We don’t tread lightly, as we walk this earth, as humans. I live in England, where very few pieces of landscape are untouched. Constable painted Dedham lock and mill. That sort of intervention in the landscape would not have been new to him. The mill belonged to his father. Constable is a famous English painter.
I found a framed print of this painting next to a bin as it started to rain. I took it home, out of the rain. To my scrappy rented room where most of the furniture I live with stood next to similar bins before I took it in after an unplanned lockdown move. A lot of my life’s practicalities now comes with the serendipity of what I find, what others pass on, as I pass on what I don’t need. Most of our lives have these two movements, it just isn’t always as obvious as an Amazon order as we negotiate and renegotiate our giving and taking with our surroundings.
I’m a collage artist. Probably not a coincidence with that way of being in the world. Dedham Lock and Mill is huge, and it had a water stain from the bin sojourn. I recognize the artistry, and it is not my style. Now that it found me, it needed taking into 2022. It starts with a lush English landscape, that then got a mill and lock, which might or might not have been controversial, and which likely benefitted the few more so than the many. Constable painted the scenery, that’s how we know how it looked like, or rather, how he saw it, channelled through his hands. And now we are looking at Lior’s next iteration, how I see it, channelled through my hands. A snapshot of what happened since Constable, and what still hasn’t changed.
The backyard of the mill got industrialized and gobbles up energy far beyond the waterwheel. The grandkids of these mill owners now likely own investments in alternative energy, as do I. The church tower is crowned by science, the Atomium cut from a banknote no longer in circulation, from a city representing a Europe England no longer belong to. The main building got done up with more money than sense of style. The meadow is a housing estate or somesuch, also from an old banknote for where else would it have come from.
Step by Step walkthrough here:
There’s always overlords. Waiting next to the newly done-up house with its roaring lions upfront, and its viewing terrace. Others are arriving by boat. And the people bow, show their reverence. What else can you do. We all want a piece of the pie, if there is one going. We all want a roof over our heads, and we all consume more than our fair share of energy, let’s be honest. And it’s still largely the luck of the birth lottery where and how you live, and what chances that gets you. We don’t make good choices, we have good choices. Or not so much. In England, the socioeconomic gap is widening again. It shouldn’t be like that.
This is 2022. With a new mixed-media collage called “Dedham Mill Redevelopment”.