About poetmcgonagall

Left wing, atheist curmudgeon with a black sense of humour and a heart of gold. Love music, books, theatre, tea, and marmite.

Night Terrors

Last night I had a proper existential nightmare. I went for a walk but the landscape started to change, and I felt confused and frightened. So I decided to ask the name of this strange place, thinking to get a bus back. Nobody would tell me and I’d forgotten where I came from. Worse still, I didn’t know who I was.

At some point I realised it was a dream and woke up with a horrible feeling of being hollowed out. But at least I got this poem.

There’s a black hole in my heart
I’m a golem with the scroll
missing, bare oblate spheroid
mourning for its atmosphere.

Waking up, my name feels strange
who I am a fantasy
my brain whistling in the dark.

The Picture House Goes Dark

There’s never been much to do in Campbeltown, but at least we had a unique art deco  Picture House, which celebrated its centenary last year. It rarely showed anything except bog standard American movies, but there was a First Mondays showing each month when more out-of-ordinary films were offered. And over the summer we had simultaneous broadcasts from operas and plays in London.

At the end of August, the Picture House closed down after losing money hand over fist. With the promise of a two year refurbishment if the money can be raised. I hope so.

Ecumenopolis

As promised yesterday, here are the photos of Nathan Coley’s exhibit at GoMA, The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004. He began with a couple of pages torn from the Yellow Pages.

The work is based on Ruskin’s idea that “buildings and architecture are two separate things – one being purely functional and the other having meaning” (GoMA handout). So Coley made cardboard models of 286 churches listed in the Yellow Pages and assembled them in a higgledy-piggledy fashion on GoMA’s floor.

I added what could be construed as meaning, if you believe in that sort of thing, by positioning a tall white pillar behind a spire to represent the elevator to Heaven. I also cropped the bit showing the ceiling so as not to spoil the illusion. But I did leave in the Yellow Pages, so there would be a bible of sorts.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of this strange ecumenopolis.

I find this fascinating. Architectural models of any sort always draw attention, whether it’s Hitler’s model of the new Berlin or a model railway layout. Here, the absence of streets focuses attention on the buildings and how you might navigate between them. Should you want to. Not many people do.

A Sense of Space, Rendered Flat

One of the things I did when I fled to Glasgow on Referendum Day was to visit the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). It’s one of my favourite places, combining a fine neoclassical building with uncluttered, beautiful, modern interior spaces, and interesting exhibits. And it’s free.

There were a couple of artists whose work I photographed. The first is Sara Barker, with For Myself and Strangers. The other, Nathan Coley, I’ll leave till tomorrow.

Barker makes abstract 3-D sculptures out of wire and painted materials that change as you move round them – no view of the the work is ever the same, because your position/perspective is always changing. By photographing one of them, I rendered it flat, but a photo from another angle sees it differently.

It makes me think of the fight for independence, about the sense of freedom and space it opened up, now rendered flat. Still an absorbing picture, depending on your point of view, but without movement a set of partisan images.