95% invisible or as far as the eye can see

With the program now set for Migrating Art Academies in Allenheads, I would like to give some background to week.

In my first piece of writing on the subject of invisibles I posed the question, ‘Am I really not seeing 95% of what I am looking at and if this is true should it concern me and does this illusory idea alter how I perceive and engage with an otherwise tangible visualization?’

As a venue Allenheads lends itself perfectly for a ‘field visit’ when we will be considering how and what it is to visualise or make sense of the stuff that surrounds us. Allenheads is England’s highest village and remotely set with a population of around 200 people who largely (around 95%) migrated here in the last 15 years.

Historically people have moved here for an improved quality of life.  In earlier times people would have migrated here from all over Europe to work the lead mines and therefore improve their financial situation. More recently the reasons for moving here are aesthetic, improved lifestyles and for warmer social and cultural engagement.

But however you look at people movement into Allenheads, like all global migrants the primary reasons are based in the mind’s eye, from ideas of greener pastures, of blue skies and for those early miners the colour of money… a gold rush; although much less visually attractive was the dull grey lead which made journeying to Allenheads a good prospect.

So the week will take us through an experiential encounter with ‘place’.  To quote Werner Herzog ‘you must not avert your eyes.’ It will be for us to travel through the Allenheads environs and explore our new surrounds as individuals… as aliens. But not only will we have our collective strength of shared singular predilections, we will also be fuelled by other knowledge, ideas and philosophies that might help us realise what else is out there beyond the obvious and  perhaps help us navigate towards a better examination of our habitation.

Through the week we will consider our surroundings and all its complexities; above ground, below ground, the sky, dark matter and spiritually. This should provide us with a more holistic foundation from which to interrogate what it means to stand on this planet and make ‘some’ sense of the stuff that surrounds us; both visible and invisible.

This might help us consider the second question I asked which was, ‘can imagination and creativity help us make sense of the inexplicable or is it faith that will help us understand and if so how can that sit comfortably with scientific thinking?’

I am looking forward to our exchanges.

Alan Smith

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