A WALK HOME
ANDREW & EDEN KÖTTING
My daughter Eden will be dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and with her walking frame she will lead a procession of Folkloricists through a forest. The event will be filmed using high-end HD cameras, dollies and cranes. It will then be edited into an eighteen-minute time-line and projected onto a cloudy night sky above the city. A soundtrack will be made available via a telephone app as well as through a live Radio 4 broadcast.
Roadside Picnic? - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
The kid was walking lightly, cheerfully, as if she hadn’t spent two agonizing hours inside the damp forest on the bare hill in restless sleep, huddling with her father for warmth, waiting out the torrent of green slide that was flowing around the hill and disappearing into the ravine.
Eden is my anima, adjunct and inspirator. With her I have journeyed to the Otherside. She loves to dress up and I love to walk beside her. Dorothy as a precursor to the revolution and cypher for fantasy and time travel.
Why The Folkloricists?
Spectacular, pagan and secular, they are metaphor for both The Pre-religious and The Post-modern. A clumsy snake of celebration and quiet ambition, a compelling reflex against the pull of the Up-to-date. A human river, curious in its reaction to the drudge of deep greenery. Whatever their particular interests, Folklorists recognise the value of experience-based knowledge and the artfulness of everyday life. The cultural, educational, historical, and political questions Folklorists raise place the ground at the heart of contemporary life. Folklore is the primary field of all of humanity. It loves dressing up.
Why the forest?
Because it is not all birdsong, wild honey and bluebells. The forest is more than just poetry and does not need to speak. The forest is nature and nature becomes landscape by fixing a gaze. Placing it within the frame it becomes a cultural space. A place that resonates. (Somewhere like Kings Wood near Canterbury or Bedgebury Forest in Kent.) The chosen location might be regarded as outside of time. The landscape is its own metaphor. Woodlands are managed and controlled and thus is the procession of celebrants. So that the arboreal ethnicity might loom above the city.
Why the city?
Charged site of consequence. Major business and financial hub, invariably established by merchants and the melting pot for all things cultural and significant. Besides, Arcadia was imagined in both Greece and Rome as a wooded, rocky place, the haunt of satyrs and the realm of Pan. The city springs from the motherwood of Rhea Silvia, where wild men and jack-in-the-greens issue forth from the trunks of old oaks. Tin shacks hurtle overhead. I have never been to Kansas but I have spent most of my life living in a city and the forest. This is an invasion. Heads up towards the skies as the Lady and Toto pass by.
Why the procession?
The procession is a day of judgment; away from the pox of settled existence and towards the gleam of the unknown. The serpentine amble of costumed humans is a celebration of fallibility; we don’t know why they are doing it but they are doing it nonetheless. Eden will lead the procession in a sensual, ritualistic performance. An immense rabble and locomotion without a goal.
How the projection?
Outdoor laser image configurator. For eighteen minutes twice a year. Eighteen minutes before midnight on the summer solstice and eighteen minutes before midnight on the winter solstice. Onto a cloud of shift, a cloud of magnificence, vapour displays over the cityscape. Ephemeral apparition and ghost-like specter. A man-made enigma burnt into the night skies. Urban alchemy and digital jiggery pokery. Helicopters and smoke canons.
What of the ambition?
Upwards towards the sublime, ever-tending and mindful of the universal yet local and pragmatic in its vision, almost level with the ground. What’s more Mikhail Bakhtin believes that this type of happening is a theatrical expression of life experience and he should know, because like Michel de Montaigne he went all round the houses.
Landscape and memory?
Landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected as a vision onto water, mortar and city. Once the smoke clears we are left with what we never had before; the memory.
Why the app?
The app would contain the sound design for the spectacle. Multi-layered and radiophonically mixed. A complicated mulch of native dialects, field recordings, scratchy archive and mangled information. (Much might be mulled, culled or curated from the beautiful Saydisc Record Series). The soundtrack would be free to download and would escort all projections of the work.
There would also be a live Radio 4 broadcast, designed to accompany the projection. (The collaboration between Channel 4 and Radio 3 when they presented Derek Jarman’s Blue remains branded on the brain).
The End of Faith? - Sam Harris
This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name. The consciousness that animates us is itself central to this mystery and the ground for any experience we might wish to call ‘spiritual’. No myths need be embraced for us to commune with the profundity of our circumstance. Follow the yellow brick road and all will be revealed.
A WALK HOME is the life, the gathering, the letting go and the accidental encounter. It is a dialogue with the natural world, memory fugue anecdote, the nudge forward, the confession and the transference. It is the pilgrimage, the weather and a preview of purgatory and heaven. The long deep breath and the pant of up-hill mortality. The psyche and its’ geography, autobiography and universality. It is the way and the light and a right fucking carryon.
An antidote to when the world turns ugly.