Here and There: a labyrinth project

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Made for Aune Head Arts’ ‘The Home and the World’ conference, UK, which was designed to coincide with the summer solstice and the Earth Summit 2012 at Rio.

The Here and There labyrinth project links Dartington Hall, Devon, and the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, USA. It was conceived and carried out in collaboration with American labyrinth facilitator and artist, Carol Maurer.

Our concept was for two labyrinths, one in UK and one in USA, to be walked simultaneously – linked by a live internet connection. Through simultaneous physical and virtual events, linking two places on opposite sides of the world, we were interested in exploring those age-old existential questions – who am I, where am I, and where do I belong? We were interested too in having fun, having an adventure (i.e. challenging ourselves), and in establishing bonds of friendship.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the labyrinth I created at Dartington:

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IMG_5090 (Medium)cJennieHayesPhoto ©Jennie Hayes

As you can see from the second picture, things didn’t work out quite as we had expected. I had made all sorts of back-up plans in case of rain or a breakdown in internet connection – but was quite unprepared for the torrential rainstorm that descended right at the wrong moment – almost, but not quite washing the labyrinth away! At the same time, America was experiencing a heatwave, with temperatures in Delaware reaching over 100 degrees…

But the weather did not prevent us from making the connection. Here in England, we were forced to come in from the rain after a very short time, but then we were able to watch the events in Delaware on a big screen in the studio – which we loved. We were able to chat with Carol and a delightful bunch of visiting children who were on their Summer Camp in the Gardens of the Art Museum.

A world first! The first time two labyrinths on either side of the Atlantic have ever been linked in this way, so we felt very much like pioneers. The preparation, technical details and timing made things at times stressful – particularly when the monsoon-like downpour washed out most of our carefully-laid plans. But we did it, and things, as always, worked out exactly right. For me, the deluge was an inescapable reminder that there was an intelligence at play infinitely greater than my own.

Here’s the Delaware labyrinth. Carol, who is Secretary of The Labyrinth Society marked out the design and helped construct it some years ago. It lies within a 100ft. diameter circle, which was once an old reservoir, surrounded by granite walls 12 ft high.

Carol-del-lab-April 2011

It is made with 7 tons of Delaware river rocks set in gravel. I understand the labyrinth wasnot originally intended to be permanent, but in fact has now become a popular and well-loved focus for events such as weddings and spiritual retreats.

Labyrinths, which are found all over the world, have a fascinating history dating back thousand of years. It is thought they have probably always been used for spiritual purposes, but can of course simply be used for relaxation and  pleasure.  There is a great deal more to tell about labyrinths and their significance, which I will leave for another post.

Meanwhile, I have published a full detailed write-up of our Transatlantic project on ‘Here and There: Retracing our Steps’. You will find the link along the top header of this blog.

Here are some more links –

Carol’s video A Labyrinth Walk at DelArt is beautiful… and young filmmaker, Kiah Graham’s documentary film covering the Here and There event in Delaware is just stunning!

Carol Maurer’s’s videos:

Intro…   http://youtu.be/A8cj0s_FEmg

A Labyrinth Walk…  http://youtu.be/f_rgP3z3Pm0

Kiah Graham:   Delaware Art Museum Labyrinth Walk http://youtu.be/asF75wPROYo

Linda Gordon:  Dartington-background info

Aune Head Arts:  The Home and the World

the Labyrinth Society:  http://labyrinthsociety.org

About throughstones

I am primarily a visual artist, living on the North Devon coast, a beautiful semi-rural area in South West England. I am interested in full engagement with 'place' and the eternal movement of life - particularly as it relates to what we call 'the natural environment'.
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2 Responses to Here and There: a labyrinth project

  1. Lovely project and I especially respond to the simultaneous walking on both sides of the Atlantic because it is just a fact that all our combined actions will make a difference in the world. Good to see Throughstones again!

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    • Thank you! I think you are right – though not always easy to foresee the outcome. It was a good and valuable experience.

      Hope your knee is healing well, and not too painful. Happy river dreams..

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