place I’m in
But that cave was almost safe
Drips and history
Trees that must be ancient
A friendly Beech stands sentinel
Rocks placed softly on the forest floor
Can I just stay here
Damp shorts
Cold water
Reminds me I’m an animal
Fight to survive
Kick the water
Hit the rocks
Scabs for days
Unbrushed hair
Finally exporting

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