For this post I’ve been looking at trails, pathways: journeys begun, journeys repeated. Some we don’t see until we’re upon them.
These trails are from the Mizen, Sheep’s Head and Beara Peninsulas walked during June and July. Some are currently dried stream beds, but we use them when we can. Some, over time, have become roads. We’re hardwired for movement, for finding a way.
Looking down from Healy Pass.
Looking across towards Sugarloaf Mountain and the zig-zag of the Beara-Briefne Way.
Defined by a strimmer.
Almost hidden heading through the heather.
The understated beauty and profound subtlety of a trail.
My own shelter as the rain lashed down, a brief encounter over the past couple of months.
Stan Mills takes us on the trails of Yellowstone Park. A solo hiker walking through bear and wolf country following well worn trails and when they’re gone following game trails. There’s profound simplicity here.
Yesterday I was out kayaking with a friend, Denis, a sculptor and avid cyclist. After the 7km loop he showed me how he’d used an app to plot our journey. This and similar apps are frequently used by runners and cyclists to plot, record, share routes which leads to others validating and / or adopting these routes. Artists have used these apps to walk, run or cycle routes that draw and image picked out from city streets. The same apps revealed secret US military bases as soldiers went on their downtime runs. In the early days of consumer available GPS (Global Positioning System) one of Denis’ students created art using data points. Tracking and mapping movements has long been utilised as a tool of creation and place by artists.
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Just watched these two episodes, parts 1 & 2, from Second Chance Hiker on the PCT – Pacific Crest Trail, trails are fun.
May In The Saloon: Above The Fold
Landscape: A picture representing a view of natural inland scenery or the art of depicting such scenery. Or the view from one place at one time. An orientation or an area of activity.
Above The Fold: The upper half of a newspaper’s front page and features the day’s most important story often with a photograph, or with what the editors feel will attract the most buyers. The fold changes the paper’s layout from portrait to landscape for display purposes and are designed with this in mind.
What do we see when we say we see a beautiful landscape? What are we seeing, really? What are we photographing, as landscape photographers? What are we painting as landscape painters? What are we visualising when we use landscape to describe where we are at? What are we telling ourselves? What is the landscape?
Landscape, the word and it’s implications and meanings has been one of the constants for Based On Real Events. One of the trigger points for thoughts and observations since the early days making paintings where I questioned what exactly I was seeing around me, what visitors were describing, ‘it’s so beautiful‘, as we toured through West Cork and up through Kerry. What were we really seeing? When is a landscape not a landscape and when is it one? What do you paint? What am I painting?
It is beautiful and at times we stand in awe of it. But little, if any of it, is natural. All routes from here go through farm-scapes, town-scapes, city-scapes, back into and through more farm-scapes. Centuries of working the land, divided in to walled fields and properties, dotted with fenced in nature reserves, as far as the eye can see. Nature-not-nature. We tell ourselves, we tell each other of this beautiful landscape, but what is it?
Above the fold, a priority.
I spent Good Friday walking the next ridgeline north of my studio. A scouting trip for Based On Real Event locations. The photos inis post are from this walk. A route I hadn’t walked before, but see it every day. A friend dropped me off on the pass to the north, north-east of me and I followed it west until I reached the road that would bring me back home. If I crossed the road and contiued west for another kilometer I’d have reached the peak of Mount Corrin, a trail section I’ve walked before.
Above the fold, I walked and I sat in the sun on the hill tops.
The route; road, farm track through fields up to the first peak the west following a way marked trail, down to forestry road, the up to Sitka forest, from here there was a trail which is now closed due to fallen storm damaged trees, the section closed, before joining the last section through more fields, sheep grazing land. I took note of the trail closed signs but continued anyway.
Mary Cowell describes this landcape as: A forestry boom is turning Ireland into an ecological dead zone.
“Dense blocks of these non-native coniferous trees smother the landscape, driving out wonderful and endangered wildlife such as hen harriers and curlews, birds that could be extinct in Ireland within the decade.”
