In light of the Covid-19 pandemic’s visible impact on lowering world pollution emissions Carbon Synthesis is a trans-disciplinary project which proposes to reveal rhythms and markers of climate change by linking art and science; revealing the effects by visualising the (in)visible.

2021 marks the beginning of a year long artist residency with Lancashire Wildlife Trust, City of Trees and Carbon Landscape which will link Little Woolden Moss in Greater Manchester to a wider international collaboration with artist’s Dr Sarah Robinson and Dr Donna Franklin (Perth, Australia) and research teams at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, Finland.

Carbon Synthesis is an international investigation into the possibilities creative practice offers translating current understanding and developing technological capabilities transforming perceptions of our global wetlands.

I am hugely grateful for the opportunity this residency period offers and look forward to sharing our discoveries along the way.

 

 

 

 


0 Comments

This month was challenging for visiting the moss. Between having to self-isolate and trying to grab a few days holiday I feel I have been absent for long stretches.

The absences have meant that seasonal changes have been dramatic, the settled summer quietness of July was replaced by a dynamic heavy sky which sat unmoving over the long moisture laden grasses.

 

 

“A walk marks time with an accumulation of footsteps. It defines the form of the land. Walking the roads and paths is to trace a portrait of the country…”

– Richard Long, Selected Statements and Interviews, Haunch of Venison Press, 2007

 

Every time I walk on to the moss it seems like there is an unlocking of something unexpected. There is a reconstruction of hidden stories and lines. I decode, map and collect sensory experiences, connecting and reassembling threads of non-human lives, which weave across my walking path.

The air busy with dragonflies and insects of all sizes made it difficult to walk without colliding.

Subtle colour changes indicate that a transformation is coming, the impermanence of the land connecting place, past and future – no two journeys or walks are ever the same.


0 Comments

For the last six years or so I have been asking questions about the mosslands of Greater Manchester. Questions revolving around a sense of connection to older ways of knowing and being in the land, knowledge informed through touch.

Knowing through a relationship to place and the stuff of place.

How do these lands shape us? and how can we consider thinking in slower, wider timescales and in terms of local when we live in an age of mass production and ecological degradation?

 

Attention given to the land underfoot informs my growing relationship with Little Woolden Moss.

 

If you sit on the land long enough

It will speak to you

If you listen you will hear it murmur

If you sit still,

If you stop moving

If you open your ear

You will begin to hear a foreign language – an ancient tongue

And if you

If you can be silent

You can hear it move

And if that silence is maintained

You will hear a faint pulse

And within that pulse begin to feel the fibre of that old song

And it will touch every part of your being

And start to tell you the story of the old spirit that rests in this country.

 

Song, the story of a Girl, a Bird and a Teapot.

Devi A. (formerly Waiata) Telfer, an Australian poet and playwright.

 

July saw long periods without rain, followed by days of heavy rain.

Degrees of exposure are revealed starkly as exposed moss slowly turns white.

Humidity was captured and held within the architecture of the moss. Tall grass and ferns hold moisture and fragrance. Textures are revealed by droplets of water as they reshape the leaves/stems/petals on their journey towards the ground.


0 Comments

“I knew when I’d looked for a long time that I’d hardly begun to see”

Nan Shepherd 

The temperature finally began to rise as water levels began to drop.

Winter Hill drifts out of focus in shades of blue and violet.

The water in the pools is warm with lots of activity so I have spent some time just listening to the aquatic world under and within the moss.

The wind patterns in the surface of the water are mesmerizing.

‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water’

Loren Eiseley

 

I am currently working on two projects simultaneously, this one (Carbon Synthesis) and Porosity (www.porosity.co.uk)

As part of Porosity I invited one of my guest writers on the project to join me on a virtual walk. Dr Penny Florence and I live over 300 miles apart, we each share a love of walking and wetlands. Due to on going pandemic travel challenges we decided to walk together/alone so connected via Zoom we each walked our local wetland and shared our thoughts and observations. My projects often drift in and out of each other; lines of enquiry blurred though practice and making.

You can read the blog post for this project here: https://porosity.co.uk/2021/07/06/remotewandering/

Between the rain showers there is drizzle.

Everything is a patchwork of green and brown.

Exposed sphagnum moss forms carpets of colour, turning lighter in colour as the water levels drop and sphagnum dries out.

Cotton grass is shedding its seeds covering everything in soft shimmering feathery seeds.

When the wind drops the drizzle brings a calm and stillness to everything.

Grasses and branches weighted heavily by droplets, like jewels in the early sun.

Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated by water and carefully observed its ‘stickiness’.

In 1508 he noted the shape of a pending droplet of water, just before it drops a neck of water is formed and only when this becomes too thin it drops. The visual battle of tension between the stickiness of the water and gravity.

Banks of cloud wrap around everything.

