Enchantment and Embodiment

I’ve been thinking about why I have this fascination with human forms found in trees. My latest film captures the movement of Ash as light changes branches from a sunlight web to dark, haunting fingers. But the form remains, it’s the effect of wind, movement, light that change it, animate it, bring it to life. With many fairy tales refering to the forest, I thought about the idea of ‘enchantment’. As if nature, or humans or witches have cast their will on to inanimate form. And the process of filming, drawing, painting brings the artist close to the subject, connecting it in such a way that an enchantment comes in to being. As much as the artwork comes in to being by the experience of the viewer.

And what about embodiment? Elizabeth Gilbert in her Ted talk described the ideas of the Greeks and genius, that a genie would embody an artist and works of art would be made. If the works were a failure, it was down to the genie, allowing the artist to continue, if it was a success it was also the genie, again allowing the artist to continue without worrying about upholding any reputation,


Ceramic artist Pamela Mei Yee Leung: ‘Maybe we are all mythological’ – video recorded three months before her death: in it you can see the mythological part human, part creature, part flora characters which are embodiments of how she sees her marriage, her cancer, her news, the child she never had.


Embodiment in art is ancient.

The weather has meant I’ve had opportunity to make some new films, but often avoiding the woods in 60mph gusts of wind. It’s been continuous for weeks now, wind and rain. Yesterday we had a day of sunshine and it felt like the end of an American catastrophe film, the sun and calm and blue skies brought everyone out and the spring bulbs coloured a sense of hope. But warnings from the IPCC and James Lovelock aren’t that great. We can expect a sluggish jetstream slowed down by less differential in temperatures between cold north and warm mid-latitudes. This means weather that lingers for weeks, months at a time. As if the air of the northern hemisphere is tired, bored, resting, on auto. In truth it’s a response.

Mr Lovelock’s predictions have been pretty accurate so far, he describes recycling as tokenism to appease a conscience and suggests we put any funds we have in to the hands of tribes that own rainforests, so they keep them and don’t destroy it all for quick money from profiteers. The tree means more. People have lost homes and livelihoods.

This seems so much like a modern fairytale.


I read this yesterday thinking it was fresh news, it was written 2008.


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