From ‘100 verses for 3 estates’ - Gavin Wade, Alec Finlay, Paul Conneally
Word Map Circle of Fire
word map tracing the route of the Grow Sheffield / Off The Shelf Renga Ramble from Mushroom Lane (Weston Park Museum) to organic gardening guru Richard Clare’s allotment on Crookes Quarry Allottments. The piece was conceived and led by artist / poets Anne-Marie Culhane and Paul Conneally and explores what happens when the renga process is taken from its normal ‘one space’ setting to travelling through an area stopping at various points to write, read and select the poems that go to form what became the ‘A Circle of Fire’ renga. This renga combined the walking/writing process with the one space process - the first 6 stanzas being written during the walk to the allotments where the last 6 stanzas were then written in situ. The renga form used is an adapted Junicho form - a 12 stanza renku form with the schema with its seasonal, moon and love positions written by Culhane & Conneally. The experience of writing a renga, keeping to schema, linking and shifting and walking through ‘this place’ from here to there is a very different experience to writing in one space one place and highlights how the environment the surroundings and people influence the writing process and how the writing - the renga process itself - transforms the space the place in which - and when renga rambling across - that the poem is written. The walking through public space - in this case from a central city location through residential areas to Sheffields urban edge - and the stopping to write, read out loud and the master poet selecting the next stanza before moving on again - highlighted the performative aspect of the process of renga perhaps differently to when in one space where the process is still performative but different. A Circle of Fire embraced both with the last 6 stanzas written in a greenhouse on Richard Clare’s allotment. Nine poets performed / made A Circle of Fire: Paul Conneally (master poet) Anne-Marie Culhane (host poet) Felicity Stout Nadine Wills Joseph Conneally Vanessa Senger Jenny Laird Andrea Allsopp Su Walker
From Nikki Pugh during: 100 Verses For 3 Estates in 2008 - Gavin Wade Alec Finlay and Paul Conneally
Nice things from being sat in the middle of a council estate shopping precinct on a Saturday in June whilst writing poetry and inviting passers by to join us:
Joan – not sure what she had originally planned to do with her day, but she spent about 6 hours of it with us.
Joan – not sure if she really understood what we were doing, but she didn’t ‘alf come out with some corkers.
Gloria – initially intensely suspicious of what we were doing and our motives for doing so. She went away to think about it, but re-appeared 10 minutes later and contributed a verse.
Gloria – likes botany.
Diesel – local mc from the estate. Presumably spends a lot of time working with words and performing in front of crowds.
Diesel – Didn’t half look nervous when he was sat down talking with us.
Gang of youths – hanging around looking dismissive of what we were doing, but making sure they could hear what we were saying. “They’re writing poetry man, and then they just all go quiet.”
Maxine – Works in the cafe, but managed to join us for a while at the beginning of the session.
Maxine – Would join us on one of the Saturdays she’s not working, but she’ll be akido training instead.
Paul – for gently (but persistantly!) pointing out that, as of lunchtime, none of my verses had yet been selected!Source: npugh.co.uk
Paul Conneally and Jemma Bagley return to Watermead Estate, Thurmaston, revisiting the site that originally led to “The Sound Of Water” a psychogeographic / splacist exploration of Thurmaston, in the Borough of Charnwood, Leicestershire through a series of haiku walks, workshops and interventions with people that live and / or work in the area.
The Sound of Water was a piece of public art originally coming out of a Section 106 planning requirement for public art as part of the development of the old Merrimans site next to the A46 in Thurmaston into the new ‘Watermead’ housing estate.
Conneally and Bagley were commissioned through Charnwood arts via Charnwood Borough Council to work with “community groups” to produce haiku like texts that could be incorporated into metal works of art by Richard Thornton in the new housing development.
Conneally and Bagley decided to approach the Thurmaston Action Group, that was actively campaigning against the ‘Watermead’ development to explore the area and generate textual material. The developers were not told that the group working with the artists to put texts into the new site were actively opposed to and campainging against the development.
Approached by the BBC to talk about the project Conneally felt he would get a better understanding of what he was actually doing by asking one of the action group to speak, alongside Bagley, instead of himself and the interview itself became part of the piece: Sound of Water Interview
Conneally & Bagley encouraged the community group to design their own walks through and around Thurmaston. Conneally then joined the walks and worked with participants to write haiku and haiku-like poems. The poems went on to form a book The Sound of Water which was distributed free across the community.
The Sound of Water - Poetry Exploration
Conneally then took fragments of the poems and worked with sculpter, Richard Thornton, who designed and made metal benches incorporating the texts which are now installed in the open space / play area at the heart of the development:
Fajitas In A Teepee sees the artists returning to the now complete new development and working with the new residents during an afternoon that was intended to bring the new community together. Fajitas In A Teepee is an “intervention renga” - non of the praticipants set out to write a renga - they were randomly approached by Conneally (Little Onion) in roving renga master mode to link with and shift away from the previously written verse as the renga built up on recycled cardboard around the playground in the centre of the estate. The artists took time to engage with and discuss resident and workers feelings about living and working in and around the new Watermead development including how the design and build elements affected their mood and style of living.
Fajitas in a Teepee - Paul Conneally 2010Fajitas In A Teepee
Paul Conneally September 11 2010
Music: Judge Smut Dub by Dum Dum Dum 1979 - P. Conneally/W. Buchanon
Intervention renga with Watermead Estate community Thurmaston, Leicestershire.
The video of the boards that were written in situ and attached to the wooden fence around the playground and the renga text itself are not the finished piece. The piece was and is the interactions in and with the space and the people on the day.
We exchange places with spaces and in doing so both are changed.
KY Glasses - Sonar Goggles - 3D Glasses on Flickr.
Cabinet of spectacles that alter the way we view the world.
KY Glasses by artist Paul Conneally “See the world through KY Gel”
Sonar Goggles by artist Nikki Pugh
3D Glasses - from cinema chain
On the wall we see the Twenga 18 Knots by Paul Conneally and Gavin Wade
All at Paul Conneally’s show The Blind Fiddler - Home Entertainment 1806-2012 at Snibston Discovery Museum
Paul Conneally in action as renga master during 100 Verses for 3 Estates