Fermynwoods residency: mapping foxes

The fields next to where I’m staying were mown last week: first the cut grass lay in striking stripes, then it got rolled up into bales.

28355398113_361f965c28_z

 

28939453936_22febe2908_z

At this point I saw my opportunity to walk through the middle of the field, rather than skirt the edges as I normally would to avoid damaging crops. On a dusk meander, I had a bit of an explore and spotted a few dark green tracks in the cut grass.

 

28352654684_8573c68d3a_z

At that stage I wasn’t entirely sure if they were animal tracks or perhaps a tell-tale of a pipe or something, but I saw a few more – even more wiggly – and then a while later I encountered these two:

foxes

Later that night the bales got cling-filmed  – a surreal process I only saw glimpses of from the other side of the field, illuminated by tractor floodlights. I had to look it up. Here’s what I think was happening:

Anyway, now the field is bedecked with plastic blobs:

28988371736_073d5be273_z

And, yep, the tracks are still there and I started noticing more of them as I walked in the field a few more times.

29022263685_53fb803ced_z 28423812063_bf4b32a522_z

Yesterday I reached a point where I knew I had to investigate further. I wanted to know how many tracks there were, where they went and how they related to each other. The field undulates quite a bit, so there’s not a convenient vantage point where you can do this just by standing in the tight spot and just looking. Yesterday I reached a point where I knew the only way to investigate further was to walk all of the trails and track my movements using GPS.

29008405106_9b1984d63a_z

I’ve just read the chapter in The Old Ways where Robert Macarlane is trying to locate and then follow a shieling path across the peat moorland and rocky mountain slopes of the Western Isles. Both surfaces in their own way resistant to bearing traces of footfall, the path is marked with small cairns of rocks arranged at intervals. It takes him a few hours of searching to find the path, following the instructions he’s been given:

“When you’re up there you need to look for what shouldn’t be there: two or three pale stones aligned, the rock that has been displaced, that isn’t where the ice and gravity should have left it.”

And then:

“Click. Alignment. Blur resolving into comprehension. The pattern standing clear: a cairn sequence, subtle but evident, running up from the Dubh Loch shore.”

I was particularly thinking of this as I walked around the field because it turns out the trails can be devilishly hard to spot sometimes. There are the main tracks – dark green with long grass pressed flat enough by many feet that it has escaped the mower – easily visible as they snake across the field, however the lesser used trails are less obvious. I found that a lot depended on what direction they were going in relation to the sun, and where I in turn was stood in relation to that. Looking in one direction the trail could be practically invisible, yet really obvious when viewed from the opposite direction. In some cases it took a certain amount of voodoo to intuit where a trail went, then walking out to a complementary vantage point, looking back and checking that that was the right way to go.

I suspect my task might have been easier had I done it later in the day when the sun was lower, but I wanted to be done before dusk so as not to disturb the foxes too much. They’ll already be disgusted at the horrible human smell that’s all over their field!

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.28.00

I walked for 3 hours and covered about 5 miles walking backwards and forwards, tracking the trails and retracing my steps to go back to each junction.

I’m sure I must have missed out some branches, as it was very difficult to *ahem* keep track of everything, but I feel like I’ve now got some sort of sense of how they all fit together and how they relate to the geography of the field.

Here’s the final trace superimposed onto Google’s satellite view of the area. I like the juxtaposition between these lines and the regular ones made by the tractor working the adjacent field.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.22.37

Close to 3 miles worth of network.

What’s it like to navigate those paths?

How much learning does it require, and how much can you sense the current state of the paths and their users?

How do you keep track of where you are and which turnings you have to take when these trails are tunnels within long grass?

How do these trails link up to their counterparts in the woodlands?

 

 

Fermynwoods residency: mostly gates

28361595074_f6aa5c2998_z

Having spotted this road sign on my way to Market Harborough the other day, I mapped out a 40 mile cycle route exploring to the North of where I’m staying and of course starting out with Old Dry Lane (North).

Best laid plans and all that…

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 21.14.20

The first bit went okay: I found the South end of Old Dry Lane, and the ghost middle part of Old Dry Lane (looks like it came a cropper when the A road was built, maybe?) turned out to be a bridleway and passable by bike.

