Culross to Dunfermline: Social Walk, Sunday 25th September

Next Sunday, September 25th, we are participating in a social walk which takes its inspiration from tracing Ben Jonson’s journey from Culross Palace to Dunfermline Abbey nearly 400 years ago. The walk is part of a wider project initiated by the University of Edinburgh led by James Loxley and Anna Groundwater. Below you will find full details of the event and you would all be very welcome to join the walk in full or in part. If you require any further information please drop us a comment or contact Miranda Swift directly (miranda.swift (at) @ed.ac.uk)

Hope to see and meet some of you there!


From Miranda Swift:

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25TH
JOIN US IN TRACING BEN JONSON’S WALK FROM CULROSS PALACE TO DUNFERMLINE ABBEY

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Detail from John Slezer’s Prospect of Dunfermline, 1693

Nearly 400 years ago, Ben Jonson travelled on foot from London to Edinburgh, and from there to Fife. He took his time, stopping at inns and private houses, meeting new people and socialising, listening to stories and telling his own. It’s this kind of travel that we’ve taken as the inspiration for a social walk from Culross Palace to Dunfermline, following the route that not only travellers like Jonson, but local folk as well, have long been taking.

Along with some fantastic collaborators from Forth Pilgrim the Fife Psychogeographical Collective and Fire Station Creative , we’ll be joined by a diverse crew of walkers, including storytellers, artists, musicians, and historians. To help us gather the sights and sounds of the landscape, as well as our responses to it, we’ve invited film and photography students from Fife College to come along, and we’d also like to encourage everyone to get involved with as much or as little participation as you like. Bring a sketchbook, a poem, a camera, or just your walking boots!

The total distance is 9 miles, however you’re welcome to join us at the start and leave at any point along the route, join us at our mid-way stop at Cairneyhill and carry on, or meet us at at the Fire Station Creative in Dunfermline at the end, and join in the party. We’ll be treated to some excellent live music from local Fife musician Andy Shanks, as we swap stories and rest our feet.

For a little bit of background on Ben Jonson’s walk, and the University of Edinburgh project, led by James Loxley and Anna Groundwater, which this walk is a part of, check out Ben Jonson’s Walk. James has also written up a blog post on our upcoming Fife Social walk, delving into Jonson’s attitude towards travel and discovery, which you can read here:

This walk is open to all, so please forward this information on to anyone who you think might be interested, and we look forward to meeting you.

ITINERARY
10:15 – Meet outside the front of Culross Palace in the square, look for the bust of Admiral Cochrane
10:30 – James reads from Jonson’s account of the Palace
10:40 – Set off
13:00 – Refreshment break at The Maltings Hotel, Cairneyhill
16:00 – Finish at The Fire Station Creative, Dunfermline
16:00 – 19:00 – Social gathering with music, poetry, and good company

INTERACTIVE WAY-STATIONS
You may have noticed the yellow marks on our map. These are stopping points where some of our participants will be leading interactive sessions, which will include:
Local stories, myths, legends
Focusing-senses exercise
Local history (George Bruce’s moat pit, Newmills Bridge, etc.)
Poetry readings (Thomas A. Clark’s ‘In Praise of Walking’)

DETAILS
Date: Sunday, September 25th

Time: 10:30 am – 4:00 pm

Start: Culross Palace

Finish: Fire Station Creative in Dunfermline. It is located next door to the new Tesco on Carnegie Drive, KY12 7AN.

Distance: 9 miles. Please refer to the maps attached for details of the route taken, marked in red.

Joining/Leaving: A convenient meeting place should you only want to walk part of the route is The Maltings Hotel, Cairneyhill. We aim to reach it by 1pm for a short refreshment break.

Transportation: Please refer to the bus schedule on Map 1 attached here. Bus 8 leaves stance 11 at Dunfermline Bus Station at 9:35 on Sunday, arriving Culross Palace at 10:03. Further bus information, including bus times from Culross and Cairneyhill to Dunfermline, are also attached to Map 1. Alternatively, visit the Stagecoach website, or ring 01592 645680 for up to date info.

Accessibility: The route will follow footpaths, though be aware that surfaces may be uneven in places, and you are responsible for your own safety when using them. We will be walking along the coast for the first half, and then walking up a couple of hills. It is not a difficult hike, but be prepared for a long walk, and remember to bring enough water with you.

Meal Break: Please bring a packed lunch with you. Due to the number of people and the time restrictions of the walk, we won’t have time to be served lunch in the hotel. There is a shop in Cairneyhill where you can buy a sandwich if you find you forgot yours, or need two!

If you have any further queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, the project administrator, via email or by phone. I’m always happy to chat about the project, and will hopefully be able to answer your questions. Also, if you could let me know if you will be attending, please let me know. Thanks in advance, and I hope to see you on the walk!

