Singing the Line into Existence
Singing the Line Into Existence, is an incredibly imaginative and exciting art project in the making, set up by a group of local artists. As yet it is in the early stages and they are seeking Crowdfunding as a way of raising money to get the whole thing done.. The group are determined to get what is really an important multi-discipline project off the ground and are doing their best to raise £8,000 to put their ideas into action.
There has been a movement for some time to see the rail line from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth re-opened, and it would have a profoundly beneficial effect on the whole of West Wales. It would be great from a green perspective, and it would re-connect places that have been virtually out of touch for years. Until people come to this area they have no idea of the vast spaces between towns and villages, and the art brings all of that into its scope. Many ways to raise the profile of this issue have come forward but none more inventive or imaginative than the multi-artist led project just opened titled ‘Singing the Line into Existence’. Led by artist Joanna Bond, a ceramicist, and dancer, the plan is to work up the interest in the restoration of the line by using music, dance, storytelling and film-making to revitalise the idea and bring it to the front of the consciousness of local people.
Involved in what will be a bilingual project alongside Joanna, are musicians Ceri Rhys Matthews, Elsa Davies, Mary Jacob, and Lynn Denman, video recording and video artwork from Jacob Whittaker, storytelling with Peter Stevenson and Guto Dafis and many more people are involved. People may support the idea of the re-opening of a rail line into West Wales on a theoretical level, but this is a way to join in attracting attention to it, and helping to create a wonderful piece of artwork. All there is to know about the project and how people can contribute is here on Wordpress at: singingthelineintoexistence.wordpress.com
I love to hear of a local artist taking their work to a wider world so I was genuinely pleased to hear that Sean Vicary’s short film ‘Lament’, is now showing in London at the Standpoint Gallery with several others in (Un)Natural Narratives. Lament, was originally shown in Cardigan, at the Small World Theatre, and I wrote about it at the time for the Tivyside. Even now two years later I have a clear memory of moments within the film which made me catch my breath, or provoked a yearning for something, perhaps a lost landscape or perhaps simply a vanished youth, a lost part of the self.
The film was made as a collaborative piece with musician Ceri Rhys Matthews, and is an evocative and beautifully crafted animation, lifted to an even more affecting experience by the haunting musical element. Sean Vicary explains that he was inspired to make it in part to capture how deeply his early years of living on the borders of England and Wales in Shropshire had affected him. His awareness of a far away land beyond the hills clearly coloured his childhood dreams, and though it was later in life that he moved to Wales, his awareness of its proximity and its call had been with him throughout his growing years. An early Welsh poem Canu Heledd, offered him a profound insight into the land where he was brought up. The poem tells the story of the defeat in the 7th century of the Welsh king Cynddylan, and the fall of Powys. It describes a ruined land, a slaughtered royal house and the rich Powys lowlands lost forever to Wales, and thereafter recognised as a part of Shropshire The film itself has a poetic structure, with a rhythmic thread and repetitive symbolic visual language. Its theme could be likened to Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill, where the adult poet looks back and both celebrates and grieves his lost youth. The visual impact of Lament lies in its combination of images of the natural environment, with the use of animation to depict the fragility of life, and the gradual decay that occurs inexorably around us. The lament, is the wail that comes across time from the ancient poet, and equally from the bereaved in any age. The whirling trees, the uplifted totems, the dancing skeleton and the throbbing core, or heart, all speak of the ‘unbearable lightness of being’ and the inevitable aptness of the aphorism ‘in the midst of life we are in death’.