elenahpowell

(More) reasons why I love the Moomins

In Blackbird, Fly 35mm TLR, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things on March 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm

As if I even need reasons…if you don’t love the Moomins I’m sure there’s something wrong with you. It’s fun relating work back to books or kids TV shows or whatever, it means watching nice documentaries about Moomins counts as research and is therefore productive…

I’m collecting Moomin quotes, and it’ll probably end up being extended to collecting quotes from books I really really liked when I was little, but Snufkin always seems to come up with the best things.

“It’d be awful if the world exploded, it’s so wonderfully splendid”

“I’ll come when it suits me” said Snufkin, “perhaps I shan’t come at all. I just may set off in another direction entirely.”

Walking was easy because his rucksack was almost empty and he didn’t have to worry about anything. Snufkin was pleased with the forest, the weather and himself. Tomorrow and yesterday were equally distant from him now, for just at that moment the bright red sun was shining down from between the birch trees, and the air was cool and mild.

Snufkin wandered about southwards, stopping to pitch his tent from time to time and to let the time pass. He travelled without a plan, looking about him without much thought, remembering nothing and sleeping a great deal.

“Today we must do something very special, for it will be a glorious day.”

I’m not sure which is my favourite Moomin, maybe Snufkin, or maybe Moomintroll or Moominmama – I have a Moominmama actually, she’s got a handbag and everything – or one of the others I’ve forgotten. I mostly remember them eating pancakes a lot, with jam which I think is strange… Anyway, Moomins because I nicked a hat from Steph so my head didn’t freeze when we walked down the canal. And it looks like a Snufkin hat, or what I’ve always thought Snufkin should wear (google tells me he actually wears some strange green pointy hat).

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At the moment I’m not sure I want to make something tangible, not an object or thing or drawing or even video as such. I’ll probably use some/all to play about and/or document, but it’d almost be nicer if the work wasn’t…if it didn’t overtly intervene in the space (space being around the canal). I don’t think I could add anything to improve anything (I have no desire to make it worse, only nicer), or make it prettier or more interesting or anything else. Which leaves something slightly…performative I suppose. I said a while ago I’d never do that again…but well, I do seem to keep sneaking back into my work after all.

We went walking on Tuesday (when it was cold and dank and snowy), pretty sure I’m the only one that actually enjoyed that. Although it was more like a school trip than going exploring, walking in a crocodile and everything. Hard to explore and look and document and wander when there’s lots of people (although walking quicker than everyone else helped that). I took the Blackbird TLR seeing as it was miserable (I’m not sure the DSLR would appreciate that much rain/snow), got the film developed yesterday – and one from the Sardina, which didn’t really work. Both very out of date film though, what was left in the fridge in Leicester. I worked out that we walked roughly 2 miles in total (and then I walked another 4, which I’ll ramble about in a sec).

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I’ve got some snippets of sound from walking, mostly wind noise though (having listened to some), fingers were too cold to write and it was easier to record! I’m not sure what I’ll do with them though. I went back with Steph yesterday and sat on a bench right at the top of the canal for a bit, but it was still too cold to really draw. So I have some videos of waves and not much else. Except some (ugly) intimidating 50lb (I was reading about the canal, I didn’t weigh one) duck things.

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I’ve got quite a few drawings from after, well ‘drawing’ in a loose sense. Marks. Meaning writing. I said I wouldn’t write anything in my drawing book, look how long that lasted… Writing everything I remembered from walking, and things I only noticed afterwards, all in crammed together with no spaces. I don’t have pictures, but yeah… I ordered all the letters alphabetically this morning, that took ages. I’ve got written directions to get from the studio to the canal to my flat as well. Split between text and something performative, which is where Snufkin comes in (I hadn’t forgotten), perhaps they aren’t mutually exclusive. I think it’d be nice to follow Snufkin’s advice – and example I guess – at every opportunity, to wander and look and just be. I’m not sure if that’s work, but it’d make me happy and maybe that’s good enough. Plus I quite like the idea of dressing up (not entirely!) as Snufkin and playing at being something else for a while, I’ve got a hat (it’d be fun to have a pipe, but not useful) and I’ve been carrying my ‘explorer kit’ around with me which I think is enough. It’s not intervening per se, just observing and looking and writing and pretending and being happy wearing a funny hat.

I can’t decide if I should go at the same time every day and sit in the same spot or walk the same bit over and over or just go when I feel like walking (which at the moment isn’t a lot, feeling ill and icky all week – hence being in bed before 5 today). Try both. I was looking at Hamish Fulton this morning (again) and realised the writing I had looked disappointingly like some of the huge text pieces he’s done, and I’m not sure they’re my favourite things ever but as remnants they’re quite nice. Maybe the drawing or writing or whatever I do whilst playing at being Snufkin/an explorer will be something similar (not in content, but as a reminder, proof). And listening to Janet Cardiff things because I found that if you stick headphones into my voice recorder you can listen to what it records live, and it sounds quite different from how things actually sound. It’s not so noticeable staying still, but walking around it sounds odd. Found that out walking back from the library (on the way there I recorded the sound of a tree falling, quieter than expected), I was going to record something then play it back to replace the noise going on as I walked, but it ended up more interesting. Footsteps sound especially nice, kind of like a heartbeat. Albeit a slightly irregular heartbeat. I’ve done quite a lot this week without really noticing I think.

Anyway – more exciting things (yes, more exciting than moomins, really). Firstly, Tuesday I paid half of a deposit for a flat, which is amazing and wonderful and makes me happy beyond reason. Sharing with three others, a nice flat, with a pub right opposite, and closer to the main library than I am now which is good. Not moving in until September, so I’ll be going back to Leicester for the summer. The extra four miles I walked on Tuesday came from walking to to two flat viewings (the second being ours – sounds so nice to say!) and then all the way across town to a bit beyond George St to go the estate agents. Eek.

And the other exciting thing, well, not so much exciting as ‘thank god it’s finally over’ – I submitted my essay yesterday morning. It’s precisely 1500 words, which made it better. Not exactly happy with it, but I don’t…really care anymore. It’s done, I’ve written something. Hopefully that’ll do. I’d asked for an extension seeing as the deadline being moved mucked up my writing plan, but having the illusion of an extension meant I actually wrote lots and so I didn’t need it after all. Handed in five days early. No lectures, no essay, no flat hunting. Just scary-as-hell-summative-assessment and then an exhibition project after Easter break (which I’m pretty sure is nowhere near Easter). I think that’s enough writing…

 

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