We don't want to leave but we already have too much material to edit so it is probably for the best! Watch this space...
"I am now the last artist here - all the others are free. But all things are equal. If I stay here, then I have plenty to occupy myself. If I am released, then I will enjoy freedom. If I manage to leave for the U.S., then I will be over there. You carry your own joy with you wherever you go." Schwitter's words from the internment camp on Isle of Man.
We discovered Mary Ellen Bute, after searching for other artists from Schwitter's era. Far across the ocean Bute was living in New York and making videos combined with music 'seeing sound' what we might consider a very early form of VJing. Born in 1906, she began making films when she was 28 years old and succeeded to pioneer her style. A new muze, Mary Ellen Bute poetically and optically crosses the lines between sound, light, form and colour. We think she's rad. Its hard to imagine anyone doing this in the 1930s!
Bunnies have holes,
cattle have sheds,
mice have sacks of porridge oats.
Deer have winding corridors of beech, oak and hazel.
Birds have houses and branches to perch.
Bees have a busy family home.
Alice has the doors wide open,
Laurie has fire,
Kurt has Merz.
After a lengthy drive in Frida the van (because she has a gaffa tape 'mono-brow' like Kahlo) , we slept peacefully in the Shippon, a former cattle shed, and our collective studio for the next two weeks.
Day one - we explored the site. The place is overrun with rabbits, in nearly every direction you see them scurry away. Alice is temped to trap one so we can eat rabbit pie.
We also ventured out for supplies to Ambleside, the nearest town which is dominated by outdoor clothing shops, hikers and cafes. In the van I read Kurt Schwitter's life story out-loud to Alice. We were pleased to return to our humble abode and could see why Schwitter's would settle here.
I admire the resourcefulness and resilience with which Schwitter's made his work. When he was forced to flee, as he was from Germany and Norway (twice), its understandable that he counteracted that by making Merzbauten, artworks that were literally attached to their architectural surroundings. Be it a shed in Cumbria, a basement flat in Oslo, a hut on a Norwegian island, or his parents house in Hanover. Schwitters invested his artistic skills heavily into his environments, despite their temporality. Its interesting that his concepts still carry. He planned to take a Merzbau to MoMA in New York, "a moveable and infinitely expandable idea" (from the Merz Barn info leaflet).
This reminds me of Gesamtkunstwerk "translated as total work of art, ideal work of art, universal artwork, synthesis of the arts, comprehensive artwork, all-embracing art form or total artwork" (Wiki), confirming my suspicion that life=art / art=life, they are inseparable.
We also made the link between Kurt Schwitter's Ursonate poem and Sue Tompkins who I mentioned in the previous post. We are winding up our evening listening to her now dis-banded group Life Without Buildings.