 

 

28875703802_33888a79d8_z

I got myself across the A6116 without incident, and found what was left of the original line on the North side.

28364108583_67d3640a27_z

Hmmm, bit of a dumping ground it seems.

The plan then was to keep going up the lane and then turn right and use a track to link up to Benefield Road. I started hitting signs saying ‘private road’ though. There was a ‘bridleway’ sign right next to it, but in between noticing each sign, I also managed to stop and ask a dogwalker if it was possible for me to get through if I kept going that way.

I was just following a line on my Garmin, so I couldn’t give him any useful information about where I was trying to get to, but he did suggest I back up a bit, and take the track through the woods as that would be a better surface than going straight on (which would have me going across fields).

28980789995_243df4131b_z

I felt it would be in the spirit of exploration to follow his suggestion, so I got onto the track and had a nice little off-road ride through the woods. I decided I didn’t want to go as far as Weldon, so turned right and tried to rejoin onto my original planned route.

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 20.59.35

This looked good for a few minutes, but then I came to a gate with signs saying it was private access only, so I had to turn back to the A road. “No problem”, I thought, just a short stretch, then I can turn left up Benefield Road and get back onto my original route in no time.

WRONG!

Benefield Road goes under the A6116! I had to keep going, back to the footbridge into Brigstock for a lap of honour and then try again…

28364149293_32abcb6b20_z

I really enjoyed the gated road coming out of Lower Benefield, however I kind of get the feeling someone else was less happy about it.

28904424131_3626bdfb9c_z

It seemed to be a road that was only reluctantly open as a right of way. The signs seemed to be saying “Well, go on then, but don’t say we didn’t warn you…”

 

28904484911_33bf4d9e12_z

I wimped out of doing the full 40 miles in the end – the previous night’s excitements and the earlier diversions having got the better of me. I hadn’t planned for it to be another ride on the theme of gatekeepers and permissions, nor to be another exercise in being misplaced, but I like how exploring by bicycle reveals the sorts of inconsistencies that are usually hidden to you when you’re driving a car. I also like how bikes are generally very accommodating of plans going a bit different.

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to get another ride in before I leave, but I feel my bike trips so far have shown and taught me a lot. So many unanswered questions though! I want to know about the Old Dry Hills!

Fermynwoods residency: a night out with the stars

Following on from previous nocturnal outings, I did my first wild camp.

Aeroplanes: lots.
Trail bikers: none.
Stars: many.
Meteors: not a sausage.

 

29020984625_2c745a25d6_z

29021123535_aee0ea9484_z

28988420226_069c1556ee_z

28988362796_d65b2d6697_z

29021121605_7a87c71f8c_z

28916139612_fd1952e01e_z

28917500332_cab26a68da_z

28916381602_2ec57dd82e_z

28735232500_dba81aa8d5_z

28404384553_24334cd90a_z

28401297594_508f429d0c_z

28404304483_d79f33bbfa_z

29021316105_cdcabac906_z

28735242420_707262fca4_z

28736934360_23fb094081_z

28735759190_a49f3b5203_z

28404712623_08628d47c8_z

28402024654_447f199b28_z

28917361262_c604174a2c_z

28402116704_57ec127c0d_z

Fermynwoods residency: what’s the worst that can happen?

Yesterday I met up with Isabella Streffen for the first time; our ‘meeting up for lunch’ stretched into five hours chatting about, shall we say, diverse subjects. In amongst the wide-ranging topics of conversation, we spent some time talking about my experience of going for a night walk, and unpicking where the different fears came from.

We agreed that the instinctive reactions to twigs snapping and unidentified sounds from the undergrowth were Good Things and there for a reason. We were more critical of the lifelong cultural conditioning we’ve had as women that has trained us to fear the consequences of going out at night alone. We talked chances; we talked transgression; we talked reprisals and we talked about wrestling wolves.

Hear. Us. Roar.

Well, after that I didn’t have much choice but to go back to the lodge, pack some bedding and a headtorch into my panniers and set off for a night in the woods.

