Note - All quotes below are taken from the video All Begins With A: inspired by the SUNRISE and the Listening Journal of Janneke van der Putten, The quotes and pictures are presented here not in their original order, but in the order in which I recorded them during my visits of the artwork. For the original material see the links below.I visited the exhibit several times and made photographs, recordings and notes. Below are my personal notes. This is an incomplete and jumbled version of the artwork as I recorded and reconstructed it. (The original and full version is here.) Below is my struggle to capture a feeling that refuses to be captured. Even a year later I cannot put it into words.
Note: In her collaborative work Invisible Architecture with Christian Galarreta the artists describe this feeling in a poem accompanying the sound recording: you can't grasp.
I see a vague shape in the dark. Slowly I realize that this is the prow of a canoe that makes its way across the water. I see hills and woods at sunrise. I'm floored by the beauty of calm exploration. Of getting to know a place. I make my first disjointed notes:
The clouds and shades ...
the duration of a spot of light ...
aller dans un lieu inconnu ...
It is winter right now ...
and I perceive not only the presence of animals ...
I see the mountain on the left. ...
stronger waves throw themselves onto the sand. ...
I come back. The fascination of those tiny spots of light in the background. Not knowing - yet - what they hide, what they promise. Slowly discovering their relation with the topography. Mountains, hills, how I miss them here in the flatlands. More disjointed, incomplete notes:
We are getting there.
dressed in the white frost ...
Where does time stop? In the transition between night and day?
It is an enlarged moment.
The differences between day and night become audible also.
The shimmer of the mist. ... is a time that has to be lived:
... a time that becomes my interior. ...
Just a fish is heard beyond the confines of its water.
Or, the fish stretches its space lifting out of the water ...
The beauty of the ancient talks in the stone - dressed in the white frost
of the morning.
The dry cracking of the hardened sand is always the witness of the traces of winter. For now aurora scatters in the intense tranquility of a world in spontaneous parallel actions.
8 December 10th station
There were white sheep. One white sheep wore a bell, around the neck.
Also we can't hear the wind beating the flag. The motor of the pump is silent.
... stronger waves throw themselves onto the sand. They are echoing also.
... Again a light breeze at daybreak, ...
I wonder if I could understand the lake.
Its form is not that of a circle as one would imagine.
It is a labyrinth of adventurous walks. ...
... with the wind and ... faraway airplane ...
The crows appear and engage in their trees.
Behind me the microphone listens and records.
In front of me, the duration of a spot of light ...
crossing the mountain ... and my breath; ... my voice stops suddenly.
On one of the walls is a long row of photographs. I recognize the lake and the mountain. It is early morning. I get another view of the landscape. I try puzzle the pieces together. Is this the walk from the artist's workplace to the lake? Is this how the video was made? How I would love to explore a place so intimately. More notes, by hand, just like the artist did it:
Aller dans le silence, aller dans un lieu inconnu autour de nous.
La voix est partie et des cercles s'étendent se rencontrent se croisent.
More photographs. I recognize the lake, the boat, the trees, the hills. How I would like to sit at such a place at such a moment. I'm reminded of Bas Jan Ader and his Farewell to faraway friends. More notes.
I am reminded of the "stations of the cross", like this is a ritual, a pilgrimage. More notes:
Everything awakens into motion during the dawn. ...
It is winter right now and I perceive not only the presence of animals but humans too, going to work at this time of day.
It must be almost eight o'clock. ...
I arrive at the sixth station, and I ask myself how many places I will visit in total to encircle the whole island. ...
From here, I see the mountain on the left. It is always my point of reference. ...
The cars make themselves heard more, here upon the outskirts. ...
Those beautiful trees against the morning sky. That jagged line between earth and sky. More notes:
We are getting there.
Listening, I am waiting for time and all its unexpectedness;
it as if one cannot be another.
... could not be any other.
The fascinating, mysterious points of light in the background. Where are they? How far are they? What are they? Getting to know their place and meaning in the landscape. But are the points of light more or less mysterious than the sun shining through the mist? Do we really know the lake? Can we ever know a place?
Note: The artist has told me that the points of lights are lamps hung in the trees, working on solar energy that form the artwork Graines de lumière by Erik Samakh, 2003.
More notes. The notes are getting better and more coherent, I've brought a camera for this visit. Still it's impossible to catch every line of text. The video is as impressive as ever, knowing it better has not diminished its effect.
The shimmer of the mist is a time that has to be lived:
The beauty of the ancient talks in the stone
dressed in the white frost of the morning.
The dry cracking of the hardened sand
is always the witness of the traces ...
For now aurora scatters in the intense tranquility
of a world in spontaneous parallel actions.
There were white sheep.
One of the white sheep wore a bell, around the neck.
Now, they are not there anymore.
Also we can't hear the wind beating the flag.
The motor of the pump is silent.
After the passage of the boats,
stronger waves throw themselves onto the sand.
They are echoing also.
I hear the bird on the other side of the lake.
And the resonance of the callings.
Again, a light breeze at daybreak.