Monday, 23 May 2011

"WANDERLUST" the backgroundstory, by Ali Koers.

Telling a story about  "water" appealed to me immediately, especially as this project would offer a great chance to learn skills to work with new multimedia techniques.

Water is -after air- the most basic need for all human beings. Being of Dutch origin, but now living in the French Pyrenees I have lived all my life (66 years now) within an excess of water. But I realise that this is not the case for everybody in the world. Free acces to water will soon become one of the biggest problems in the world. Meeting people from al over Europe, from Iceland to Turkey, I learned a lot about the different experiences and -also- emotions connected to water.

Being a visual artists, I'm aware of the power of images to "tell" stories, but I'm also an addicted reader of prose and poetry and so I know the power and beauty of words.
And above this, now I could learn to use all sorts of sounds go enhance the content of the story.

For me a very impressive memory from my childhood was my first visit to the seaside of my country. Living in the eastern part of Holland, very close to the German border, I was twelve years old when our family travelled by bicycle through our country. My mother  was forty-two years old then and she also never saw the sea before.

The place where we spent our vacation was very close to the harbour and the locks of IJmuiden, the last place for the ships to sail to and fro Amsterdam. More then sitting on the beach, my mother loved to spend hours in this site, watching the ships coming in and leaving for a faraway country. She loved to watch the last farewell and welcome parties and all the time there were tears in her eyes. I was to young to understand her tears then.

Before this trip, we used to sail on a small lake in our region. On board, my father, who was a good singer, learned us all sorts of songs from far before WWII.  Amongst them this old shanty song I translated. I'll quote the first and last couplet: 
            When the hawser is thrown loose
            When the gangway is pulled aside 
            When you hear subdued sobbing
            And your eyes are burning smart
            When you see all your loved ones
            Weeping on the quay
            For the first time you'll feel
            what you'll leave  behind in Amsterdam.
            When the lighthouse is still weakly,
            Rising high above the grey and brown
            And the lines of dunes, so blond and pretty,
            Are slowly fading away
            When,while peering into the distance,
            You see mothers loyal eyes,
            You'll feel, finally gloriously crying,
            What you left behind in Holland.

Now I remember my mothers eyes and her tears, which, by now, I learned to understand very well. I think this song expresses her strong longings to travel -her "wanderlust" that she showed later in her life- together with the painful awareness of the attachments to your loved ones and to the place where you are born. Attachments, you feel the most at times of farewells. For me, harbours are places that are connected to this double sentiments.
While our long stays in the harbour of IJmuiden by then might have imprinted in me the fascination for technical and industrial sceneries, subject of my art under the tittle of "Technotopes", I can see that my mothers tears might also have influenced my preference for the reduced use of colours and light in my drawings and paintings. I prefer to bring an atmosphere of melancholy in them, by choosing the time of the day when daylight changes into to scarce artificial lights, that -at the same time- hide and enlighten the amazing mysterious technical world we live in.       

For my mediascape called "Wanderlust" I made twelve drawings of harbours, not especially from Bristol, but some could give the impression of being located there.
For my text I translated a "vocalise" or a "soundpoem" of the Dutch poet Jan Engelman, written before WWII. I want to thank his daughter for giving me permission to use this poem.
The accordeonplayer does not want to be mentioned, and the seagulls and shiphorns also have to stay anonymous.

Thursday, 12 May 2011


fantastic, generous, knowledgable and patient. really great thank you and good luck in your own work.
Mandy x

Bristol - stories and people

My name is Ligia from Romania. I loved this Workshop. I shared a lot of experiences with people from England and other countries. I made friends.  We talked a lot about ourselves and our countries. We have just completed our projects and are very proud of them. In the afternoon we are going to visit Bristol and the suspended bridge.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wednesday 11th of May

A giant leap forward today where we can really see how the technology has become our ally, not an oppositional force. Very strong stories emerging, some completely unexpected and taking me by surprise, great work from everyone, so happy to see participants become comfortable with equipment, and honing their story. I was happy to spend time with Jolanta at a very special boat and record a conversation with her there, to tell Nancy about the God of the Sea and to work with everyone on their beautiful material. Ligia especially deserves to be mentioned for her independent streak and the story of the shipwreck. Strong shapes emerging, a great walk for the people of Bristol to encounter hanging in the air. We are especially grateful to the volunteers who are totally stoic, generous and talented. Thank you to all!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Coming Together