…unfortunately, as I was leaving, I met the father of the family in the Lodge next door, and he primed me tales of off-grid campers, grumpy men with rifles, trailbikers, illegal raves and other such things I might encounter. Great.

I went anyway.

My destination was a coven of wooden sleeping shelters out in the woods. I’d done a quick recce on my way back from meeting Isabella and had decided the foil-based detritus was almost certainly evidence of enjoyment of small apple pies and nothing more sinister. (Did a quick litter pick, too.)

shelter-2

I returned whilst there was still a fair bit of light left in the day, so I could see what I was doing as I was getting myself sorted. Once that was done I perched on a log and read a bit more of Macfarlane’s The Old Ways, which seemed like entirely appropriate reading material.

The light faded rapidly, so the reading had to come to an end.

 

peat

That’s when the bats started.

Sadly it seems I can no longer hear bat chirrups, although these were flying close enough that I could hear the bustle of their wings as they went past.

I had a go at filming them:

blurry bats

Okay, not my best wildlife photography, even alongside the high standards I’d already set earlier in the week:

Time for bed.

shelter

…which is about the time the trail bikers started hooning up and down a nearby track…

They went after a few laps of the woods, and then it was just me and the grasshoppers. Flippin’ ‘eck the little creakers can stridulate all night long. I mean it: there was one just outside the shelter. All. Night. Long.

shelter

There were a few other rustles and patters over the course of the night, but nothing to be seen, which I was a tad disappointed about if I’m honest. I mean, if you’re going to sleep in a wooden box out in the woods, you at least want some good stories to tell afterwards, right?

I didn’t actually get much sleep – in a first night of camping style – but eventually it was morning and that was that.

shelter-2

The worst that happened? Three midge bites.

 

Fermynwoods residency: lines of flow, lines of obstruction

The path between Fermynwoods Country Park and Lyveden New Bield

In the last blog post I mentioned the field I like which has a footpath burnished across the earth. Yesterday I went looking for more traces of movement in the landscape.

Footbridge over the A6116

The route I chose was largely prompted by noticing that there was a footbridge over the busy A-road that I’ve been very wary of using other than by car. Being able to cross this line opened up a new patch of territory to me as someone travelling by bike.

28854704901_63606c8a54_z

28854653491_dc72578081_z

I’m very glad of that footbridge, as I enjoyed the ride a lot more than the one I did a few days ago. Most of the time there was a strong sense of being up high and being aware of how the ground lies as it spreads out around you. The gorgeous sunshine probably helped too.

28312566904_b6e042f1ec_z

In an echo of the path near the Lodge, coming out of Cranford St John I found this footpath cutting across a field. Looking at the map now, the path intriguingly looks like it’s a continuation of what is now the road. Perhaps long ago there was a fork there, rather than a bend, and for some reason one tine gained precedence?

28645399760_9e0a5a0a3a_z

Wind turbines are a feature of the landscape around here, in that way that wind turbines are: clustered on hill-tops, kind of blending in, but also their slow, steady circles having an insistent, powerful presence. I usually encounter them at a distance, so when I see one close up, their size often takes me by surprise. Something something forces of nature something.

The wind seems to be ever present here, with so little to obstruct it. I only recently realised that the hedges and trees I begrudged for blocking the view from the Lodge were probably there as necessary protection. Even so, finding a spot to sit in the garden is a careful balancing act between sun, shade and wind chill factor.

28854475581_397e03e35f_z

28645291430_17aee24abd_z

28314846583_f641e4eeb6_z

In addition to the turbines, there are other signs of the wind being harnessed. There’s a gliding club airfield very close to where I’m staying, and windsocks dotted around the place. The most prolific users are probably the red kites though, and it’s fascinating to watch them as they perpetually switch allegiance between thermals and crosswinds, scouring the fields for prey.

 

Here’s a line that made me stop:

28854676471_82229e4bde_z

There was a similar one to it that I had passed over moments earlier, as I entered the village, but seeing another on the way out made me realise the significance of it being a boundary line. (Probably?)

28825845272_de93a6f97b_z

I wonder if they are there as rural rumble strips to remind drivers to Please Drive Slowly, or whether they are performative in some way, with identities and jurisdictions given a hard edge? Has there always been a line there?

