REMARKABLE AND CURIOUS CONVERSATIONS

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LIS'S WALK: a conversation and a walk hosted by Lis Mann

Lis Mann was joined for a walk to Rainsborough Camp - a neolithic, ancient Briton and Roman site near her house in south Northamptonshire - on Sunday 2nd May 2010 by Linda Francis, Cally Trench and Imogen Welch. One starting point for the conversation was Goethe's ideas about how to read landscape. The conversation focused mainly on our current art projects and the landscape around us.

Lis Mann writes: I was interested in how I would feel, taking you to somewhere I know and enjoy. I was much more aware of my surroundings as I kept wanting to point things out, very much like a mother trying to make her charges aware of the beauty of nature. Rainsborough Camp does feel atmospheric and I hope others felt a little something. It is quite a different experience doing the walk alone and it was interesting how much shorter the journey appeared in company with others. I enjoyed the social side of the day, it always feels good to share conversation with refreshment.

Rainsborough Camp by Linda Francis

Linda Francis, Rainsborough Camp and Raindrops
Colour photographs

Raindrops by Linda Francis




Linda Francis writes: This was an extremely interesting afternoon during which Lis introduced the idea of engaging with a place or 'phenomena' using Goethean science (with reference to the paper Goethean Science as a Way to Read Landscape by Isis Brook).

We walked to and around Rainsborough Camp, an Iron Age hill fort surrounded by fields that give it an isolated feel. My attention alternated between the position of the fort with the views of the surrounding countryside, trying to imagine what it must have been like to have lived there, and the beauty of raindrops caught on a cobweb inside a hole in the ground.

However, Goethe's ideas are new to me and I was unable to use them on this occasion, but I intend to explore the area where I live and as Craig Holdrege says: 'enter into a conversation with nature where my interest has been sparked by some experience, my attention has been caught. I'm presented with a riddle and begin asking questions, observing, and pondering.

Taking the conversation-as-process seriously means realizing that it is open-ended. I don't know where we're going to arrive. With this awareness present at every moment, the conversation is imbued with an atmosphere of openness. I could also describe this attitude as a kind of animated looking forward to things unexpected that may arise.' (Craig Holdrege, Doing Goethean Science,The Nature Institute)

Rainsborough Camp by Imogen Welch

Imogen Welch Rainsborough Camp
Colour photograph

Imogen Welch writes: We set out well refreshed by soup and sandwiches to Rainsborough Camp. It was a grey and chilly Sunday but visibility was very good. The camp was remarkable with a high circular earth bank cut by a few entrances. I indulged the child within me and explored the full circle. In places it was a bit of a scramble with low branches and the exposed roots of large trees. In all, a lovely walk in good company but not as much talk about 'Goethean Science as a way to read landscape' as I'd expected.

Writing on the walk to Rainsborough Camp 
by Cally Trench

Writing on the walk to Rainsborough Camp 
by Cally Trench

Writing on the walk to Rainsborough Camp
 by Cally Trench

Writing on the walk to Rainsborough Camp
 by Cally Trench

Writing on the walk to Rainsborough Camp 
by Cally Trench

Cally Trench
Writing on the walk to Rainsborough Camp
Colour photographs

Cally Trench writes: I am conscious of the amount of writing around me in the town where I live: notices, advertisements, signs. I wanted to see how much writing I could find on this rural walk. Most of the writing I found was on us: on our clothes and possessions. There was some writing in the landscape - but not much - although the landscape itself gave evidence of having been worked and inhabited by people for centuries.

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