Sights and sounds started coming together as the members of the group who had already recorded their harbourside journeys were shown how to transfer images and audio from the iPhones to the computer. The studio space was abuzz with the hubbub of learners excited to see and hear their personal stories taking shape. Few seemed daunted by the technology. Some participants pressed ahead with confidence, while others needed a little more help. 
Paddy showed how to upload photos and later demonstrated the basic principles of audio editing, while the volunteers were busily engaged in making sure that everyone understood what they needed to understand in order to tell their individual stories. It was clear from the introductory session yesterday that some had some very personal tales to tell, while others just wanted to record their experience of the harbourside in the here and now.
What everyone shared, however, was a real desire to make the technology work for them. The energy in the room from this group of people supposedly past their prime was impressive to behold! The spontaneous joy and laughter that broke out every so often was the perfect counterpoint to the intense concentration that was in the air. (Julia Price  - Volunteer)

Day Two

second day of the workshop

Dear Adina,
Yesterday we went on a boat to visit the Bristol harbour. It was a very windy day. The sights were amazing. I learnt a lot about the English people. Many kisses,

Monday, 9 May 2011

May 9th

Jo from Calvium gave a really good intro to the concept of Apps and located triggers this morning, and how a story can play in the real world, within its surroundings. We looked at each others water related cards and images, and we played a game devised by the new Bristol museum which superimposes artefacts on a mapped reality, the treasures are collected in a virtual hunt. It was a fantastic way to introduce the concept of moving in space tracked by GPS and seeing where the objects could be found according to a real time map on a phone.

People were shown how to record and take pictures on an iphone, then we embarked on a stunning harbour tour in a small boat. The tour in a way completely altered everyones reality, the feedback from seeing Bristol in this way was really interesting and has opened up some really strong possibilites for new stories in direct response to the channels of the city.

Then we had a Euro banquet. Amazing feast, everyone one was so generous, bringing regional food and the sharing was a lot of fun. A great way to end the day. Thanks so much to all the participants for a wonderful start to the project.

We Are About to Start

We are here awaiting the arrival of our participants on a beautiful morning, some clouds, LOTS of water nearby. Everyone has a USB stick to wear around their neck and carry their sound/ visual material in like an amulet with their names on. We are going to introduce ourselves, fill in forms and then first of all look at what  material each of us has brought from our own country as a way to start to talk about water subjectively, creatively and emotionally.

Patrick has collaged a beautiful google earth map of the harbour, it is shaped like a boot, with a sole of water. Participants will locate themselves on this map and hang their aquatic stories in the ether.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Volunteer Training Session

For the Memories and Mediascapes workshop, taking place at Watershed next week, we will be helped out by some amazing volunteers. They will working with the Watershed team to support the older learners from across Europe to share their stories of water and create a soundscape around Bristol Harbourside. Today we had the volunteer training session and it was really inspiring  to meet such a talented group of people. I feel sure that their musical and film background, technical skills and interest in the theme of the workshop - water - will add a richness to the workshop experience and help us to create some really exciting work. I can't wait to get stuck in next week!

Hannah Higginson - Project Coordinator.

Friday, 15 April 2011

water drumming

Falling Water by Frank Loyd Wright

Fallingwater or Kaufmann Residence is a house designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The home was built partly over a waterfall on Bear Run in the Mill Run section of Stewart Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains.
Hailed by Time shortly after its completion as Wright's "most beautiful job",it is listed among Smithsonian's Life List of 28 places "to visit before you die." It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects named the house the "best all-time work of American architecture" and in 2007, it was ranked twenty-ninth on the list of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA.

The Energy of Falling Water/ Hydro-electricity

Steam Train

The beautiful hissing sounds and whistles of a steam train.

Monday, 4 April 2011


Water Xylophone

Flood Mythology

In the bible, Noah and his family are mentioned as the sole human survivors of the Great Flood. Noah was of the tenth generation after Adam, and all peoples of the world would descend from his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth. According to Legend Noah was told by God to build an Arc to save himself and his family from the flood that would destroy all mankind. He brought two of every kind of animal with him in the Arc, one male and one female. After one hundred and fifty days the water receded, and the Arc washed onto the mountains of Ararat. Noah built an altar there, and afterwards continued his life. It is said he lived to become 900 years old, and therewith was the last of the ancient peoples that were immensely long-lived. The story has many versions and in the flood myths of different Ancient Near-East countries, the flood survivor is given different names. Examples are Atrahasis, Ziusudra, and Utnapishtim in Sumerian mythology. The man in the Sumerian myth is saved from the flood by a warning of groundwater god Enki . This god was usually depicted covered with fish scales, with two streams of water originating from his shoulders, one being the Tigris, and the other the Euphrates. Another example of a different version of the legend of the Great Flood is that of Manu in Hindu mythology.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Public Information Water

Sculpted Ice

Destructive Damp

The Great Wave

Water as

Water as a conductor
Water as transporter
Water as life
Water as destroyer
Water as music
Water as a body
Water as an element
Water as a voice
Water as a home
Water as a resource
Water as a territory

Wet footprints

Water Tower

The ways we store water are often very beautiful.


Frozen ice crystals, captured by Wilson Bentley. He photographed his first snowflake in 1885.

Glass of Water