I saw sheep, small birds, crows, pidgeons, pheasants and game-trails possibly made by badgers and / or foxes. I saw rot and the life that thrives on rot. When I sat for on the damp mossy ground for a break, in the Sitka forest swarms of midges rose up around me. Luckily they weren’t biting. Stagnant pools and boggy patches. These would or will be perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos to mature and grow. In Singapore, where I grew up, there was a constant battle against stagnant pools, breeding grounds for mosquitos and mosquito borne diseases, dengue fever and malaria. Pest control teams would visit to check and spray. Do we have the climate to support these diseases? Will we have the climate? We have the landscape.
As I write, the groundsmen for the church across the road are spraying weed killer. A cat walks along the sprayed path. I recently posted, on Twitter, a photo of small birds feeding from the wall and weeds. Over the next few days their snack is going, going, gone. Last night a fox walked this way stopping to sniff the wall where all the morning dogs also stop to sniff and scent. Pee-mails. They’ve sprayed the whole street, my doorstep and church grounds.
Above the fold, what are our priorities?
Navigating the fallen trees away from any path, I headed further away from where I wanted to be with the hour of sunlight left, I thought about setting up camp for the night. Going forward was slow, at times it to a few minutes to find a way through the lattice of branches. Each time, go back, go up, go down, the path was low, a trail would appear. Follow the animals, they know. This for two hours or so. Eventually there was more sky ahead than tree line. Eventually there was a field and a fence.
I hopped the fence, headed up to the ridge, the way marked path for the final kilometer to the road home. A crow squawked from the fence hopping ahead along as I neared, keeping the same distance between us. It’s here in the next photo, follow the fence.
The crow took off as I reached the final slope down to the road. Now two hours from home. As I passed the first of the houses, tired, watching the road beneath my feet, I stopped suddenly. In my periphery I saw the crow. Perched on a shed roof. I couldn’t believe it. I stopped and looked over. It didn’t move.
The crow didn’t budge. This crow was plastic. A plastic crow on a shed roof in the countryside.
< / End >
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01 May 2019
Sounding Nature: The natural world in sound is the latest global collaboration project by Stuart Fowkes’ Cities & Memory.
“The sounds have been reimagined by 250 artists to reflect upon the damage being done to our natural world by human-generated sounds”
Interview with Stuart on BBC Radio London with Vanessa Feltz.
Review on The Quietus.
Review on A Closer Listen.
(Will update list as the appear online)
‘The Lost Brothers Of Saco Do Céu’ – Jason Lee
‘Dawn: The tail end of a storm. Two brothers wash ashore. One died a couple of days before. They enter a village.’
‘The Lost Brothers Of Saco Do Céu’ is my reimaging of Tilla Martin’s orignal recording made in Saco do Céu, Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Bamboos and their leaves in the wind of a tropical forest.
My response raises up from seafaring myths and legends, storms and song, made with field recordings from the Beara and Mizen Peninsulas, West Cork, Ireland.
You can go directly to Tilla Martins and my response by typing Ilha Grande in the Sound Search box as seen below. Category ‘Forests‘
Or stumble upon it by Play A Random Sound
For the curious:
Please consider signing up to The Saloon, access monthly private posts, more soundscapes for Based On Real Events available for download, alongside the stories, photographs, video and new paintings.
I post in The Saloon at the start of each month as new work for this exhibiton evolves.
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Based On Real Events is my next exhibition in the making. Paintings, photographs, film and sound recordings are going in to this one. It’s expensive, by my own choice, I’ve found a delicate balance within subsistence, going without to go forward. If you want to or can help out. Truly grateful via PayPal. Include your address and I’ll send you on a little rarity.
Any or all above appreciated.
Thank you. X
Sea To Summit – Carrauntoohill and other outings.
My right knee has been a problem for a long time, some days too long, my left knee compensates. This is how our bodies work. I remember clearly the first time I ran the distance of a marathon. And I remember the time I had to stop. So this was always going to be a bit of a challenge.
Robert Macfarlane – “The undiscovered country of nearby” and from photographer Rob Hudson: “During my whole life as a landscape photographer I’ve rarely stretched beyond 30 miles from home… the power of the local environment resides not in how near it is to us, but in how close we are to it… it is the repeated visits that provide the insights, and the new ways of seeing and saying that I crave.”
Turns out, Carrauntoohill is, in walking time, a twenty four hour walk from here, 92.5 km / 57.5 miles. Longest walk I’ve done to date is 72 km / 45 miles London to Brighton, fifteen hours walking time, I stopped every three hours for a half hour break. I took the train back.
