Winter, 2018

Over a month ago, I removed the last of Cecilie Jordheim‘s blank scores, each one of ten comprising a short movement, with a change each season. Winter seemed to be transitioning to spring, and yet we still had a few more wintery sputters of ice/sleet/snow/cold for a few weeks afterward. These overlaps, seasonal convergences, ‘shoulder’ seasons, seem (my observation) longer than when I first arrived in this region (nearly two decades ago).  As I took the pieces off of their placards in the black walnut grove, I happened to find numbers 1, 3, and 5 in the grass, left from fall planting; these had blown elsewhere into the field and had become snow-covered before I could re-cover them in late November or early December. During that time they weathered well, especially given that they were under snow and ice layers. The length of seasons, I’ve been thinking, have a conceptual relation to Jordheim’s scores — which align  an acoustic marking with visual progression; to date, the recordings of the site are unheard compositions rendered visually through the use of my camera. Rather fun.

The grove is part of a tract of land that has very recently been acquired by the municipality as a community asset. What that means in terms of how it, and the overall  space will continue, or be parcelled and managed, is unclear. Recently, reading Robert Moore’s On Trails (Simon and Schuster 2016), I was struck by (in a chapter focused on land based political/spatial-heritage advocacy) his point that in trying to conserve places, habitats, surrounds, a key motivator is the familiarity of those places; for community members to know of those places as not only experienced, but also as within the shifting forms and variations of community narratives.

Places (and ways to them) comprise a complex social network — an obvious point, but in terms of land ownership and appropriation (linguistic, cultural, socio-political), this has significant implications for interpreting/understanding a variety of histories of the land (as material, as ecological process, as territory ), as well as a variety of experiences that are more intensely sensory, felt, phenomenological, storied. What is recollected becomes partly community memory (if it is intact) and partly evidential knowledge via various forms of record-keeping (if records or the methodologies of recording have been kept and are also intact).

Cecilie Jordheim’s blank scores, their seasonal placings and subsequent renderings via the minutae of movements that occur in the grove, enable the consideration of these scores as a transitory record and collection alongside and within integral components of place-recognition. The irony here, of course, is that while once the black walnut grove might have been fairly well known, in more recent decades, as the community has developed a distance away and walking areas are designed and managed to provide accesses to subdivisions and spaces between subdivisions (smaller parks and forest areas), the black walnut grove is too far or too wild in a sense.

The recent change from railway bed to multi-use trail very close to it may create some exploration opportunities for some who cycle or walk long distances; the space itself, however, seems now to be something that might be hanging in the balance between viable development space and ‘left’ community asset. The trail users that I run into while walking or cycling do explore in this space; they live along the trail or are (through conversation, I’ve discovered) prone to going off trail. Over time, it has become clear that they have seen these pieces; they’ve left them alone and walked past them through the grove, taking Jordheim’s scores in stride, as part of the space, fluctuating with each seasonal change. Nobody actively has acknowledged the black walnut grove in casual conversation; however, our individual use of it over the course of the year has broken a path from the multi-use trail into the first set of pine trees, off trail; eventually that trail will entice others to follow it; it likely already has. Words, given that, haven’t really been needed; our trail is a clear marker of where we’ve been going. A trail, a score,  movement, blank and teeming.

 

 

 

 

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