Miranda Swift
Research Project Administrator
The University of Edinburgh
miranda.swift (at) ed.ac.uk
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Fragments of Istria: an Assemblage

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We could eat this sky.

Stretch up, scoop out

handfuls; smear our faces

and taste the fanfare

of sunset.

 

II

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Out of red earth

lines of olive trees, vines

and quarried stone.

 

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Centuries of building,

dwelling, tending

the land, goats

and cattle.

 

Another cyprus tree – rooted

in tangled narratives

of departure

vivid light

and shadow play.

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No neatly packaged hay bales in the uncanny rural. Creatures of twilight, sit hunched in the corner of smallholdings, backs turned. In fading light, walking past these halo-skewered field dwellers: was that a lengthening shadow? a sigh? a suggestion of movement?

IV

They would appear in the adjoining field at around 7.00pm each evening. A symphony of bells heralding their arrival. We never did see where they came from. They would feast in the field for around half an hour, a clanking cacophony of movement. Occasionally, one would come over to eye us up, usually the smallest with the highest pitched bell. Curious young eyes stared us out. Yet, these eyes tapped into something much older. Some fundamental rhythm of the land. Jaws rotating in perpetual motion and then, as they do, leaping into the air as if the earth had administered an electric shock to their hooves. A display of exuberance and delight in contrast to the slow, deliberate movements of the herd elders. They kept their heads down, chewing, chewing, chewing. After a cycle of time, which we were not party to, the deepest, most sonorous bell started to sound out a rhythm. The largest goat of the herd was calling time and starting to amble away. Gradually, the other goats began to follow, bells around their necks congealing into a moving mass of sound. A few short explosive trills as the stragglers ran to catch them up. We watched as the herd turned a corner and listened as the bells faded into the distance.

 

V

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A visit to the small hilltop town of Motovun and very surprised to meet this straw giant and his dancing acolytes. Staring us out with his silent gaze, he must have been over twenty feet tall,  At his feet, some folk ritual or dance taking place, arms thrown open to embrace the sun. Something of the Wicker Man about it all.

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As far as I could find out, his name is Veli Jože, a giant who lived (lives?) in a local truffle-rich forest. Local stories suggest that he has been known to enter the town and physically shake the church tower to sound the bell.

 

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To reach Motovun, it is a steep walk up the hillside to reach the town perched on top. Whilst not religious, was touched by the care and beauty displayed in the construction of this minimal roadside shrine.

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Motovun sits is on a hill in the Mirna valley and evidence of human settlement dates back to prehistoric times when it would have been surrounded by water. The river Mirna is Istria’s longest river and legend has it that Jason and the Argonauts fled down the estuary after having captured the Golden Fleece.

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VI

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Another hill-top town, this time with a twist. Dvigrad is a relatively well-preserved mediaeval ghost town in the Draga valley. The population was initially decimated by the Black Death in the 16th century and finally abandoned completely in the early 1700s. As the town was unoccupied, it was spared from the destructive ravages of war which were a constant feature on the Istrian peninsula. Today, the town gates still exist, and it is possible to walk around the town walls. The defence tower still rises to cut the blue sky and interior room structures of the 200 odds houses are clearly visible.

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VII

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Aura of the town walls: return of the gaze:

To perceive the aura of an object, we look at, means to invest it with the ability to look at us in return … when this expectation is met … there is an experience of the aura to the fullest extent.

Walter Benjamin

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.

VIII

Amongst the networks of rural paths and tracks.

Always the walls:

 

 

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Stacked

Held

Holding

.

IX

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Entropic Futures.

An alien structure in the rural landscape:

the new, never having ever been.

We were staying on the Istrian peninsula in what could best be described as an agricultural hamlet, mostly comprised of smallholdings and cottage style dwellings. These were all constructed in a similar style with what looked like local quarried stone. A network of paths and tracks connected up to other nearby hamlets which were also of a similar architectural style. When we stumbled across the half completed building above, it looked as alien to its surroundings as finding a mountain bothy in the middle of Las Vegas.

The scale of the building was completely out of proportion to anything else locally. The pick and mix collision of architectural styles created a bizarre postmodern mash-up with a tear shaped swimming pool or fish pond, bizarre minaret style columns half-built on the roof and Italian style interiors. What was clear, was that the building was the new that had never been. We wandered around the half completed rooms, bare wires hanging out of walls, yet opulent installed marble bathrooms. Work had clearly stopped some time ago with the extensive grounds already starting to be reclaimed by nature. It was as if we had walked into the film set of a Ballard adaptation, where the crew had disappeared.

