Looking for Meaning

Ten years ago, I lived beside a single-track road with no name. Walking it, I often had the feeling it was trying to communicate with me; in autumn, through a complexity of pattern left by the scattering sycamore seeds, in winter – a particularly compelling season – the judder track left by a jag-tooth snow plough. I would walk the road, studying the ‘signs’ for a message, never even figuring out what language it would be: नीचेदेखकरअर्थकीतलाशमें?Two years ago, whilst studying in Cambridge, I began noticing a different road grammar: full-stops, ‘nothings’, big fat zero’s littered the streets; clustered in the vicinity of the campus, they exuded a peculiar fascination and I began to ‘log’ them. The project – which resulted in an exhibition – ended some time ago, but my eye won’t let go and still I note them, stopping to stare when I see a particularly engaging composition.Now there is a new focus: not straight down, but sort of knee-height. I worry I have the demeanour of a dog assessing walls to mark. Street corners, have stolen my gaze. (My partner tuts under his breath each time I slow down… I bagged three bench marks between pub and home last week, where I’d seen none before; I’d never looked. It is a route that used to be taken up with a perusal of utility covers from yet another project, I still like to note them for they speak of local foundries, dates are often present and hints of the story of the fight against cholera).Just last Saturday, walking to the Art Houses event in Whitley Bay, I’ve stopped dead, the group I’m with tugging my ‘virtual leash’ as the traffic lights change, but I’ve sniffed out a particularly interesting bench mark, plus what? Signature? First attempt? The light already low – and as the only one interested – it’s a poor photo snapped quickly, but I think you can see what I mean? It might be worth a second visit.Looking for something, or looking for nothing, I know I now have my ‘eye in’.

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About karenrann

Karen is a visual artist drawn to working from a sense of place
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