Is a two day walk considered ‘undiscovered country of nearby’?
Carrying what I need, to get by or at worse, survive a few hours, to work, to keep moving. The rolling stone, the swagman, the wanderer, the refugee, the pilgrim, the day tripper, the long distance runner.
One foot in front of the other, not a stride, but a shuffle.
Trails made by thousands before us, some of those become roads and boreens.
A walk in the park for some, an adventure for others, chalk it down or tick it off a list, part of a training or fitness regime for others.
The ‘extremes’ of weather, storms and surges revealing shipwrecks and sunken forests, the dry spell we’ve had revealing this.
Sunset over Beara from the Mizen Peninsula.
A days later we went over to Beara and camped on a hillside looking back this way. This next iPhone photo was taken at the Dzogchen Beara look back to the day before.
And got this view of the Skelligs on the way up to Knockoura, via Alihees.
There’s also the report of an earthquake in Mexico revealing a great pyramid structure beneath an know and studied pyramid. A global lost and found.
The Butter Road
While supermarkets are individually wrapping pastries in plastic, I walked past a boat on a hill side.
The Secret Location
The clear water at my favourite ocean swimming spot. There was a time I would come here alone or with the dogs and go diving.
The Black Valley
Cover Photo: From Barley Lake, Glengariff.
It took a little a week for my right knee to recover from climbing Carrauntoohill, and by recover I mean return to it’s daily ache.
Once upon a time I kept a digital sketchbook on my phone.
I was about to delete them.
Available 31 March 2018
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I thought these photos were lost for good. It wasn’t a good feeling. I was beginning to accept it.
New soundscape / video ‘The Interference’ will be released in The B.o.R.e. Saloon 31 March 2018.
A sequenced 60+ photos, a portrait, made the dawn after a twelve hour tête-à-tête, on the 11 / 11 / 07, with the legendary Fergus O’Farrell / Interference with a new soundscape, built from field recordings.
Three years ago I thought these photos were lost for good when an OS update locked me out of an encrypted hard drive. I thought the drive had been corrupted.
There’sa post up now with a more on these photos.
‘The Interference’ will be released in The B.o.R.e. Saloon 31 March 2018.
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February I was on the road a good bit.
February also ended with an unusual, for here, covering of snow.
After I released a soundscape piece and other releated tales of how it came about, the places I visited, I welcomed new visitors to The B.o.R.e. Saloon blog. Great to have a few new visitors. Thank you.
Inside there’s a free download of the sound piece. Or listen to it with a simple video piece. There are drawings, photographs and an introduction to a new painting in progess – The Dawn Portrait (a work in progress). Sign up and get access here (see final welcome email).
There’s also a sketch I made while listening to the radio and the two cyanotypes I made under the winter sun dodging rain and storms.
One of the cyanotypes will feature in in the closing credits of a new documentary – Something Left Behind: The Wedding Present due for release later this year.
February was a good month foraging and collecting sounds, photos and words.
The snow, The Beast From The East, was an added feast.
I aslo managed to catch and photograph some great gigs, This Is The Kit, Anna Mitchell, INNI-K, for The Thin Air Magazine go check them out live or get hold of their albums via the usual channels.
The Bench is finding it’s way in to being a new piece of work. It’s on one of my walks.
May be it’s nothing more than that for now, a place to visit, a place to stop and watch the sun rise or take a nap. You can visit Ballydehob and check it out for yourself. It might be nothing or it might be what it, The Bench, the setting, suggests.
So far I’ve made some photos at different times of the day. I’m just going to put them up in The B.o.R.e. Saloon see what comes out. It’s where I was sitting one morning thinking about Photoperiodism, photoperiodism being the response of an organism to seasonal changes in day length.
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New Post Up On The B.o.R.e. Saloon…
‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’ a proverb repeatedly turned on it’s head.
While writing this I heard news of Dennis Edwards’ passing.
“Papa was a rollin’ stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home. And when he died All he left us was alone”
“A vagabond, roamer, wanderer, street-walker, highway-beater; a rolling stone, one that does nought but runne here and there, trot up and downe, rogue all the country over.”