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Of course we had to construct some sort of narrative as to what had happened here. Ms A came up with the one that we settled on. The remote location, stilted opulence and rather garish tastes indicated that this could have been a low-key hideaway for some gangster or Mafiosi. Work on the property was well underway when they were either rubbed out, banged up, or cleaned out of money, leaving this rural fun palace to slowly begin to merge back into the Croatian countryside. The new that had never been.

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X

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Walking a line

an iridescent alchemist

pulls the sun

across the sky

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XI

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XII

That night, an absence of city light and gravity. We fell from earth, lost our breath, immersed in that plunge pool of dark sky. We learned to gather stars, eat planets for sustenance, grab comet tails to move. The dawn light made us heavy again. We fell back.

≈≈≈

Now playing: Maja S. K. Ratkje – Crepuscular Hour 

Posted in Ephemera - Encounters, Ephemera - Signs and Signifiers, Field Trip, Folk-Lore, Found Art, Happenstance, Observation, Poetry, Psychogeography, Quote, rag-pickings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Good Times = 2016 =

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Perhaps just another graffiti strewn doorway but the phrase “Good Times = 2016 =” called out. I doubt that there are many people I know who would readily conflate 2016 and ‘good times’.  So just a throwaway action with a spray can? irony? a small act of resistance?

Possibly it was just a coincidence but passed this doorway during the Edinburgh Festival. A time when the city opens its arms to the world in a celebration of all the performing arts, bringing together audiences and artists. Just walking the streets, soaking up the creative energy can bring sustenance. Good Times indeed.

And what about that figure on the bottom right?

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Now playing: King Champion Sounds – To Awake in That Heaven of Freedom (Thanks to Teesside Psychogeography for altering me to this. Check out their excellent blog Smell of Water).

Posted in Ephemera - Signs and Signifiers, Found Art, Observation, Psychogeography, rag-pickings, Symbol | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

foreground / distance

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foreground / distance

fractured red diamonds

through scattered prisms

to grey horizons

 

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Passing, at speed, on a train through the three red diamonds of the Forth Rail Bridge. The eye drawn to the foreground. Shards of red-painted steel, morph and distort, through shifting prisms of wind-scattered raindrops. The Firth of Forth, a grey blanket folded at the horizon beneath a brightening sky.

Now playing: Tim Hecker – ‘Prism’ from Virgins.

Posted in Ephemera - Signs and Signifiers, Found Art, Happenstance, Observation, Poetry, Psychogeography, rag-pickings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflector / \ Conductor

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 Light Lit

Reflector /     \ Conductor

of Car Park

Transmutation

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In /     \ at the car parks of Rosyth Halt and Inverkeithing railway stations, Fife.

Now playing: Ulrich Krieger – /RAW: ReSpace/

Posted in Ephemera - Signs and Signifiers, Happenstance, Observation, Poetry, Psychogeography, rag-pickings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sundial

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all the shadows of time

since sixteen eighty nine

Now playing: Licht-Akiyama Trios – Tomorrow Outside Tomorrow.

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The Empty Room

a3653685691_16Murdo Eason is delighted to have contributed a new text – Petrichor – to this ‘collaborative assembly’ with Amsterdam based musician Orphax and art director Dave Fyans. (aka Erstlaub). It is part of the continuing li_series on the Broken20 label.

li is the random but recognisable patterning found in many aspects of nature – the grain in wood or the fibre in muscle. While it is easy to recognise, it is impossible to define. li_series elaborates on this ‘thematic overlapping’ by combining sonic works alongside new commissioned texts. This series of 10 collaborative assemblies are released as a printed A5 text, audio download and high quality 7×5” photo print. 

Fourth in the series is ‘The Empty Room’ by Moving Furniture label owner and Broken20 friend Sietse van Erve aka Orphax. The text is a collaboration with Murdo Eason from the Fife Psychogeographical Collective, whose piece is entitled ‘Petrichor’. Broken20 art director David Fyans continues his visual narrative that provides a common context to the series, his found pieces once again reconfigured into the print that accompanies the release. In its sonic form, this instalment features two knee-deep sine wave experiments.

Eason’s text seems to modify the sound itself, shifting even the first piece from a plaintive reverie to channelling of dark spirits. One can imagine a languid Tarkovsky shot of the titular room, a dolly gradually encircling the empty space, the scent of musk and dank practically creeping out from the screen. The author takes inspiration from the environmental clues afforded by Fyans in his artwork. A chip of obsidian becomes “Smooth, solid flux”, a literal touchstone for the ideas of solipsism and dearly held memory that populate ‘Petrichor’.

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You can find out more about the entire li_seriesThe Empty Room and other Broken20 releases here.

Now playing: Orphax – The Empty Room.

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