On days following the rain and drizzle, as I walk on to the moss, I can feel the heat rising up from the ground, the smell of the earth fills my head.

With water levels dropping you can see the skeletal shape of the earth.

I have the opportunity to bring the Lidar scanner to site to capture some images.

It has been 5 years since I last scanned the site. I hope to be able to create data drawings from these scans and combine them with my peat measurements over the coming months to visualize the living nature of the moss.

 

 


0 Comments

May Fieldnotes.

 

“A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening.
If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning.”

​Hermann Hesse, Wandering, 1920

 

May is proving unseasonably cool, colours have often been dominated by pink and lilac shades. The cotton grass is in full bloom, offset by the dark brown peat and deep green of the trees.

On calm days the clouds seem to fill the sky and reflect in the pools creating the illusion of space below ground.

I have loved listening to and watching the lapwings dance over the water and moss. Some days the wind moves the grass as if connected to their swooping and songs.

On several visits over the last few weeks I have been struck by the amazing smells, which fill the air. On early morning visits after rain this is particularly noticeable when the smell of peat and earth envelopes you.  It is comforting, welcoming you to walk more slowly and spend longer looking.

“So it is with time, that lightens what is dark, that darkens what is light.”

​Samuel Beckett, Watt, 1953

Still, calm morning, cool temperatures and early morning sun illuminate the dozens of tiny spiders webs, which sit alongside the path. Securely nestled in the heather they look like miniature cloud point drawings – following rhythms of the landscape and responding to invisible non-human patterns.

It constantly amazes me the gifts revealed on my visits to this place. New layers of place – only revealed when specific conditions of light, rain, wind, temperature or warmth allow.

 

 


0 Comments

April fieldnotes.

The more I visit this place, the more I realise I need to try and identify the many layers of sound, subtly framing my view and immersing me.

I set myself the task of visiting weekly to look and record changes in the landscape but had not fully appreciated that looking included listening.

On still days the water is a mirror to the whole sky, the occasional pond skater or line of bubbles breaks the surface.

On the waters edge the flying insects have appeared, gathering and whipping in and out of the heather and grass. Large bees fly low and the occasional butterfly moves around the edges of the moss.

April was quite dry and on occasion still very cold by night.

Water levels seem to be dropping.

There have been some spectacular clouds over the moss this past month, heavy clouds sit quietly allowing shafts of light to break through and highlight parts of the moss.

The visiting lapwings dance and sing.

On cloudy days the hum of the motorway is dulled allowing the birdsong to fully surround the moss.

Cotton grass flowers ripple and bob with the rhythm of the wind.

Everything feels soft at the moment.

I have been spending some visits just listening below the bog, using my hydrophones I have been trying to capture signs of life within the moss.

As the days get longer and the temperatures increase so the rhythms below the waterline has begun to reveal itself. A real sense of the space which sits between worlds.

Tadpoles emerge from their eggs, munching hungrily, water boatmen sing, and rain drums on the bull rushes. It is easy to get lost in the clicks and pops of the below water sounds, I am still to identify many of the sounds captured and may be this is ok.   Invisible worlds, present all around us – we are part of a wider world but have maybe lost the connection.

https://soundcloud.com/tracy-hill/rushes-and-rain

https://soundcloud.com/tracyhill/tadpolesmunching

https://soundcloud.com/tracy-hill/singing-water-boatman-01wav

Matter of Water is a weekly record of the colour the water appears to the human eye and also the colour of water taken from a sample at that moment.

These small paintings are specific to that moment – recording light quality as much as water colour. The durational nature of the paintings means that they become a record of time, weather and water levels.

How to hold a cloud in your hand / carbon clouds.

Recent research and climate models have shown an uncertain behaviour of clouds. In some climate models, clouds strongly amplify warming. In others they have a neutral effect or dampen warming slightly. To avoid exceeding a certain level of global warming, the world needs to limit how much carbon is emitted.

Clouds can act like a parasol, cooling the earth by reflecting sunlight back into space. But they can also at like a blanket, warming the earth by preventing heat from escaping into space.

Global warming is expected to cause changes in the amount of cloud cover, the height and thickness of the clouds, shifting the balance between the effectiveness of the cloud feedback.

Stratocumulus clouds are widespread low-lying clouds, they form large cloud decks.

When CO2 levels rise stratocumulus clouds become unstable and break up. When these clouds break up they no longer shade the surface of the earth, triggering global warming of 8c.

One of the most concerning aspects of climate change are the potential tipping points – critical thresholds beyond which rapid climate change occur that are difficult to reverse.

In response to this research I have begun a cloud archive, my clouds are drawn at a scale relative to what I see. The measurement is in relation to my own body, my own hand.  This archive is a future imagining of skies without clouds.

 

 

 

 

 

 


0 Comments