28825712652_50b35f2c30_z

Further on in my journey I met with more assertive boundary lines, as my route took me through the Drayton House estate.

Drayton map

I’d seen from the map that there was a public right of way through the park, and from the satellite view it looked well surfaced, but it was marked up as a footpath and so I was still unsure as to whether I’d be able to cycle through the park when I got there.

That doubt didn’t last long.

Only if you have to

28645254450_f19e953494_z

Again I’m left wondering about the heritage of the footpath and the right of way …and how begrudgingly the estate observes it nowadays. The white signs above do quite a good job of obscuring the unassuming footpath sign behind them, and where walkers were directed to use gates, those gates were in turn obstructed by posts that would likely prevent wheelchairs or pushchairs from passing through. Handlebars took a bit of weaving but, as I pushed my bike through the park, I enjoyed the change of pace and the chance to look around me a bit more.

 

Drayton House desire line

This appeared to be some sort of desire line path to a side gate. It seemed very transgressive given all the electric fences and authoritative signage surrounding it.

 

Back on my bike again, the last stage of my journey took me along the bridleway through the woods back to the Lodge. These tracks have me very focused on the ground in front of my tyres, picking my way between ruts, pot holes and branches, alternating between sides or sometime deciding it would be more prudent to bump up into the middle bit.

28898873776_877afafbc2_z

I’m starting to get my eye in to reading the road ahead a bit; spotting the overhanging briars and nettles ahead of time and, as here, recognising a corner with a lower side that gets the water and is therefore more worn.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 15.34.18

Back at the Lodge I spent time in the (somewhat wind-sheltered) garden watching the red kites rastering across the freshly mown fields. I counted about 15 of them and was wondering how territories worked out, if they have their own patch of the field that they work, or if there’s a consensual distance apart that they respect.

Fermynwoods residency: notes from a dark field

As part of the current residency with Fermynwoods Contemporary Arts, I thought I would like to use the opportunity of being in the middle of nowhere to really engage with darkness: there must surely be as little light pollution here as I’m likely to encounter anywhere else and, through chance and careful planning, my 10 days span the peak of the annual Perseids meteor shower.

Last night was supposed to be the night to be out gazing up at the heavens, so needless to say that was when we had cloud cover all night. Yes, I did keep getting up to check.

It’s the most gorgeously blue-skyed sunny day today though, so maybe I’ll have better luck tonight.

I did also do a little bit of nocturnal venturing forth a few nights ago (Tuesday, I think. Not sure. I’m starting to lose track of time a bit…).The place where I’m staying is reached via a 2 mile long stretch of track that weaves between and around different patches of woodland. Half way between the Lodge and the road there’s a bit that I always find just a little bit glorious as the track breaks out from the tree cover and, for a few hundred metres, has a field on either side and views of rolling hills beyond that. I think I especially like it because a footpath cuts straight across one of the fields, visible in the scrub as two burnished lines of compressed earth.

field

field

Anyway, I digress.

This is the scene I really want to recount:

dark

Just as the last hues of the sunset were loitering around the horizon, I set off purposefully from the Lodge towards that halfway field. Then I went back in for my camera. Then I set off purposefully again, serenaded by crickets or grasshoppers or somesuch in the grass either side as I approached the entry point onto the woods. It’s probably not quite the word I’m looking for, but I also got strafed by a hare and some moths in this first hundred metres.

dark

I resisted using a torch for this outward journey, mostly because I think that cone of light does as much to restrict your vision as it does to enhance it. Whilst that first, open, section of track was pretty easy to navigate, I anticipated things getting interesting once the trees closed in. We all know how it goes in the half-light: twigs snap, shadows play tricks on your mind, it’s easy to get disorientated and it all gets a bit scary. We know it. It’s so predictable it’s boring. Even so I was still a little bit surprised to ‘see’ a lion in the ditch to the side of me. Huh. Explains the electric fence back at the Lodge though, I suppose…

Anyway, if anyone asks why I was walking so fast down the track, it’s because I wanted to get to the halfway field before the light faded completely, alright? Heart beating perhaps slightly more rapidly than the fast pace warranted, I decided it was actually quite cold and, having failed to have remembered to pack a wooly hat for an August residency, I reached for my cycling cap, hoping it would at least keep some of the wind chill off. I made that cap and, being a ginger, I made it with a slightly larger than normal peak to try and reduce my chances of sunburn. Turns out that that’s not what you want when you’re walking through the woods at night. *flip*  Probably the only time I’ve worn it with the peak up.

