cool + dull

the day of the presentation
feeling a little jumpy
spend some time with H
working out
who is speaking
and in which language
then set up in the upper barn
where it’s cool
and super calm
at 4 people arrive
in bunches
french neighbours
friends from Paris
english visitors
and austrian woofers
with help from H
I muddle through
in english,
old school french
a kind of franglais !
it’s informal
….people are kind
offer their opinions
ask questions
demand to know
this or that
chatter and
look a bit bewildered
I invite the audience
to the informal gallery
to see some of the work
a flamenco dance tells me
Ce ne sont pas des sculptures
ce sont des montages

or assemblages
I add
but she is right
they aren’t sculptures

in the evening
we head out
to the brasserie
a micro-brewery
at grandfresnoy
for a tour and supper
the smiling owner
with his smooth grey hair
caught up in a bun behind
(like a woman’s hair in a japanese woodcut)
he talks about his brewery
we listen politely
can’t really understand
shiny cylinders gleam
in the barn
but its crowded
and hard to follow
it feels like a long day
the beer is pleasant though
amber and hoppy
make small talk
with friends of H
down from London
we shiver a bit
in the chilly air
everything is rather slow
we sit waiting waiting
for food
and when it comes
it’s bread, pate, meat
followed by
bread and cheese
and beer

back at the chateau
glad to get
into a warm bed


cloudy and warm

there is much activity
this morning
a kind of spring cleaning
of the chateau
is underway
ready for guests
who arrive later in the day
in the barn
am interviewed
in french …
a bit of a struggle
but she writes things down
so guess
I am communicating
then I bang around
completing work
shifting and sorting
moving things to
the informal gallery
it’s quite pleasing
how it all hangs together

run through presentation
with H
seem to have
how this might work
fret and fiddle
all afternoon
with text, image, language …


warm cloudy hot sunny

all day in the workshop
sawing, measuring
stretching etc
not sure how this
is going to work
but think maybe
trying something new
is better than just
thinking about it !

enjoying the thoughts
swimming in my head
Benjamin’s premise that
19th century coziness
was built on reaffirming
onself in an age of increasing
the need to leave a trace
on velvet or plush
as compensation for
not leaving a trace in the big city
he admired Taut and his call
for glass houses
rational and heroic
no trace could be left
no hiding or secrecy
a chance to live
in cold splendour
Chateau de Sacy
is tactile, sensory
a visual feast
recalling Madame Bovary
and her social aspirations

hmmm now
Pallasmaa has a thing
or two to say about this
contemporary architects
and their ‘autistic’ practices
where people are
not taken into account
at all
and 4 out 5 senses can
be ignoored
he argues for places
spaces where you can
hear footsteps
locate yourself by echos
want to smell, taste, touch
the materials around you
an architecture of the senses …


warm cloudy

The sand is evenly spread
and I have a gallery floor
gritty and uniform
there is no door
in the door shaped hole
the next thing
to consider is a
framing device
perhaps with a padded red panel
not sure where
this has come from
but pops complete
into my head
the idea of wooden
grid construction
offset by fabric
(well shower curtain)
panel – ties in
with ideas about
the functional and
the useless
uncluttered, rational forms
subverted by
padding and fabric

an evening barbeque
logs piled outside
the workshop
D cooks chicken
marrow stuffed with toms
and parsley
all v tasty
he bewilders and entertains us
with his stories
in local dialect
so hard to follow
but his gestures are
eyebrows and hands
are particularly expressive
stories of hunting
national service
being in hospital
killing pigs
hot showers cold showers
he renames all 5 of us
with french women’s names
I am Suzanne ….
perhaps Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne
with her tea and oranges
down by the river…
we laugh, not always
knowing quite why
perhaps its the wine
cider and stuff
D keeps producing
…but have to resist
some of this
as have
an agenda
for tomorrow


warm and wet I think

have got behind
have lost a day
can’t remember anything
about Tuesday
…at all

as momentum builds
and things
need to be completed
making space
using space
everything blurs
and activities and thoughts
run into each other…