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From this Distance (transcript)

What can I do from this distance?
To change local, national, global
To differ from, to dissent
What is this space in which I stand?
Art, artist, audience,
I embody all
Shedding my skin
Burnt charred coal
Moss and loss
Stood at the point of it all
Tossed, compost
My leaves have left me
Body touched, spoiled surface
Fluid folds, fleshy moulds
Bitten and chewed
Part of a whole
A hole in part
I stand apart.

What can you do from this distance?
To improve over, in and under,
To make better, to heal
What is this space in which you stand?
Art, artist, audience,
You embody all
A gift to the soil
A gift for the soul
Grown and faced
Stood at the point of impact
Proposed, enclosed
Your leaves have left you
Wrap yourself in soil
Rough bark, spoiled surface
Wrinkle and rust
Part of a whole
A hole in part
You stand apart.

What can she do from this distance?
To disrupt soil, surface, system
To affect, to create a ripple effect
What is this space in which she stands?
Art, artist and audience,
She embodies all
Stones and sticks
Moths and ticks
Thrown and placed
Piled at the point of entry
Enthroned, attoned
Leaves have left her
Dry trunks have sunk into soil
Skin puckered, dry and lifeless
Drought and dust
Part of a whole
A hole in part
She stands apart.

What can I do from this distance?
To alter here, there, over there,
To make sense, to repent
What is this space in which I stand?
Art, artist, audience,
I embody all
Devouring my flesh
Decay takes hold
Legs and loins
What is the point of it all?
Consumed, exhumed
My leaves have left me
Weightless limbs, shedding skin
Bones hold, lichen and mould
Parasites and mites
Part of a whole
A hole in part
I stand apart.

What can you do from this distance?
To make good then, here and now,
To revive, to restore
What is this space in which you stand?
Art, artist, audience,
You embody all
Sculpt and sustain
Reroute and retain
Save and sound
Weightless in its effect
Drained, prayed
Your leaves have left you
Shelter from the rain
Flash flood, cleaning blood
Cracks and crevices
Part of a whole
A hole in part
You stand apart.

What can she do from this distance?
To burn, ruin and rescue
To reverse the effect, to replenish
What is this space in which she stands?
Art, artist and audience,
She embodies all
Skulls and zips
Hands and hips
Found and poured
Traced to the spike in the centre
Encircled, sheltered
Leaves have left her
Impressions live on the shell
Cast in plaster, a bodily echo
Actions and reactions
Part of a whole
A hole in part
She stands apart.

(Above: full transcript of text written by the artist and used as audio recording in ‘From this Distance’ video below).

These words, written by the artist, embody their practice in the isolated environment of The Valley, Catalunya. The artist invited 24 other people to record their voices and send them digitally from across the world. Misselbrook has edited them together to form a sound collage layered over visuals of the River Ebro and ants in The Valley.

With special thanks to…
Veera Ranki (Finland)
Eli Saville (UK)
Caroline Misselbrook (UK)
Abi Bright (UK)
Daryl Thornton (UK)
Maija Liepins (Australia)
Romina Cristi (Chile)
Anna Georghiou (Cyprus)
Piedad Galindo (Spain)
Clare Carter (UK)
Janine Wolters (Netherlands)
Nina Pancheva (Bulgaria)
Jayne Ede (UK)
Carys Wilson (UK)
Mireia Simon (Catalunya)
Eleri Lloyd (Wales)
Naomi Pickett (UK)
Eileen Misselbrook (UK)
Steffanie Baumann (Germany)
Louise Butler (UK)
Alita Bustamante (Chile)
Jaclyn Bernadzikowski (USA)
Mia Baumann (Germany)
Ria Breedveld (Netherlands)


The Distance Between Us

This distance between…

My bones and your skin, my skin and your bark, my bark and your feathers.

My feathers and your fur, my fur and your scales… we have never been so close…

The distance between my skin and bone is painful, inscribed, marked, flawed,

Freeing, soaring outside of my ‘self’, the eagle takes up the baton…

The swallowtail’s wing scatters these words from West to East, left to right, you to me.

Conversations and connections cutting across continents, cast in concrete…

As the heat intensifies, I am hapless, helpless and limp with fatigue, rare water freshens by bones along with the cracks in the soil.

Longing to bring family together, the season is drawn out, dry and full of anxiety, for this fire is burning and I can feel it from here. 

This distance between… my thoughts and your words, my day and your night, my heat and your rain.

My skin and your touch, my breath and your air… we have never been so close.


Interview for Lacuna Festivals – Distance 2021

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The year is 2020

The year is 2020.
It has been a time to pause.
A time to reflect.
Time has been a strange concept this year.
Time to focus.
On what matters.
On matter.

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Return to the forest

Welcome
to this body
a vessel
In which I swim through the world
With childlike wonder
Alone

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Poetry?

As part of Chapel Arts Studios ‘Inside: Outside Laboratory of Dissent 2′ at Winchester School of Art, artist Maija Liepins invited me ‘in’ to connect, digitally, through text. A poetic ‘conversational baton’ was passed each morning for one week for more or less one hour between myself and Maija.

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Outside, inside the Forest

As part of the Chapel Art Studios Inside/Outside Symposium for the Laboratory of Dissent 2019 in Winchester Art School, I was given the opportunity to ‘rant’ for 5 minutes.

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What we lose in the fire

A violent stab of loneliness,
swimming between spaces,
fuelling an insatiable hunger,
then out of the darkness
I return to the forest
relent,
repent,
dissent…

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Responding to your whispers

Intrigued by the imposed audio limitations placed upon your artist group, I can assure you that your whispers are coming through ‘loud and clear’.

Observing you on your ‘island’, your cell, I can connect with you from my ‘natural soapbox’ (a large protruding rock within the valley). I will respond with a ‘rant’ with a self-imposed limitation that it should come from this place. However, the quest for clarity of thought, of word, of action risks going unseen.

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Inside the Forest

June 2019 saw the worst forest fire in 25 years in the Ribera d’Ebre region of Catalunya burning over 6000 hectares of pine, olive and almond trees. As part of a creative initiative entitled ‘Cendrart’ – ‘cendra’ meaning ash in Catalan – I was invited to create a site-specific work for temporary exhibition within the cremated forest.

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