Matt and Caroline capturing the smoke in the trees

Smoking Trees, crystal balls, a sense of home and solastalgia

Yesterday I conducted an artist lab with Matt Watkins and Caroline Locke at our studio space at Primary. It was a great day and lovely to again work with old friends and colleagues and try out some new ideas.

More is to come and hopefully Matt and Caroline will cover the details of the day in their own posts. We only have one official day together as part of this project but I think lots more thinking and making will take place as a result of our conversations and experiments.

Three key ideas are brewing…

Caroline talked about the changes to the village she grew up in Somerset and Matt of the claypits in Cornwall where he grew up. The processes of industrialisation, the remains and the seeds of toxicity, waste and beauty and their sense of home. Matt drew the beautiful emerald toxic pools left over from the clay pits from Google’s satellite version of his home, I looked up the patchwork fields and small village areas where fracking is due to take place in Nottinghamshire, Caroline talked about nuclear power coming to her village.

My ideas for a semi transparent mirrored crystal ball merged with Caroline’s spherical hydraulic pump, with ideas to pump water, smoke, light and projections into the sphere, playing with reflections and containers, beauty and toxicity. Imagining the future in a crystal ball, the elements and the visions we can see?

Matt talked about his idea of setting off flares in a forest. Warnings, revealing the invisible, marking time and change. We went to the blossom tree (and it’s friend the twisted willow) in Primary’s playground and planted smoke that wrapped itself around the tree trunks, billowed and trickled in and out the undergrowth, blew forcefully up to the sky and very slow disappeared leaving traces of orange and red powder around the trees.