Not giddy yet aerial
“The station whence he looked was soft and green,
Not giddy yet aerial, with a depth
Of vale below, a height of hills above”
William Wordsworth, Home at Grasmere 1806
William Wordsworth’s first reported sighting of Grasmere vale was from Red Bank, an established viewpoint, or ‘station’ from where the landscape could best be appreciated by the Lake District’s earliest visitors, tourists of the picturesque. Taking this approximate viewpoint as a master image, this Arts Council funded moving image project centres on one of the most revered, familiar and culturally resonant landscapes in England, the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, aiming to look beyond the picturesque, and cultural imprints of landscape as a visualist discourse to invoke landscape through interwoven narrative lines.
Framed by the picturesque, Romantic and poetic contexts of the region, and instilled in the landscape which sustains a brisk tourist trade today, the project draws together observational film practice and contrapuntal structure to address tensions between narratives of place: landscape as picturesque object and subjective/personal experience; inhabited working environment and tourist gaze; the spiritual and the commoditised; the Romantic sublime, and contemporary concerns for landscape’s vulnerability.
The project is located in cross-disciplinary concerns with narratives of landscape, encompassing landscape phenomenology, poetic approaches to landscape film and audio/visual experimentation with contrapuntal rhythm, including Glenn Gould’s sound work ‘The Solitude Trilogy’ in which ‘many voices and ideas coalesce, antagonise, support, subvert, mingle and separate’. A methodology analogous to the musical art of counterpoint, applied to the observed material, will aim to create encounters between the narrative lines: independent, interwoven elements orchestrated to inscribe landscape through personal human detail - multiple viewpoints, experience and activity.
'Not giddy yet aerial' was exhibited as a projected video installation at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, in February/March 2011, to coincide with 'Savage Grandeur and Noblest Thoughts: Discovering the Lake District 1750-1820' an exhibition marking the 200 year anniversary of William Wordsworth’s ‘Guide to the Lakes’.
For more information about the Wordsworth Trust, please visit www.wordsworth.org.uk and for more information about Arts Council England, please visit www.artscouncil.org.uk