I’ve picked a rather intense first day to encounter the field. Gusts of wind of over 100 km an hour. Fast moving clouds with now and then a ray of sunlight. The mood changes very fast. So many shades of grey and green. I feel like I need shelter. Luckily I can call the shed my shelter for the day. The difference between the open field and the simple open shed is very big.
Field: moist/wet, open, disorienting (by the size of it), overwhelming (sound of the wind), green desert, so many details, mysteries, physical awareness
Shelter: dry, homely, calm, safe, way to observe the field longer and with more precision
It is impossible to compare the experience of the field when you are standing outside of the field and inside the borders of the field. Once you enter the field, you experience the actual identity of the field; the size, the actual circumstances, the colours, the details, the mood… Like you went through an invisible curtain and now you can actually experience the being of the field.
Already from the google satellite pictures, the shape, the borders of the field were quite clear. Maybe even more clear than in the field itself. The boundaries between de field itself and the surrounding land, ditches and roads are more fluid than the hard-lined boundary that I drew on the map. But still, there is certainly a border around the field, a skin made out of wooden and metal poles, electric fencing wire, differences in vegetation between the de border of the field and the inner parts of the field, trees, the road and water.
The field is made by humans, to serve the needs of humans, but not for humans to actually be in. I felt, especially in harsh weather, like a mollusc. The elements force a constant impact. The intensity of the open field and the even bigger open sky above it is too much to handle for a longer time. This weekend I saw a documentary about Inuit. The surroundings, with the open plains, the constant wind and huge sky reminded me of my field, yes I’m calling it MY field already. Am I too sensitive because of my lifelong city lifestyle and my modern, comfortable surroundings? I probably am. A large part of the world population is living in places that are quite sheltered; cities, towns, villages, mountain valleys, forests. How can you cope all this openness?
I’m beginning to think of the field more and more as an entity. With a skin of poles, wire, different vegetation and colour. With a complex metabolism that changes all the time. With so many details and parts that depend on each other. An entity with mood swings, grinning teeth, roaring laugh, nervous breakdowns and friendly cradling.
The long stays at the field (6 hours mostly) make me more aware of the connections between the “layers” of the field. Categorizing and naming the different elements in the field helps me to get more involved in the topic. The collecting gives me more ingredients to work with, more “hooks” that could lead to a work or a thought, even. But the true unravelling of the mystery of what the field is, can’t be done this way. I have the feeling that the best glimpses of the nature of the field, the most interesting encounters lay in the hours spending there observing and playing. Making ideas for new approaches.
I can see the field as an entity, a foreign creature, but it’s a creature you can be in, you can experience it from within. That’s maybe why also analogies with space, solar systems and the universe come to mind. Walking through the field, which seems an almost endless desert of flat and green you stumble upon deviations, elements of interest, in a wide-open space.