Desire lines

‘desire lines’ is the title of this collaborative pilot project led by artist Andrew Henon supported by SEED Sedgemoor and Arts Council England

The essence of the project

“A number of walks, talks, conversations and workshops enabling people to explore and share ideas, stories and in the near future work towards sharing them more widely, on the internet, at an event and exhibition”

If you would like to become involved in the project as a participant, contributor or audience observer please contact Andrew direct and e-mail mondaystudio@mondaystudio.co.uk we welcome your input to help shape and grow the project contributing your ideas, stories and participation. There are various ways to get involved, come with us on a walk, join us at a site of interest or venue, open up a conversation or share your own story and lived experience.

Andrew Henon photo
Morag Kiziewicz

Introductions

Artist Andrew Henon is leading this project located in Sedgemoor. The project explores creative responses during a number of walks, site visits and social encounters. It explores issues and challenges of re-wilding of the human spirit, enabling and empowerment. An exploration of our own lived experience through creative methods and media.

During the project historic connections with the ‘Romantic’ movement of poets, scientific thinking and contemporary art practices will be considered and re-contextualised with our present lived experiences and an environment enabled where visions of a re-imagined future may be shared.

“We all have our own, physical, mental and emotional feelings and responses to what we have experienced since the first cases of COVID19 were announced in December 2019. We have all been forced into situations that have made us reflect on the past, review the current circumstances we are living through and consider how we deal with an uncertain future, including the challenge of climate change”

An ambitious project from a small seed

This project is ambitious; it starts from seemingly small beginnings that can grow, perhaps in unexpected or as yet unforeseen ways. The issues and challenges we all face are large, complex and can seem overwhelming therefore this project starts from a very simple idea.

The project seeks to explore possibilities of connecting communities through shared creative experience of art and poetry. At this early stage it is intended that a creative frame work and open organic structure will be facilitated within which people can be enabled and empowered to satisfy their own creative, individual and collective needs and thereby contribute towards the projects form and growth.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sedgemoor-boundaries.jpg
Sedgemoor Southern Boundaries ‘The Levels have no bounds’

None of us are safe until all of us are safe

Our individual experiences relate to our shared experiences in the face of adversity. We have threads and experiences we can all relate to, connect us all to each other, particularly when considering the phrase used during the vaccination programme ‘none of us are safe until all of us are safe’ how do we move on, make the changes we want to make and re-create the world around us? How do we find the creative energy, resilience and empowerment to deal with change, especially for those of us with post viral conditions or health issues impacted directly or indirectly by the pandemic?

We all have our own stories individual and shared

“The specific, unique and individual nature of our lives can connect and merge through what is common and shared with others

The recent mass experience of the COVID19 Pandemic has forced us to distance ourselves from one another whilst at the same time empathise and share a common objective. The effects on our wellbeing and health have been profound, a massive shock to our, cultures, social fabric and wellbeing. No one yet knows what this will mean for us in the future. There has not only been grief and loss of loved ones, friends and colleagues but also loss of freedoms, expression and life choices. Our decision making has had to conform to strict guidelines and expectations of compliance as a social norm. Our parameters have been changed and our sense of empowerment questioned and constrained.

Wellbeing and living in the present

Our imaginations can be fed, inspired, regenerated and renewed. Whilst our connectedness has been stretched and in some cases severed, the time has also enabled deep reflection. This reflective process holds the possibility and opportunity to do things differently than we did before. In light of the overwhelming immensity of the challenges of climate change and creating a better future we have the opportunity to address both Pandemic and Climate Change at the same time.

I believe we can all do this by starting with ourselves and each working within the contexts we find ourselves and coming together to change things where we can and work in communities to increase the quality of life and wellbeing for all.

Our brain’s neural pathways, synapse gaps and bridges are analogous with the way landscapes are formed and shaped by human and animal activity. Our thinking and the development of our brains refer to, are informed by and are reliant upon our environment. Our experiences shape our lives and the new experiences begin to form new neural pathways and new ways of thinking and doing.

What are ‘Desire Lines’?

Desire lines are the term given to pathways created by people who decide not to follow designed byways in the environment. For example a public square is designed with a path around a grassed area; people decide to take shortcuts that move diagonally across the grass. Animals similarly take routes across farmland to and from water sources, hunting grounds, dens and burrows. In this way desire lines become actual signs of re-wilding in the same way that plants root themselves in the cracks of pavements or roadways.

It could be said that ‘desire lines’ of text move away from classical, formulaic and traditional poetry and writing; move into areas of self expression with content that explores emotional responses to the lived experience. In this way poetry becomes the means by which we can process our lived experience, create texts that we can then reflect on, dig deeper into our experiences and perceptions, open up the possibilities for ourselves, challenge ourselves and the world we create and react to around us.

