Letter from Glasgow: CLOSE UP
I lean my camera up against the window to see if I can get a picture of this strip of hills, in the light that will last just an instant. I zoom the lens in as far as I can. I draw the hills up close to me. The walls of snow are now like private ramparts, holding us in. When it is dark I picture them, enclosing and immediate, as the photograph made them seem. A rearrangement of space, a reassurance.
White pillows inhabit a room. They are listening rooms, offering an intimate posture. They all contain a few minutes of original composition. The sound pillows alternate between sleeping and waking, bringing out a musicality of low masses and soft waves. Tactile and sound surfaces. The association of the object with the world of sleep makes listeners wander like sleepwalkers. The sensuality of contact with the pillowcase, the music coming from inside the pillow, wants to offer a tactile and supra-sensitive experience of sound, experience another form of chamber music.
Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor, cyclically regenerates or is otherwise born again. Thus, there is phoenix meaning symbolism in almost every culture around the world. During this challenging times, we are facing a moment of new definitions, established concepts have come into question. New dynamic and evolving terms related to how people identify are re-codified.
Although it is only the beginning of January, the end of last year has fallen away abruptly. I am still tying up bits and pieces from last year, bracing myself for the weeks or months of uncertainty with the virus spreading faster than ever in my city, and another lockdown. The political failures are depressing but not worth dwelling on here, or anymore. The Crown Letter is different: a gift, a correspondence, a gathering of possibilities – happily the best of last year is carrying on into this one.
I made this recording a week ago for a friend’s radio programme about artists working with light, to send out a burst of optimism and hope for the coming year. I’d like to hold on to the feeling of walking against the wind, and the relief when I turn around to lean on it; the shrill insistent alarm call of oyster catchers; the crusty frozen mud under my boot and the crack and squelch when it breaks through the ice on a puddle.