Cross, Multi, Inter, Trans...Symposium

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

I went to watch presentations at 'Cross, Multi, Inter, Trans', The Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. 
I could only stay for one day. This certainly widened my views about landscape, space, being outside, writing about nature, about borders. What amazing projects people engage with! Two presentations seemed to have particular relevance to my work.  Edwina Fitzpatrick reported about people's experiences of remote places. She had interviewed individuals who had been in remote areas of the Earth, amongst them some polar explorers and deep-sea biologists. Edwina has worked on the Grizedale Forest Archives in some other work of hers. Her PhD thesis has the theme of loss, becoming lost! 

Lucy Collins presented about borders, their meaning and in particular about the situation with the  border between Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland. I was impressed in what way she described aspects to do with borders, their relevance to space and to our feelings. 

And: I definitively need to look into the writing of Timothy Morton ....and read Marina Abramovic' biography. 

Sound of sewing machine

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

I joined a large group of musical improvisors to spend some days at 'The Gathering' at Drefach Felindre, South Wales. Maggie Nichols, musician and improvisor had invited friends and interested individuals to practice musical improvisation. 
Besides from the fantastic opportunities to experience myself producing sounds in the context of other people's music and sounds, we witnessed this particular 'gem' of sound production: A sewing machine was mic-ed up and its sounds, as directed by its owner, fed into the stream of music and rhythm, together with drums, percussion and a chello. A visual score was being sewn on the machine...and the sounds of its making included in the making of a stream of artistic expression on its own. 
Drawing, score making, using the sounds in the environment and those made by the drawing process itself....

(Oh, I did play guitar, as part of the event, ....)


A visual score ...for improvisation

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

Some of the drawings that I made recently look like scores....and they are made from thinking about, planning and referring to processes. The processes are the running that I do on the hills, or the stretching of elastic lines up there. 
The drawings above were made to give musical improvisors 'instructions' or 'inspiration' to use for their playing. They were made (together with some drawings not on show here) as part of the so-called 'Improv Nights' at Mash Guru, Macclesfield which I organise once a month in collaboration with Mark Sheeky. (
The visual scores use one form of expression to inform the other form of expression!
Very interesting connections to my work!
The scores show here are by myself, Sara MacKian and Si Oliver.

Drawing...what matters to me

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

I have written a text to be published on 'Extended', a blog that showcases contemporary approaches to drawing. The text summarises what matters to me in drawing. Here it is.


Drawing has always been intriguing for me. To experience the process of its making can be more important than its end product. Letting line textures develop on the paper allows me to find out something that has to do with the very moment, its place and situation and with myself. Observational drawing  is particularly interesting because a relationship between the visual environment and the emerging drawing develops  and in this process, hand movements of pencil on paper, the movements of my observing eyes, and my thoughts and feelings all become synced. As I weave to and fro between drawing and observing, my eyes gain experience orientating themselves within the seen scenario, gaining feedback from the drawing as it develops to be a document of its own making, even referencing its own self. Using pencil and paper to connect to the here and now is a pretty perfect way of being! It is a process that can have a balancing, re-calibrating effect on me.

I have made drawings to help me figure things out, to think about something or to guide my imagination. I might draw an upside-down body shape leaning against a wall to understand a specific kind of handstand that I want to learn. As a student, I tried to draw the inside of the oil stove that I had dismantled because it had stopped working and my room was getting colder.   My studies in Fashion and Design and later my work in Illustration allowed me to have daily reasons to draw out of necessity and for a reason.

I am now interested in exploring the correlation between line movement on paper and the linear movement created by myself running outside over land. The many common features between both processes inspire my work: Line movement on paper grows into a drawing, and the movement of my body, whilst running outside, a gesture or a running journey, grows into an experience and performance. Both processes are improvisational, both have movement at their core, each time, developing a pathway forward where the touching of surfaces creates an experience that is not only visual but also haptic and physical. Each drawing/running journey connects to previous such journeys, and adds to the body of experiences facing forwards or backwards in time or in no direction whatsoever.                                                                          

The running experience is physical, has wind, rain, mud, memories, exhaustion, thoughts and shouted words to the passing hillwalker in it. The drawing experience is physical too, asking endurance from the hand, demands for patience, it draws out memories of drawings past, and, like the footsteps in running, it generates the acoustic sounds of its making. In both processes, movement means that two actors touch each other, pencil and paper, body and land, and in doing so, they come to resonate from each other, creating a ‘voicing’ of their interaction.

I make drawings on different surfaces.  I draw on sheets of paper which I then connect to wider drawing environments in the form of a work book or the walls or floors of a studio space. When I go on runs outside, aspects of our bodies’ exposure, vulnerability, endurance and adaptability come to the fore and inform the next movements ahead. I install textile lines in the three-dimensionality of outdoor places, where the running journey gets me to. The wind moves the lines and generates sounds, and I can move myself entangled in such lines to create new line textures, responding to the physical feedback from line and land.

I am wondering how working and moving in these different physical territories, on paper, inside, and outside on and with the land can create meanings that speak of our ways of being with land, with ourselves, our journeys. The gaps that remain between indoors and outdoors, between drawings on conventional drawing supports and with body on land are essential parts of the work.




Movement over land: Journey of a continued touching process?

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

For a good while I have been wondering how to describe to myself what it precisely is, what happens, when I am journeying over land. Rather than taking my onlooking visual artist's eye for a trip through the countryside, I think what describes better what I am doing is this: Moving myself over land is like bringing two agents to interact with each other, myself and the environment, and it happens by both participants' surfaces touching each other, and, in doing so, during the continuation of the journey, creating resonances and possibly changes with the other. It is a process of mutual interaction that builds new experieces with evey further moment.


Rural/urban, boundaries

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

We spent a week in the city of Glasgow and Edinburgh. You move between walls of all kinds. Walls of houses and buildings, and you can' t look inside, walls to manage living space, how we use it, and who uses it. In addition to that, there are rules to how we move in such spaces. You drive and sometimes also walk on the left, you don't use the other gender's toilets, certain places have prescribed directions for the flow of movements, e. g. 'Exit' and 'entrance' doors. What I find quite crucial to all of this, is the fact that even our views and gazes are managed: curtains, shutters, walls make sure that we don 't see or observe what is not appropriate. Rules and regulations are communicated through common knowledge and a huge amount of visual codes. What lies behind walls or why we follow certain regulations we often don't know. Could this be why I find it often more difficult to connect with rural places when I am moving through them? All this is much different from being in the rural outdoors. You may not be allowed physically to go many places, but your eyes and therefore your imagination can travel there, at least in parts or with less difficulty.  The nature of what are boundaries in both environments seem to be different.


Combining territories

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

Working outside, then, to bring some of that work into the studio, and carry on there, like bing in different physical territories, with their specific work surfaces,  but on the same agenda. 


Linguistic sedimentation

Added on by sabine kussmaul.

The shape of landscape is a collection and superposition of the material remnants of its constant change. Mountains, valleys, and other three-dimensional features have come about through tectonic movements, erosion and sedimentation.

In a more abstract or metaphorical sense, such features like erosion, sedimentation or adoption of new and loss of old  also applies to language.

This parallelism between linguistic language and landscape might be of relevance to my practice because  I use notation in drawing to move on  pre-used paper landscape and explore new territory, drawing forwards as I move and draw along, and conneting to my own physical movements on the real land, when out on a running journey