2 September 1999
>Well I'm back, not quite raring to go but ready to get started,
I hope you had a good time? I'm not actually ready to get started - more than we have already, that is - because I've got to get the new Bettany Press book to the printers before our official start on the 11th, and it's a week behind because of the work that I have been doing on the project so far. On the 15th I'm also giving the exhibition talk for the "Adorn, Equip" work-in-progress show at Leicester City Gallery, and I want to write that before the 11th too. And I'm hoping that I might be able to get the new computer before then too, because it would make life much easier: your last set of images took half an hour to download on my poor old Mac (top of the range and hideously expensive five years ago - it's enough to make you weep ;) Oh, and I've got two daytime meetings next week that will leave me too tired to do anything afterwards.
But I can continue to brainstorm, like we're doing now, I just can't do anything too time-consuming cos it's all consumed already! (I've got Tim's copy of the monks' timetable framed in the toilet ;)
>I've been re-reading the E-mails and looking into parts I've overlooked and things we have in common.
I felt before you went away that we'd already tuned into each other surprisingly well - the Net seems to enable that in a way that letters just don't, at least for me. Someone once made the analogy to me between the Net and the Celtic notion of the web connecting the world, and it often seems to me that the Net is the realisation of that idea.
>Tim's not here at the moment, but l will talk to him and others about the set-up of the computer and getting better images.
The images I'm getting aren't bad, actually - it's the download time that's causing me problems at the moment.
>looked at your ideas about a web-site, seems fine to me, but with my limited experience of technology it's all just great.
Ignore the technology and just think about the structure - the technology's just there to enable it.
>It seems very much like the format l used for essays at college.
Oh dear, I hope that yours were more interesting than mine!
>I've been thinking about the use of natural materials, l need to get over soon as l wasn't looking at it with an agenda before. There is a small wood to the east of the priory, which l imagine would yield some resources, I'll have a search. I'm hoping to go over at the weekend,either Saturday for a day or Monday for two/three days.
That would be very helpful. We do have a materials budget, too - at least that's what the initial information says - so we can see what's available and then take it from there.
>I need to evaluate what needs to be done at this stage, whatever I'll take photos. I was wondering what you thought about me keeping a visual diary for every day I am there, using sketches, photos, found objects, written thoughts etc.
That would be a very useful way of communicating with me, I think.
>Have you seen any of Richard Long's work, his work is on the internet. He goes for long walks, often in remote places, takes photos, records thoughts and makes sculptural works, often circles of one kind or an other.
I haven't, but one thing I do want to do asap is to look again at other artists' work in this field, so long as I can do it without being influenced. Is there anyone else you'd recommend in particular?
>I liked the idea of a variety of small projects, was wondering if you had thought about linking them together in any way.
I think we'll have to see how things develop . . . obviously they'll all be linked to the site in some way, so that's a theme in itself. I think that we should aim to spend the first week doing some intensive development work, rather than actually producing something. You never know, we may go back to doing one big project after that anyway!
>I've enclosed a sketch of a Mobile, although not of natural materials, unless we can find a good source of clay around.
I haven't looked at this yet, because I'm on deadline with two print projects, but will at the weekend. I like the idea of things that hang in the wind and move, including, as I said before, using materials that produce some kind of sound.
>I wanted some how to represent the people who once lived there, but without a full human image. A fragment, an essence, like the one you feel when someone important to you leaves the room.
My assumption is - without having been there - that the whole site feels like that. It's been my experience with other, similar sites anyway. Is that how it feels? If so, are there places where this is more intense than others? That might be another criteria for choosing settings.
>I've been told by Liz that my base at the priory will now be a hut, lined and with electricity. I've called it Rita's Cell, a place to work and get into ny head.
Sounds great - I'll look forward to seeing it via your photos.
>As long as l don't have to go to church l don't mind.
>I've also just heard that the priory is famous for its stoats, not weasels as i previously mentioned.
I'm not sure that I could tell the difference! It's the same kind of image, isn't it? I remember that during my undergraduate days a student in a neighbouring bedsit bought two ferrets and built a cage for them in the back yard. He was very sarcastic when I said that I didn't feel it would hold them, but it proved to be true when they escaped and one was recaptured in an old people's home down the road and was delivered back by the police! I'm afraid that I couldn't resist giftwrapping the box it was returned it before leaving it outside his door ;-)
>other quite prominent wild life is around the pond at the front. They have quite a lot of semi-tamed ducks, geese and the odd pheasant.
I wonder what birds and animals the monks would have had? They didn't eat red meat, did they? But they would have had hens, and a fish pond, and perhaps ducks?
>Another thought I have had is connected with time, l have a funny book that talks about spot dialling, sort of making a large sun dial, will enclose a little more.
I think that finding a way to use the light would be great. Whether or not we actually make a sundial, creating something that throws shadows would be interesting, perhaps against a wall, or across grass. Shadows would also tie in with the idea of traces of the people who used to live there, particularly as they appear and disappear. If there is dead wood available, perhaps we might use this? I also like wood because it's organic, and because of the inner rings that form over time.
I like too the idea of incorporating something that reflects light - water rather than mirrors or other artificial reflective surfaces - I don't quite know why, but that seems to me to be connected to time as well. I also like the way in which the reflection then distorts or disappears when the water is touched or blown by the wind (I don't know why, but I get the impression from your descriptions that the site is quite windy - is it?).
>I also keep getting images of words, sort of latin words, as used in prayer or services of the time they would have been ssaid at the priory. These are vague, fragmented and floating around somewhere in infinity.
Perhaps we should try to find out whether there is one phrase in particular that is relevant to the Carthusians, and do something with this. I'm quite willing to do more research, but still need the resource material in order to do so.
>I've got more time to be in the office now, and will come in to respond to any mail reasonably quickly, as l feel we need to get things moving,
As I've said, I can't do much before the official start date now, but can continue to brainstorm.
>oops! do l sound too pushing, I'm afraid it's one of my traits.
Fear not, I can cope - in fact, it's probably just as well if we're working together ;-)
>For a little light relief I'll send you a few pages of an old book I've got called The Practical Way To Keep Fit, nothing to do with the project, just some fun.
Fun is always welcome! I enjoyed Alone of All Her Sex, although it didn't actually inspire any new thoughts on the Mary/Goddess connection.
>Look forward to hearing from you soon, Rita.
All the best
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