The Trafo sits right at the edge of the village and is adjacent to one of the most popular walking routes out of the village and into the woods. So, most days, there is a frequent stream of dog walkers and walkers (as frequent as in a village of 270 people allows for). I don’t recognise most of the people, they don’t recognise me, over the weeks I however start talking to a few of them, and meet a few I knew from 30 years ago. This definitely becomes a thing once I start sitting on top of the transformer and once I place the first blanket on top. For several of them it takes a few iterations until they ask.
One woman laughs and says: That is original, I have never seen anything like that. I reply: You should try, it’s quite comfortable. — It’s the kind of exchange that I remember as typical, it is a little forward, a little aggressive (the next time she asks: are you bored again?), but also curious. On the third occasion, I have the blanket laid out on the lawn next to it, she steps next to me and says: now I want to have a look at it too, C. (my neighbour from the other side of the village, who observed me from the window front a few days before and enquired who I was and didn’t recognise me) said this was looking really interesting. It takes me to that point to remember that that initial put down hides interest, is the typical kind of conversation opening where I am from.
Another woman finally comes up to check where I am going (I pass her frequently in the village, after a while we started talking, my mother fills me in on the conflict they had with each other some time ago). Now she knows.
The moving onto the transformer as grown woman, the standing on top of it steps aside and outside what is acceptable along that path and in that village. I am conscious of that, I decide not to be concerned, my being here for such extended period of time is enough out of normal for me in any case; that this is simply another environmental art process is routine for me, but not for the village edge.
More recently the conversations concern my role: so, what is this? Art. Ah okay, you mean you earn money with this? Another: You do this professionally? As a hobby? It’s the money earning which is the first item of contention every single time in these more recent conversations.
In the Moving Image workshop in November I say something about the audience: that it is not for the village, and yet the village sees it, engages with it, so what would this look like if the village was an audience?
This process comes to a culmination on Tuesday when I take the blankets up to the station to photograph and explore a couple of lines ahead of the submission. I play for a couple of hours, place them inside the neighbour’s fence, go home for lunch and return a couple of hours later. I. who I talk to while he renovates arrives at the same time and walks towards me: ‘You were wanted earlier. The guys who maintain the transformer asked for who the one was who was sticking up things, placing things on top. You know it’s not allowed. They asked if I knew who was doing this. I said yes, and that I wasn’t going to tell them. So I need to tell you now. Did you stick something up there?’ I laugh, yes, three months ago. He: It’s not allowed. I reply, there is nothing there, so what. He insists and seemingly has forgotten what he observed me doing there for months.
I wonder if it’s the same men who fitted the new distribution box in December. They left the house without electricity on a teaching day. I dared to ask them about timelines, I wasn’t sure if I was too forward or not but 10 mins before my appointment the electricity was back on.
— This story belongs here too, along with a voice memo I sent to my friend in IL for the first time from the site while I waited on the sun to appear on Tuesday. It’s all quiet, noone around, the sound of the memo is all spacious and I talk through the site but also talk through the UK, my distance, the ideas I have for work here, I get upset, a different neighbour appears, he stood with headphones nearby for a while I realise, I also realise he witnessed my displaced distress.
(This one has no visuals, possibly a soundtrack, it can be written more tightly as a storyline though).