The Coast of Utrecht/de Kust van Utrecht

We walk on land, but water is present everywhere. When you are on land, can you feel a presence of water?

For everyone it will be different, touching our earliest experiences. Nightwalk 2019.4 (18 april) will take as its starting basis a guided contemplation of how water shapes the various (urban, natural, and other) landscapes we traverse. Then we will walk, and allow the insights to vibrate with what we encounter.

One thought to contemplate: the coast of the Netherlands (Scheveningen, Middelburg, Bergen, etc.) was constructed - an intricate and sophisticated system of pumping, draining, moving and barring water - which developed over centuries to manage the delta of the Rhine river so people could inhabit it. As a result, another coast is the sea-level coast which runs just west of central Utrecht. West of this coast the landscape is entirely under sea-level. In Utrecht we live on an invisible beach.

This is just one of many ways to think about water’s closeness to us…

Arkesteijn’s map of current areas under sea-level (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Arkesteijn’s map of current areas under sea-level (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Intervention

a line or form that alters the landscape

so that the landscape can be re-seen.

Witnessed? Unlearnt?

The exploration of space…as feeling and moving through space(s) with a line or form

or simply with a walk.

Letting go

“When you express gentleness and precision in your environment, then real brilliance and power can descend onto that situation. If you try to manufacture that presence out of your own ego, it will never happen. You cannot own the power and magic of this world. It is always available, but it does not belong to anyone.” —Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

From “True Perception: the Path of Dharma Art” This is the process of feeling and interacting with the landscape in developing a site-specific work. But I also feel myself try to push for certain outcomes. It often feels like the opposite - not allowing any room for grace and spontaneity to arise. This seems to say you cannot manufacture a thing into existence, you can only invite it through a non-goal-oriented dance with things as they are. It seems very passive, yet I know exactly what it feels like when it works. How much of this dance can I allow in my life?

A work ethic

what is material
what is drawing
what is space
what is form
what is boundary

tracing - a way to verify the boundaries between body and space, form and non-form.
Secure that they are, I relax - there is a basis to explore non-basis

the moment the copper is wrapped over the branch it begins already to oxidise

it is all drawing, it is all tracing
all creating pathways of
allusion (or delusion)

all tracing is coming to terms with impermanence

Swimming notes

Old weathered wood, and stone sluice from 100 years ago,

walls cracks wild greens

no wind.

Wide water flanked by woonboots.

sun low and bright,

autumn gold glow.

Further, brick houses and copper beeches

Turning around: blue sky, wide white pivot bridge, munt gebouw, modern offices —

all mirrored in liquid I move with my limbs

 

People on decks absorbing light

bicycles speeding across the bridge

no one in the water but me,

a speck.

 

I breaststroke, see my hands swoop under the surface,

a small wake forming behind me

I am in the center, surrounded by houses, people, the five elements, yet

safely in the middle. The thick boundary of water

cushions me from the nervous land.