転がる石に苔むさず (‘Korogaru ishi ni koke musazu’).
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The Borecode / Groundhog Day – ‘There are no short cuts.’
Boredom gets a bad rap. Iggy laid it out in ‘I’m bored’, money + power (real or perceived) + boredom and we see, then as today, boredom in those tiny hands, a destructive force.
But there’s another function of boredom. See Austin Kleon’s appraisal of Groundhog Day at the end.
According to BBC News, boredom “…can be a dangerous and disruptive state of mind that damages your health”; yet research “…suggest[s] that without boredom we couldn’t achieve our creative feats.” – via Wikipedia
I’m the chairman of the board.
I’m a Lincoln monologue, I’m livin’ like a God,
I bore myself to sleep at night, I bore myself in broad daylight, ’cause I’m bored.
Just another slimy bore.
I’m free to bore my well-bought friends,
And spend my cash until the end,
’cause I’m bored!
I’m the chairman of the board.
I’m sick of all my kicks.
I’m sick of all the stiffs, I’m sick of all the dips, I’m bored.
I bore myself to sleep at night, I bore myself in broad daylight,
’cause I’m bored!
Just another dirty bore!
“I am a patient boy
I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait
My time is like water down a drain
Everybody’s moving, moving, moving, moving
Please don’t leave me to remain
I’m in the waiting room, I don’t want the news
I cannot use it
I don’t want the news
I won’t live by it
Sitting outside of town
Everybody’s always down
Tell me why?
Because, they can’t get up
Ah, come on and get up
Come on and get up
But I don’t sit idly by
I’m planning a big surprise
I’m gonna fight for what I wanna be
And I won’t make the same mistakes (’cause I know)
Because I know how much time that wastes (and function)
Function is the key
I’m in the waiting room, I don’t want the news
I cannot use it
“Now, it might seem like a stretch, but I really think the best thing you can do as an artist or a creative person is pretend you’re Phil Connors in Groundhog Day: there’s no tomorrow, there’s no chance of success, there’s no chance of failure, there’s just the day, and what you can do with it.”
“Sonnt sich der Dachs in der Lichtmeßwoche, so geht er auf vier Wochen wieder zu Loche”
Based On Real Events – The B.o.R.e. Saloon
Jason Lee, 02 February 2018
The first soundscape from The B.o.R.e. Saloon.
• Goes out on 31 January 2018 get the link & password now.
• The first B.o.R.e. Saloon soundscape / field recording / spoken word composition with visuals.
• Download the sound file, it’s free.
• Read the new B.o.R.e. Saloon dispatch on adding sound / field recordings to Based On Real Events. Read a summary at the bottom of this post. Plenty already posted if you’ve not visited before.
This on goes out on Wednesday 31 January 2018.
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Here is some of what’s covered and connected in The next B.o.R.e. Saloon dispatch (31/01/18):
The Art of Field Recording, The Dawn Chorus, Silence, Beyond the laws of physics or not, Acoustic Mirrors, and something that happened on Paddy’s day 1899.
There you are. Join The B.o.R.e. Saloon and look out for this dog, when you’re in, click on it…
*The B.o.R.e. Saloon is designed to show one image, click on any image to reveal the full post texts extra images.
Lucky waiting to be called back on set of ‘Float Like a Butterfly’
Director Carmel Winters in the red jacket.
Another film release to look forward to in 2018.
Breaking Out and Something Left Behind are the others.
Looks at book shelf, goes through record collection, film collection, own paintings and photographs.
Expression and voice have many subtleties, languages and outlets.
And there is so much of it, if we are talking about environments from which we speak. Places with funky people.
Ever feel there are times when there is no one to hear and times when there are many around? The times we have the words and times we don’t, often times, when time itself, gives or takes the time needed? Good times to go make a song, a wall, a garden, a poem, a mess. Get our voice together and signal others.
There is, as far as I can see, a social whack to disorient, hinder and silence expression. To make it as hard as possible, to drive you down another route.
A whole chain of events and conditions stirring the struggle pot.
That is true.
Repeat those whacks on anyone and see cracks appear and people disappear.
That is also true.
There is a concerted social effort to paint this picture. It’s not only towards men.
‘Men don’t talk. Men don’t open up. Men don’t express themselves. Men struggle with these things’.