Minutes later a Land Rover comes towards me: headlights on full beam and a hare – all legs and ears – running so fast in front of it down the middle of the track that it didn’t notice me until a brain’s post-processing delay after it had passed, then it skittered sideways for a few paces, ran on some more and then figured out that if it got off the track all would be well.

Waiting until they had both passed, I got back onto the track from the verge, switched off the torch I had flicked on, and continued on my way, grateful that when coming through on my bike earlier I had paused to clear some of the bigger branches strewn around as a result of the Forestry Commission works being carried out. The smaller debris helped me to locate where I was … except I haven’t got much of a sense of distances and directions for that journey even in daylight. It’s more like a series of punctuations and instructions – I don’t know how it all relates in space. In the dark, distances stretched out endlessly and the track contorted in combinations of curves that had previously gone unregistered.

I savoured the moment when the trees eventually came to an end and I paused on the threshold, surprised to see that there was still a trace of sunset orange in the sky.

dark

I’d bought a camping chair and a sleeping bag with me so I could properly spend some time here now I had reached my destination. I’m so glad I brought that extra cover – the wind was coming over the field unobstructed and it was very chilly.

I set myself up at the corner margins, knowing full well I was also setting myself up for anxious paranoia at every leaf rustle and twig crack coming from the bushes behind me. I soon faced a choice: wrap myself up snugly in the sleeping bag with minimal skin showing, or suffer a bit of cold, but without muffling my sense of hearing. I chose the latter, but I’m wondering if I should have chosen the former, because I frequently found myself turning around expecting something to be behind me. Eventually I figured out it was the bag’s label flapping about in the wind.

It got me wondering about how different the experience was to camping, when a fragile sheet of 20 dernier ripstop nylon is enough to form a protective barrier against all but the most invasive of predators (slugs?) and most fears about the unseen.

dark

I sat there for what felt like an hour, but was probably nothing like as long. I might have seen a meteor, but then again it might have been a satellite. I saw lots of aeroplanes, and gradually the stars came out. In the distance a dog barked, and all the other clichés too. How can I make an interesting piece of work in response to the night that moves beyond all these tired tropes of fear and the stars?

I sat there for what felt like an hour. I sat there for long enough to see the moon had moved along in its orbit to now be above a different clump of trees, then I packed up and tackled the return journey back to the Lodge. Definitely by torchlight this time. And perhaps even quicker than the outward journey, hoping each corner would be the one to reveal the field near the Lodge.

Part of me really wants to nail the geography of these woods and the ways through them; another part of me is already sick of following the prescribed paths and wants to keep at least a semblance of mystery or serendipity about moving around the place. I started off the week frequently looking at the map on the screen of my Garmin to locate myself in relation to the cardinal directions and the boundaries of the wood, but I quickly learned that lines on the map don’t necessarily correlate with lines on the ground. As I type this, I’m looking longingly at the fields around the lodge and wanting to go off piste, however the fields are currently being mown so it would probably be prudent to leave that a while. Maybe tonight…

Fermynwoods residency: changing gear

I’ve just started a 10 day residency at Sudborough Green LodgeFermynwoods Contemporary Art‘s rural outpost surrounded by forest and fields.

The residency is part of their associate artists programme rather than linked in to a particular commission, so I’m in the fortunate position of not having to work to a specified outcome. This is time I can use to feed my practice, and that doesn’t come along very often.

So I’m here with a handful of questions that I probably wouldn’t get much opportunity to engage with in amongst the usual hectic to-and-fro of my working week. I have questions about how the making of field notes might relate to my practice; I have questions about moving around at night; I have questions about how far my ailing knees and feet will carry me nowadays; I have questions about whether I can still draw; but mostly I get to find out what happens when I have time and space in which to follow my curiosity.