The veiw across the levels to the foothills of the Quantocks photo Andrew Henon

Freedom to think and roam

The Romantic Movement in poetry included among others Shelley, Byron, Coleridge and Wordsworth. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a number of his best known works whilst living at Nether Stowey where he was visited by William and Dorothy Wordsworth. There is now a recognised path and walk named the ‘Coleridge Way’ that starts in Nether Stowey and stretches west 51 miles through the stunning Somerset countryside of the Quantock Hills, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor, a landscape that inspired Coleridge to write his best known works.

The rime of the ancient marinerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqHfg042i24

The image above was taken by Morag Kiziewicz on a walk at Kilve Beech after a visit to the National Trust ‘Coleridge Cottage’ in Nether Stowey.

‘The ancient mariner’ Photo Morag Kiziewicz

Poet, Author and Artist Jo Waterworth has blogged about the project at

https://jowaterworthwriter.wordpress.com/2021/06/20/week-25-desire-lines/

Poems from Jo Waterworth written for the desire lines project

Kilve

greystone beach   shale cliffs   brown sea with creamy scum   pyramidal orchids   myrtle bushes   unidentified warbler   desire lines cross the stream

Feet have their own agendas

as do eyes, and mouths, and stomachs.

Knees too. Hips. Hands, of course.

And there’s the twitching of lips,

the crinkling of eyes.

Our bodies react, but also plan, lead the way.

And that spongy mass hidden in the skull

must weave all this into a narrative

in which it asserts control.

Poor blind thing.

Transitory

sounds like a wild flower name –

fumitory, centaury, tansy.

Lillies of the field, and likewise

we too are cared for.

Sparrows at my window.

These busy little lives.

Nothing matters, and everything matters.

Life is change,

even to an oak tree.

(untitled as yet)

It’s a kind of dignity –

to endure, unchanging.

But like a rock, slowly weathered…

Until frosty winters create cracks

and the wind blows in seeds and spores,

the birds land and defecate,

and gradually there is

            life      

on the surface…

roots and invertebrates penetrate further…   

With time, nothing is unchanged.

Life is voracious:

endurance simply another way to cope.

Images taken by Jo Waterworth at Kilve Beech

A desire line across the water at Kilve Beech Photo Jo Waterworth
Photo Jo Waterworth

We see examples of desire lines in nature and of human making in the landscape, as human beings we share in the natural processes of creating the envoronment arround us.

Animal tracks through overgrown undergrowth
Photo Andrew Henon

I think the image above goes well with a poem Mandy Pannett has sent me for use on the project.

Author and poet Mandy Pannett writes

While I’m being brave and posting poems I thought this one might be of particular interest to Andrew Henon who was talking recently during a Tears in the Fence discussion about a project he’s involved in to do with Desire Paths. These are shortcuts made over time by the footprints of humans or animals in their divergence from conventional routes.

DESIRE PATHS

No – this way, this …

Not the established, measured route

but by way of the weed and the wild.

There are orchards still, outside the gate,

allotments in the orbital, leaf-light patterns

on the secret earth.

‘It is sweeter to remember than to learn,’ so says the sage.

Ancient grass beneath the brickwork

stirs as footprints search

the hidden path.

Mandy Pannett

This image below taken by Ama Bolton on a walk to Kilve Beech also goes well with Mandy Pannets poem

Photo Ama Bolton

A selection of images from Ama Bolton

Captured on a walk to Kilve Beech after a visit to Coleridge Cottage in Nethery Stowey

Photo Ama Bolton
Photo Ama Bolton
Photo Ama Bolton

On the vist to Coleridge Cottage in the Garden and on the path

Photo Ama Bolton

Seaweed prints on paper made by Ama Bolton

Seaweed print photo Ama Bolton

From Seedweed found at Kilve Beech

Seaweed print photo Ama Bolton

A word ramble by Ama Bolton

Hydrangea petiolaris 
climbs a wall 
behind the pub

nice view of Hinkley Point!
lunch here?
let’s go on


thatched cottages in Holford
Alfoxton foxgloves
the road winds through woodland

not the grotty layby the other one
so this is the loaves and fishes
back to the 1950s

picnic in the car
in a layby
in the rain

there goes the exhaust
Kilve Kilve Kilve
down to the roaring beach

mullein teasel hedge-mustard agrimony
blue lias boulders
bladderwrack and striped pebbles

brown water grey headland
litter of shattered shale
wave lines slant to the shore

junction 23 roundabout
a mass of moon daisies
horses up to their knees in buttercups

I have the right 
to be absolutely 
wrong
 

Ama Bolton

Steping stones in the garden at Coleridge Cottage Photo Morag Kiziewicz

The project is now well underway, the journeys continue on to Steart Point,

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