<b>R/S Res. and Searching for Jossie</b> // R/S Res. y Buscando a Jossie

Abstract

      This collaboration between the poet Daniel Eltringham and the artist David Walker Barker explores the Pennine reservoir landscapes and partially drowned communities of Langsett and Midhope, ten miles north-west of Sheffield. The project comprises Eltringham’s poetic sequence R/S Res., and a collaborative cabinet artwork, exhibited at In the Open, the exhibition that accompanied the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE-UKI)’s biennial conference in 2017. Walker Barker and Eltringham’s cabinet is a playful take on the elusive “Jossie cabin” that gives the work its title and pretext: they set out, unsuccessfully, to locate a vanished shepherd’s hut that had stood on the moorland above Langsett Reservoir. Searching for Jossie juxtaposes objects found on walks in those landscapes with text-and-image slates that work archival photographs and R/S Res. into a textured surface. A selection of these slates, some with text and some without, is presented here alongside Eltringham’s sequence in full. Both Eltringham’s poem and Walker Barker’s palimpsestic technique delve into these landscapes’ geology, ecology and human histories, enacting imaginative reconstructions of a scarcely legible landscape marked by loss. They interrogate a poetics of reserve and resource, surface and substratum, in this complex, layered landscape. R/S Res. pays particular attention to pattern and place; its imperfect grid form is an exploration of randomness and design as an experiment in place-writing. Rather than imposing an external rigidity on the landscape, the conversation it stages between R and S, between Reserve and Surface, Resistance and Scan, Return and Suffice, is the water-logged, dilapidated distant cousin of the avant-garde grid. Lacking any programmatic formalism, it peters out in the face of chance findings and failures, and is more like what is left of a field-system that has itself been partially erased, partially neglected and naturalised, and gradually taken over by the absences that seep through the little that is known.

 

Resumen

      Esta colaboración entre el poeta Daniel Eltringham y el artista David Walker Barker explora los paisajes del embalse Pennine y las comunidades parcialmente sumergidas de Langsett y Midhope, a diez millas al noroeste de Sheffield. El proyecto se compone de la secuencia poética R/S Res. de Eltringham y la obra artística colaborativa, expuesta en In the Open, la exposición que acompañó el congreso bienal de la Asociación para el Estudio de la Literatura y el Medio Ambiente (ASLE-UKI) de 2017.  El gabinete de Walker Barker y Eltringham es una versión juguetona de la escurridiza “cabaña Josie” que da título y pretexto a la obra: parten de viaje, sin éxito, para localizar una cabaña de pastor desaparecida que se encontraba en el páramo sobre el embalse de Langsett.  Buscando a Jossi yuxtapone los objetos encontrados en las caminatas por esos paisajes con losas con texto-e-imágenes que presentan fotografías de archivo y R/S Res. en una superficie texturizada. Se presenta una selección de esas losas, algunas con texto y otras sin, junto con la secuencia completa de Eltringham. Tanto el poema de Eltringham como la técnica del palimpsesto de Walker Barker indagan en la geología, la ecología y las historias humanas de estos paisajes, representando reconstrucciones imaginativas de un paisaje poco legible marcado por la pérdida. Cuestionan una poética de reserva y recurso, superficie y sustrato, en este complejo paisaje a capas. R/S Res. presta especial atención al patrón y el lugar; su forma imperfecta en cuadrícula es una exploración del azar y el diseño como un experimento en la escritura del lugar. En vez de imponer una rigidez externa en el paisaje, la conversación que presenta entre R y S, entre Reserva y Superficie, Resistencia y eScaneo, Regreso y Suficiencia, es la prima lejana anegada y dilapidada de la cuadrícula innovadora. Careciendo de cualquier formalismo programático, se va apagando ante los hallazgos y los fracasos casuales, y es más lo que se deja de un sistema de campo que ha sido parcialmente borrado, parcialmente olvidado y naturalizado, y gradualmente relevado por las ausencias que se filtran a través de lo poco que es conocido.

 

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Author Biographies

Daniel Eltringham, University of Sheffield
Daniel Eltringham completed his PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London, teaches at the University of Sheffield, and is working on a book called Poetry & Enclosure: William Wordsworth to J. H. Prynne. In 2018 he published articles in Green Letters and Textual Practice. His poetry and translations have recently appeared in the anthologies Wretched Strangers: borders movement homes and The World Speaking Back…To Denise Riley (both Boiler House Press, 2018), and in Blackbox ManifoldDatableedCumulusPlumwood MountainColorado Review and Zarf. He co-curated the exhibition Trespass! (Sheffield Institute of Arts, December 2018). In 2017, he collaborated with artist David Walker Barker on the text-image cabinet installation Searching for Jossie (In The Open, Sheffield Institute of Arts) and published Cairn Almanac, a book of poems about field-work, time and climate change (Hesterglock Press). He edits Route 57, the University of Sheffield’s creative writing journal, co-edits Girasol Press and co-runs the reading series Electric Arc Furnace.

 

David Walker Barker, Land2
David Walker Barker is an artist and collector interested in geology, landscape evolution and collecting. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London. Objects, specimens and their presentation as collections have formed an important accompaniment to the paintings, drawings, constructions and cabinets that he produces. He has taught at the University of Leeds and at Bretton Hall College of Higher Education, where he was also subject leader in Fine Art painting. In the years prior to retirement he completed three major research assignments including an AHRC-funded research project and exhibition, In Search of a Hidden Landscape (2005–2006). An Arts-Science based collaborative project, The Naked Quarry including exhibitions and a major publication, was completed in 2008. In 2010 he completed Objects of Curious Virtue: Echoes of John Ruskin, the Cabinets and Artworks of David Walker Barker, in collaboration with the Ruskin Library and Research Centre at Lancaster University. Since then he has continued his involvement in research and exhibitions, acted as peer reviewer for art-science based research projects and had various advisory and consultancy roles with art-based and museum-based exhibitions. He was made a Companion of the Guild of Saint George in 2010 and is an honorary member of LAND2.
Published
2019-04-27