The environment has changed. Some parts by a little and slowly, while others awkward and fast. How we are attached to those adjusts our adjustments.
We are all involved.
These are not idle claims.
This painting, ‘Ghost town / Down By Law’ (92x92cm oil on canvas), and four more from myself, another on canvas, two on paper and a photograph, are for sale and shown at Lisheen’s House, Skibbereen.
The exhibition will run from 01 December 2017 to 31 January 2018 Open 10:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday.
Lisheens House can be contacted in relation to the exhibition here and by Twitter and Facebook.
There’s an amazing music lounge. A good place to be alone in company or talk or listen.
There’s also a walk by a river just around the corner.
‘Men do talk. Men do open up. Men do express themselves…
And if we are struggling to find a way through on our own or in the environment we are in, then there a places like Lisheens House.
Open to all.
Here’s a poem by Stephen James Smith I heard yesterday and I’m going to listen to it again.
Also go check out this podcast by Rubber Bandit: Blindboy Boatclub , there are hugs to be had.
Thanks for reading this far.
Please visit the exhibition, take a friend, spread the word, click the links, buy what you like, or buy what you can afford, or just drop a few coins in the jar.
It all goes towards expanding a good place.
Tomi Ungerer is celebrating his 86th birthday today, 28th November, no doubt with a wild abandon and other shenanigans like launching his new website.
Tomi Ungerer was 85 when I made this photo with my Rolleiflex 2.8e and Fujifilm 160s while Tomi signed books after his interview and Q&A session with Sophie Gorman at this years West Cork Literary Festival (16 July 2017).
“You really have to do something to be banned” – Tomi Ungerer, Bantry.
Update: 24 December 2017
Nice to receive and email today and be included in Tomi’s thank you message while going through all the contributions.
See the video here on Tomi’s site
The Collection: Cork University Hospital Art Collection
Last week I received my copy of The Collection: Art Donated To Cork University Hospital. My painting Volume V, part of the original 70 art works, now at 260 and growing, donated to the collection in 1998, is included.
It’s on page 87 by the way, and it’s nice to get an mention in the introduction alongside Amanda Coogan.
“The art works provide solace and comfort to many patients and visitors in the hospital and this catalogue is an important record of these art works” – J.A. McNamara, CEO of CUH.
The Collection book was launched by actor Jeremy Irons back in August 2017.
“The Hospital believes in the importance of art for the well-being of all our patients. The underlying significance of this collection is a belief in the healing power of art and the ability to improve the experience of people attending the hospital, especially to those going through great stress and personal crisis.” – Hotpress Magazine
The Collection includes work by Katherine Boucher Beug, Dorothy Cross, William Crozier, John Minihan, Sarah Walker, Sean Keating and more.
At first my painting, Volume V, was hanging down by the X-Ray department. Later I heard it had been moved up to the ‘Psyche’ Department. It’s three and a half foot (width) by four and a half foot (height) and contains a homage to Degas’, and as my old friend Jim called her ‘Tra La La At The Circus’.
You’ll find it.In the halls or in the book.
My copy took just over a week to arrive, with great quality reproductions and work putting this together by the team.
In other news:
I’ve been invited to contribute to an exhibition coming soon.
Please feel free to share this with friends who may be interested in The Collection Book, or my work.
New Patreon post up now: The Peregrine Falcon: An unexpected catalyst (Since 1978 / 79) and a road trip to the Burren, Co Clare.
Thank you all for checking out, liking and sharing Based On Real Events.
New work is going up on my private blog each week. Photographing with my new Pinhole Pro Lens + Canon 5D MKII, my Rolleiflex and my iPhone Accessible via any Patreon tier, a once off three dollar entrance for lifetime access.
On Sunday I caught Dublin’s indie-folk quartet Orchid Collective down at Levis Corner Bar photos of the gig are up now on The Thin Air Magazine now.
My music photography blog is www.jasonxlee.com
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‘Between 15 and 20 metres beneath this surface, crossed legs and facing west, I levelled off, closed my eyes for a moment and then looked in to the ocean, the Atlantic Ocean…’
But it wasn’t the Atlantic Ocean, it was something else, something much bigger.
This and a few posts from my two week Residency / Not Residency up now.