What better way to celebrate the start of a PhD than go for a walk? … so I did. I thought I would get in just before the University induction events and activities and start as I mean to go on.
This research is about getting amongst landscape not looking at it from a remove. It takes as a starting point Turner’s apocryphal being-tied-to-ship’s-mast tale and could be seen to proceed via Constable’s touring the fields of Suffolk, Peter Lanyon’s glider flights, Bryan Wynter’s marine/submarine activities, Fulton and Long’s walks, etc., etc. For reference: I’ll mainly be walking, running and cycling amongst it all (with possibly the odd boat trip).
This particular walk was also about clearing my mind ahead of the course. Clearing decks and desks before I really get stuck into the PhD doing. It’s a walk I’d wanted to do for a while. The weather certainly put an effort in; in fact I found it a bit too hot towards the end on the exposed stony sections of the Malvern ridge. Down below and back in the morning the air was cool and autumn was most certainly pleasant. Up top – grasses tired from a summer of sun. Baked and ochre.
I took photographs as some form of memory prompt and wore my GPS watch to record some bare bones of the body moving through space. I surprised myself in that I forgot to take my sketchbook – no matter, plenty more chances for that. I was travelling relatively light and trying to stop myself from thinking too much. What is my research about? What do our bodies do in walking amongst the landscape? What does the landscape do as we move amongst it? Why does any of this matter?
The records below are similar to what I have done before. They are places to start and maybe each walk, etc. that I do I will produce this form of record. I’m hoping to experiment a lot more – prodding and poking at active landscapes to see what can be offered. It did occur to me that I need to contemplate the universal as I dwell on the particulars of each area that I move amongst. More pragmatically I feel that I need a reliable way of capturing my thoughts on the go. A dictaphone perhaps? [man seen / heard mumbling to himself in wilderness area – keep away].
Ok, the not thinking part didn’t go very well, but I did have a good work out! And the walk somehow just seemed like the right thing to do. So I did it. And will do it again.