Coming after several months of flirting with burn-out, this has all required something of a change of gear. …and giving myself permission to not to anything in particular in these first few days. There have been lie-ins and reading of good books and exploring.

When I was here last – 4 years ago – I was making the Landscape-reactive Sashes ready for deployment as part of the Corby Walking Festival. I remember spending a lot of time hunched over sewing machine and soldering iron, and I remember a lot of rain: this meant I missed out on the chance to explore my surroundings, so basic orientation has been top of my to-do list.

I started off by getting a bit lost.

tracks

I got on my bike and I started off by turning left at the junctions in the track where up until now I’ve only ever gone right.

I had my Garmin with me, showing the line of my journey thus far as an aid to figuring out where I was in relation to where I’d been …and where I needed to get back to. Fun was had relating the dotted line on the small screen to the rapidly deteriorating surface of the bridleway in front of me. No really – it was fun! I like not knowing what’s around the corner and if you’re going to have to turn back or not; that internal debate between being gung-ho and the bit that tells you enough is enough.

tracks

Gung-ho held out just long enough along a grass-covered, deep-rutted, what used-to-be-a-gravel-track for me to find myself at a high seat. No questions about what needed to be done next.

tracks

I pushed a bit further along what might optimistically be called the path, hoping to be able to link up with one of the dotted lines on my screen, but a combination of disorientation, brambles and mud made me call time on that avenue of exploration and I turned back to rejoin terra more firmer.

Rinse and repeat for about 10 miles in total.

high seat

I had half an eye on looking for suitable places to come back to at night. There were a couple of more promising looking high seats, but they were padlocked and not for public use in quite a definite manner.

Other than some purpose-built shelters, it looks like some field margins might be my best bet. Mostly however, we’re in the traditional Forestry Commission configuration of track>ditch>fence. I shall have to keep my eyes open for opportunities for getting beyond that.

Alongside my beating of the bounds, I’ve also started reading Robert Macfarlane’s “The Old Ways” and am loving it. It seemed like it was going to be a relevant read to hold back until I was here, and early indications are that it’s not going to disappoint.

As I progress with my explorations – mostly by bike, so far – I keep getting trapped between busy A-roads and byways that are probably best left to the ramblers and the horse riders. There’s not a lot in the middle, either in terms of volume/speed of traffic or of routes that link up.

ways

I managed a 20 mile circuit yesterday that had minimal A-roads, and with my Macfarlane-primed eyes was very tuned in to noticing all the footpaths criss-crossing the landscape. I’d like to explore these more, but not sure if I’m currently rated for more than a couple of miles on foot.

I also noticed lots of churches (that or my route twisted and turned enough that I just saw the same few steeples from an array of different angles). It got me thinking about the size of a parish; about communities and the walking distances between them.

Art + Satellites

On the 2nd of July I took part in an ‘in conversation with…’ style event for Fermynwoods Contemporary Art: Art + Satellites. My conversation partner was Laura Tomei from Garmin (the GPS device folks).

There’s a recording of the event on the Fermynwoods website.

One of the things that came up was the language of GPS part of this was realising that GPS is only one dialect amongst many satellite navigation systems (GLONASS, BDS and Galileo being others)

I had a bit of an insight into my own practice and observed that perhaps what I was doing was also searching for alternative languages of navigation, often those that work on a more intimate scale: the whispers in the ear and the tug on the sleeve.

Gretton Explorers – a day at Gretton Primary School

The final part of my commission for Fermynwoods Contemporary Art was to spend a day working with Year 1 and Year 2 pupils at Gretton Primary School.

Working blind with people and place that I hadn’t met before and also up against a forecast for torrential downpour, I armed myself with a large rucksack filled with explorer-y things, a story about having been sent to explore Gretton and some mild consternation that my explorer equipment hadn’t been delivered yet.

With the pupils’ expert assistance we did some excellent exploring that was sure to make Yasmin Boss extremely proud.

Pictures, pictures, pictures…
Those marked (JS) courtesy of James Steventon, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art.

