Justin Hopper is a writer, performance artist and poet who hears the landscape and walks through its sonorous qualities. He has been creating art work that invites us to stop and listen, experimenting with found sounds, found poems, but also writing and making soundtracks. Here is a recent release by the psychogeographer, a modern day hodologist adrift in the landscape. In this work he creates an ambience for otherwise forgotten orinthological poems, written around the eardea (rather than idea/eyedea) of the Suffolk Coast. It should hardly come as a surprise that Hopper reviews the music of the neo-punk group, And Also the Trees, for which I have already written a previous post.
Prosody, phonolexicality and onomatopea but also regional idom, colloquialisms and theloosing battle of thick descriptiors up against standard oxford english also give pause to Robert MacFarlane. Regular Guardian contributor, the author of Landmarks, invites the reader on a voyage through local oral traditions and old dictionaries. We hear and learn about the sensual and image rich language used in certain regions of the UK to refer to specific natural or nature based phenomena, processes or living and nonliving things. The long labour of the land and the sea had given rise to poetic words with uncanny meanings, not out of a need to “artislise” the world being looked at, as some might suggest, but because there might be a need to precision, to distinguishing between things witnessed underfoot and in-hand.
The two writers, Hopper and Macfralane have different intentions. The latter fighting against the slow impoverishment of nature terms. The former keen on experimenting in near ethnographic fashion our contemporary place in the landscape. However, in their very different approaches, they share a love of land and how we escape through it into possible alternate worlds.