Re_fab 4: Psychogeography and chance

Poetry, intrigue and map-making. Here be a feast of surrealist internal wonders and all in a photography studio-turned-workshop area.

This was the last of our re_fabricate pilot at Hereford College of Arts, led expertly by the amazing Jac Cattaneo. Jac is a creative writer and highly experienced creative lecturer. We were very lucky to have her come all the way from Brighton to share her expertise with us; and to work with someone external who straight away understood the central premise of re_fabricate as an egalitarian space to blend theory and practice with a number of participant-presenters. The pic below shows Jac in our planning session (and in a catch-up with her ex-mentee Daniel Pryde-Jarman).

Jac began by sharing ideas of storytelling, and the derive or ‘drift’, stressing the link between making and stories. We then did some textile-based freewriting, before delving further into theory, considering Debord’s ideas around purposeful drift and how changing our internal connections with the familiar can open up whole new worlds¬†of creativity and imagination.

 

With Jac as our guide, we looked – really considered, ideas of the map; what map-making means and how maps are not simply guides to things but represent our internal landscapes and personal journeys. We learned about Solnit’s writing, and how maps can transcend personal realities, act as guides to other ways of navigating our worlds.

We learned what maps show us, and how playing with ideas of maps can re-define our journeys and understandings of the world. And then we drew maps – maps of somewhere from our childhood – and alongside this, a map of something which is meaningful to us now.

Then we used writing to bridge those spaces; considering all of our sensory experiences of childhood and beloved places in the ‘now’.

Bringing us out of our map-trance and sharing her creative textile work, the lovely Dawn Hudd told the story behind her mandala blanket – a landscape in itself. And we created our own mandalas, considering the colours behind them. Theory and practice interweaving the session, with us both exploring and enacting theories and ideas as part of our own map-making (and mandala-making) practice.

Our very own Holland Otik then showed us her performance and object-based practice, which explores past trauma through stitch and action. Her work is visceral and exploratory – it’s almost too easy to use words like ‘powerful’ and ‘meaningful’¬† in a sense such words undermine the very actualness of the objects she creates and the stories they tell in their own, silent way.