Settling down to making our map bits

The group decides that we need a map before we can start exploring and everyone settles down to draw a mapbit of something interesting/important in the village

Figuring out where all the map bits go on the ginormo map

The group decides that we're going to need a *really* big piece of paper to put all these mapbits on. Next job is to work out where all the mapbits go...

But how do we get from one mapbit to another? (JS)

Paths, roads and other details added to the gaps in the map. (JS)

A few of the girls hang behind at breaktime because they think they've figured out what the recently-delivered devices are. (JS)

Explorers set out to walk to some of the places on the map. (JS)

using all our senses

Using all our senses...

A confused Nikki The Explorer needing some things about the village hall explained to her. (JS)

The Pocket Park: many things to discover and examine. (JS)

Walking through the tunnel with the GPS devices to see what effect it has. (JS)

Explorers in the tunnel. (JS)

small child and large rucksack

Small child. Large rucksack.

Discovering that drawing a line of where we've just been is actually quite difficult. (JS)

trying to figure out where her house was

Recognising where home is on the device-drawn traces is even harder...

Recognising places. (JS)

My home-made GPS gadgets get the thumbs up. (JS)

Because - regardless of age - that moment when the LEDs come on is always a good one... (JS)

Investigating dark places and their effect on the gadgets we made. (JS)

Success!. (JS)

Someone puts forward the hypothesis that the trace from the GPS module placed on the windowsill is the way it is because of all of the excitement in the room when we were making our gadgets. (JS)

A great day and a really nice group of people to work with.
Thanks to Garmin for supporting the day through the loan of several GPS devices.

My Flickr set of photos from the day is here.

Walk with landscape-reactive sashes: Fermyn Woods to Lyveden New Bield

The third of the three walking events I did for Fermynwoods Contemporary Arts again using the landscape-reactive sashes, this time on a 3 mile walk between Fermyn Woods Country Park and the National Trust property Lyveden New Bield.

Fermyn Woods Country Park to Lyveden New Bield

This walk was to take us through woods and across open fields before ending at the roofless, unfinished Elizabethan building, so we were curious to see what traces these different environments would produce.

The results are below… For more in-depth discussion about the traces and how they relate to landscape, please see the previous post about the walk around Gretton, Brookfield Plantation and Rockingham.

We walked from left to right, and for each image you can click through for a larger version.

Overview of the route taken (click for larger version). I like how the tracts of rapeseed echo the yellow of the marks we made

The traces start and end at the Skylark Café. We were here quite a while getting everyone togged up, which is why the lines are really dense. They're long and all over the place because we were inside and the GPS data gathered was inconsistent.

The traces get longer as we enter the woods, and there is another cluster as we pause at the Complaints Choir's hut. These traces are from the bag that James was carrying.

Here are my traces from inside the hut. (Clearer if you click through to the larger version)

Inside the woods, the lines are quite long, but they get shorter again once we emerge onto the field with a clear view of the sky

Here you can see three different characteristic traces from walking in the fields: the first as we walk across the field of young wheat; then the lines decrease in length as we walk across grass; then the lines get longer again as we walk with the trees close on one side

And here we are at the end of the walk. We enter from the bottom of the image and, after pausing by the big oak tree and the moat, have an explore around the shell of the building. Then we sup some hot chocolate by the hut at top left before making our way down the path to the car park and sit in the shed whilst we wait for the minibus to arrive.

You can download the traces from the walk as .kml files and open them in Google Earth to have a closer look.

My trace (controlling the buzzing, in two parts because I had to change the battery): Part 1, Part 2
James’s trace (logging more frequently): Part 1

I’ve also uploaded my photos to Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikki_pugh/sets/72157629634011060/

Here are a selection of images from the walk:

Thanks to everyone who braved the drizzly weather and the mud to have a strange buzzing thing wrapped around them!



Copyright and permissions:

General blog contents released under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa license. Artworks and other projects copyright Nicola Pugh 2003-2017, all rights reserved.
If in doubt, ask.
The theme used on this WordPress-powered site started off life as Modern Clix, by Rodrigo Galindez.

RSS Feed.