Cup and Ring – Haunted by a Symbol

I am being haunted by a symbol!

During the summer a visitation to one of the richest sites of ancient psychogeographic energy – Kilmartin Glen. 

In particular the cup and ring marks at Auchnabreck, led to a fascination with this symbol that transcends cultures and geographies and yet refuses to yield up any verifiable meaning. Theories abound: possibly aesthetic, ceremonial, territorial or route markers are common propositions.

I stare at my iPod and the podcasting symbol. Whilst ostensibly a human form/antenna enveloped in concentric circles, it is clearly identifiable as a cup and ring symbol.

The latest edition of the marvellous music magazine The Wire pops through the letterbox. Cup and ring imagery radiates from the cover. ‘Noise in the ether: explorations in the art of radio transmission’. Dialed in, tuned in, picking up the signal.

Last night, Flower and Dancer are watching The X Factor. Before each contestant performs, they are enveloped in cup and ring digital effects.  Channeling their karaoke talents into the receptive cerebrum of popular culture.

In all of these images  I like the idea of transmission; of energy radiating outwards, of ripples on the surface of consciousness being picked up by the tuned in antenna.  Perhaps our ancient forebears were also receptive to this idea, way before the discovery of radio waves begat such an adaptable and iconic image.  These ancient rock carvings continue to transmit their own seductive energy and whilst the signal to noise ratio is weak, the dials are picking up the broadcast. Even the popular culture charms of the X Factor are not immune.

And what of these ancient symbols within the Fife landscape? I was delighted to find out about some perfectly preserved examples on Binn Hill at Burntisland.  A field trip for the collective beckons.

Now playing: Kayo Dot – Choirs of the Eye

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From hill to sea
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