Lithic

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LITHIC

“….Over the last few years, my increasing interaction with ancient and archaic stones, structures and stone objects, led me to ponder whether my long term general interest in the mythology and folklore attached to stone, and its place in human experience might be explored through the prism of a putative “Lithic Memory”….”

“…In setting out to research selected written and anecdotal records relating to our intimate relationship with stone, it became increasingly obvious that the magical, religious and folkloric power of stone is inextricably linked to the presence of the observer, and subsequently to the human perceptual mechanism.  This centres around interesting questions arising from human perception of subtle energies believed to reside within stone,  and the role of stone in the core functions of many ancient (and modern) societies which appear to depend upon such perceptions…”

“…It would not be beyond the realms of scientific reason to recognise that stone, at varying levels of complexity, possesses electronic properties, which may or may not give it the ability to store information, and therefore possess a form of “lithic memory.” Further research into the energetic properties of stone, and it’s ability to “record”;  to literally store echoes of past events, and subsequently to act as a focus for expressions of sanctity, began to accumulate as a murky synthesis of solid state physics, mythology, and psychology…”

“…Lithic, can therefore be viewed as an artistic/poetic/exploratory questioning of the nature of our relationship with stone, focussed upon arcane or archaic monoliths, walls, objects and monuments, and how this “lithic memory” might potentially be decoded and interpreted…”

“…Perhaps the reason that I’m drawn to the lost, forgotten, neglected, ignored and abandoned, [apart from a certain dark, melancholic aesthetic conjured from memory and loss], is that these places act powerfully on the imagination. I see the capturing of images, and coalescent sense impressions as acts of retrieval. My work is most often a futile attempt at reconstructing a half-imagined past, breathing life into that which is inert, giving voice to that which maintains enigmatic silence, re-enchanting that which has fallen by the wayside, obscured,  and mundane….”

“…People talk of “ancient stones” and their associated power, but surely all stone, by it’s very nature, is ancient? Are the stones that line the mountains and valleys not as mysterious, as powerful as those hewn and set down by ancient man?  Perhaps the frequent ritualised interaction of man and stone imbues the stone with some other, hitherto indescribable energy..the life-force of the genius loci? ..”

“…Having visited many ancient, sacred or significant sites, it is interesting to note that for many people, initial contact with such places is tactile. There is something innate that compels us to touch stones, to feel a vibration, a revenant perhaps, or simply to tangibly connect with that which has passed through the centuries?  This is not hard science, and makes no claims at scientific rigour. For me, this is a form of divination, dowsing, something approaching the poetic and impressionistic, listening to the voices within, and trusting the intuitive, the instinctual, and allowing it to flow and permeate the work…”

“..Doesn’t stone, possessed of longevity, endurance, durability, bear all of the outflowings of our creative imagination? Aside from pure utility, as waymarker, grave marker, the ceremonial, the monumental, the sacred;  stone has also been the canvas upon which the first and last humans will scratch, daub, etch, chisel, and imprint their potent imaginings, preserved in perpetuity…”

All text excerpts from “Lithic”, some selections have been edited and reduced, and are therefore not representative of final copy.

copyright B G Nichols, Place Editions 2015

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Blackland, Northumberland

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Impressions of an abandoned lead miners cottage near Weardale, Northumberland, July 2015

The edge of the moor – Blackland

A name that summons the darkening heather. Vast inland sea of changeling flora, plotting transits from purple to leadgrey, then coalblack.

And there.. Isolated.  Lost to the moor.

Solitary. Bereft here.

A Stone Cottage.

Abandoned, dispossessed,  derelict.  Roofless shell.

Deadhusk.

I hesitate on approach. A mire underfoot., foliage ensnaring.

The pulse of the moor quickens. Birds wheel noisily at the wall’s edge.

Cloud gatherers.  The stones their carrion.

Waiting

The sun, a glaring eye, illuminates the scene. Then dark clouds intervene, a screen, a cataract. Obscuring.

Create false shadows.

Trees, Grasses susurrate, then bend –  in deference?

Indifferent.  To my intrusion

I peer through a windowless aperture, hoping to capture

a revenant spark , a glimmer of life. The hearth still warm? distant echo of activity? insistent clatter of hoof on cobble?

Your song, hovering.  Suspended in the land.

Your eulogy, lost to the wind.

Your epitaph, a crumbling stone.

The stark poetry of the riven.

Silent.           Yet sentient.

Put my ear to cold, dark walls. Track the contours, fissured, fractured, contorted. Wait for a whisper, murmur, scent.  Try not to linger on pathos, sorrow, loss. Aching for a memory.

Memorial..  You

Desolate

In some places, these stones would be reclaimed, relocated, dispersed. Disarticulated fragments, bequeathed new life.

Yet these stones lay quietly obsolete. Unclaimed.

mute, anonymous, unavowed.

This crude rectilinear form, agonisingly dissolving, collapsing into itself.

Rotting timber. Shattered slate. Decompose into the soil.

Stoneseeds that propagate the next life.

Copyright B G Nichols 2015

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