DWIN MYND I CAE NOS… / GOING TO THE NIGHTFIELD

Clynfyw Countryside Centre in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, 2003. Residency, CRYWDRO / WANDER, Wales-Québec exchange, produced by ointment. www.ointment.org/crywdro

In the centre of the roofless building, a large bed constructed with a metal field gate, slate from the fallen roof, hay, oak leaves. Sheep bones, stones and bluebells gathered during 10 days of walking in the Preseli Hills were inserted in the crevices in the walls. Open book forms made of slate from the old roof lie on the windowsills. On the Open Day for the public, I lay in the bed, motionless, covered with a blue muslin cloth while people milled around.

People call this building “the bone-house”. A long time ago mules walked endlessly round and round pulling the stones that ground bones into bone-meal—a fertiliser to be thrown back into the earth. It was not so much this story that drew me into this stone-walled space with no roof, windows or door, but more the feeling of being simultaneously inside and outside. This sensation reflected something I felt during our journey in the Preseli Hills, a feeling of travelling in two directions at once—inwards towards a deepening unconscious space, and outwards into a strong sensual collective experience of the land.

During our daily walks of the previous two weeks, fragments of myths and stories permeating the land would surface nightly in my sleep—blue sheep, indecisive giants, fairy-food and eggshells, giantesses hurling stones, a black boar, King Arthur ringed by stones, glaciers and bluestones in slow dance, a comb and scissors perched between ears, a disintegrating man with long white hair and beard, a father giant dying of heartbreak, untamed oaks and bleeding yews gesturing, and on and on… One night I dreamt that I was pulled by the feet through a grid of darkness over the edge of the land, into an underground space full of gnarly tree roots, into another kind of knowing, where the wakeful state of walking the land was transformed into a dream-space of ambient myths.

Musing upon these images, I swept the ground inside the bone-house and laid down meandering patterns of stones, like unfinished paths. I then made a giant bed in the centre using broken slate (that had formerly been the roof of the building) for the legs, and a large abandoned field-gate that I covered with layers of organic materials—hay, oak leaves and bluebells. In the cracks in the walls, I placed sheep bones, stones and bluebells I’d gathered on my walks in the Preselis. In the window openings, I placed book-like forms made from roof slate,echoing the idea of story and history. On the open day, I lay very still on the bed - this horizontal position parallel with the land. I was completely covered in blue muslin, and my eyes were open watching the sky. I listened to the stories as people milled around and around this space.

The title of the work was suggested by Simon – a Welsh saying, he told me, that is uttered before going to sleep.