Week 2 has been an immersive workshop week. Heads down, walking boots put away. Cabin fever had begun to set in by about Thursday and so we wiled away one tea time planning our next walk. Emily and I have both been reading Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain and both being from a reasonable distance away felt the need to make a day trip to the edge of the Cairngorms before our time here was up. The drive there was more arduous than expected, as we chose to go through Tomintoul (I counted at least 6 red phone boxes on the way there) and Aviemore felt like an outlet village for a European ski village, quaint but touristy, unsettling after our relatively rural stint in Lumsden. Not feeling ridiculously adventurous or in the mood for snow gear we settled upon Meall a’ Bhuachaille just up past the Glenmore Forest Park with great views across the bigger mountains.
We passed just enough other walkers to not feel too disconcerted by the continuously changing weather or that we had to share our walking with much of a crowd, though our walking gear did not quite stand up against the full kit of most of the walkers we met, equipped with everything from poles and gaiters to pick axes and snow masks. Mediating on walking and looking, looking and walking, reaching the summit first gave us time to alter our goal for a more ramble-y route back.
Thinking about siting artworks, and looking, and the aims of walking out into the ‘landscape’, there is something of a siting/installation/mounting tangle going on at the moment. A work that creates a pause in walking, a moment for ‘looking’ closer/deeper/wider. Potentially it could become a portable pause, an apparatus to be carried over and across the environment to create a new space for looking/listening/seeing. The word looking has become something else through repetition, though it is morphing into a slightly different concept. Seeing is too much about understanding, looking is too shallow, it has become the search for a deeper looking, a looking with more than one sense, an immersive looking, a feeling-looking.
The search continues. The last week is already upon us and the end is in tangible sight but there is a lot yet to be done. Back to the workshops. More updates to follow.